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Old 01-10-2015, 07:47   #1
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AIS and cruising

This may be a dumb question, an impossible question to answer, or someone here might have a lot of experience they can share.

Roughly, how many cruisers tend to use AIS? Is it most of you? Some?

thx
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Old 01-10-2015, 08:05   #2
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Re: AIS and cruising

I always have my AIS transponder on while underway, whether cruising or passaging. I don't find AIS of much use while cruising, but find it far more useful while passaging.

Why? Offshore, the majority of the vessels I see have AIS transmitters -- the exception being fishing vessels within 50-100nm of shore -- they rarely have AIS. When within a few miles of the coast, depending on where, only perhaps 1 in 20 or 1 in 50 vessels I see is transmitting AIS. As such, its role in collision avoidance when cruising near the coast is negligible.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:33   #3
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Re: AIS and cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by accomplice View Post
I always have my AIS transponder on while underway, whether cruising or passaging. I don't find AIS of much use while cruising, but find it far more useful while passaging.

Why? Offshore, the majority of the vessels I see have AIS transmitters -- the exception being fishing vessels within 50-100nm of shore -- they rarely have AIS. When within a few miles of the coast, depending on where, only perhaps 1 in 20 or 1 in 50 vessels I see is transmitting AIS. As such, its role in collision avoidance when cruising near the coast is negligible.
I think there is a trend towards AIS... nothing wrong in seeing and being seen.

I disagree that there is no role in collision avoidance coastal. At night when we go down the florida coast a lot of commercial traffic is heading in and out including large barges, and of course lots of cruise boats.

Being able to call those vessels by name is extremely helpful - especially given that the navigation lights on even large vessels can get lost against the background lights on the coast.
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:05   #4
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Re: AIS and cruising

I am encouraged by the increased number of yachts that now have AIS. When sailing off the washington coast, the fog is thick and the swells up, it is nice to be able to see the vessels around you.
The fishing vessels also have AIS, but only stitch it on if you are headed toward them. A little disconcerting, but good to see 60 miles offshore. They just have financial reasons to keep the AIS off.
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:09   #5
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Re: AIS and cruising

In many cruising blogs, the cruiser claims they would not be without it.

Based on the actual cruisers I spoke with, I decided to install it (transponder). I don't have enough experience yet to say whether that was the right decision.
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:18   #6
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Re: AIS and cruising

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
I think there is a trend towards AIS... nothing wrong in seeing and being seen.

I disagree that there is no role in collision avoidance coastal. At night when we go down the florida coast a lot of commercial traffic is heading in and out including large barges, and of course lots of cruise boats.

Being able to call those vessels by name is extremely helpful - especially given that the navigation lights on even large vessels can get lost against the background lights on the coast.
Mid-coast through eastern Maine, most of the traffic day and night (yes, they work at night with very bright lights) are lobster boats. Perhaps one in a hundred, maybe fewer, has an AIS transmitter. It certainly doesn't hurt to be seen by those with AIS receivers, but the relatively rarity of other boats transmitting AIS makes our receiver less useful when coastal. I suspect the usefulness depends on where you're cruising.
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:23   #7
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Re: AIS and cruising

We've had a watchmate transponder installed for 6 years now. It's always on when we're moving. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to go up onto the bridge on a cruise ship. My first question was what they thought of AIS on pleasure boat. The response was they thought it should be mandatory on all vessels! Reason being they can see your AIS signal up to 60 miles away! and can adjust course by 1 or 2 degrees and then not even come close to you. They found AIS much more usefull than radar for collision avoidance. Small boats are almost invisible from the Bridges of most large ships. So my vote is get one.
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:24   #8
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Re: AIS and cruising

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Mid-coast through eastern Maine, most of the traffic day and night (yes, they work at night with very bright lights) are lobster boats. Perhaps one in a hundred, maybe fewer, has an AIS transmitter. It certainly doesn't hurt to be seen by those with AIS receivers, but the relatively rarity of other boats transmitting AIS makes our receiver less useful when coastal. I suspect the usefulness depends on where you're cruising.
Wasn't there a law recently passed in the USA that will change that? I believe in March of 2016 all those lobster boats will require an AIS transponder.

Here is a quick article I could find on it.

AIS Legislation Watch: New US rules in 2015
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:29   #9
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Re: AIS and cruising

That law covers commercial vessels 65' or larger. Most lobster boats are much smaller than this.

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Old 01-10-2015, 10:34   #10
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Re: AIS and cruising

I have a transponder/reciever

The reciever is useful up in the gulf islands - its handy to know where the ferries are.

The transponder is nice because people tend to hail you by name.
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:35   #11
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Re: AIS and cruising

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That law covers commercial vessels 65' or larger. Most lobster boats are much smaller than this.

Mark
Ahhhh.. Thanks for the clarification.. I thought it affected all commercial vessels. Sad to hear it doesn't.

Port Supply actually has a nice table describing the new rules.
USCG AIS Rule CFR Title 33 - 164 | Certified | Port Supply
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Old 01-10-2015, 10:44   #12
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Re: AIS and cruising

AIS is the best bit of safety kit ever invented.
I strongly suggest everyone install it.
If I had my way it would be mandatory for all boats going 2nms off shore.

The nay-sayers either haven't used it or haven't used it. Maybe they just haven't used it, but I think its more likely they haven't used it.


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Old 01-10-2015, 11:01   #13
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Re: AIS and cruising

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Originally Posted by accomplice View Post
Mid-coast through eastern Maine, most of the traffic day and night (yes, they work at night with very bright lights) are lobster boats. Perhaps one in a hundred, maybe fewer, has an AIS transmitter. It certainly doesn't hurt to be seen by those with AIS receivers, but the relatively rarity of other boats transmitting AIS makes our receiver less useful when coastal. I suspect the usefulness depends on where you're cruising.
I agree and that is disconcerting.

I rarely say "there should be a law" but frankly... I believe all boats - especially boats that have right of way like commercial fishing vessels should be required to be fitted with a transponder that cannot be turned off. Long liners and nets should be equipped with AIS transponders at the end of their nets.

Sorry Charlie - safety of the public should take precedence over profit.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:21   #14
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Re: AIS and cruising

ZBoss,
And tugs hauling barges should have an AIS on the tow.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:41   #15
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Re: AIS and cruising

I work on ships worldwide and being able to see an AIS symbol overlaid on the radar helps alot especially in the case of fiberglass or wood boats that don't have a good radar return. If small boats want to be seen by ships this is the best measure to take.

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