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Old 14-05-2017, 14:51   #31
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

Definitely the AIS transponder. Not so much so you can see other boats but so that they can see YOU.

Like it or not, AIS is now the primary collision avoidance system today when two large ships meet - or even small ships.The only reason for them to look at the radar or out the window is to look for little boats that wouldn't put a dent in their bow.

All commercial boats over 65ft in the US must have AIS. All of the big motor yachts in the Bahamas now have it. And more than 50% of the cruising boats over 40ft I saw this winter in the Bahamas now have it. Next winter I expect it will be a higher percentage.

If a 1000ft container ship is coming my way at 18 knots, I damn well want to show up on his AIS display.
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Old 14-05-2017, 17:36   #32
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

Carlf, your comment is very to the point. And what a peace of mind to be able to detect particulary at night or during thick weather a big ship much in advance and be able to take avoiding action (or not) much in advance, depending of the situation, without any last minute fuss: A few degree change in heading well in advance will correct a possible future tight situation. Being able to call a vessel by name, to make him aware of your situation: priceless. And in rare case of real emergency or impending trouble. it is nice to 'see' and call other ship for advice or help without resorting to more draconian and less efficient options.
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Old 15-05-2017, 00:07   #33
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

5-7K..Wow. I paid 12000ZAR for Garmin Transceiver. Divide by 13,3 to get USD.

Don't do what Nike says...JUST GET IT!!!!
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Old 15-05-2017, 09:37   #34
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

I will second (or third) comments from The Garbone and KP44.

AIS is nice but it is NOT essential for safety and absolutely not essential to avoid collisions with large ships. For crying out loud, ships are huge. You can see them for miles. With about five minutes practise anyone that can drive a boat can take a compass bearing and estimate the course and potential for collision. If you fall asleep at the wheel (literally or figuratively) and wake up with a ship bearing down on you it's a matter of 20-30 seconds to power out of their path.

Not saying that AIS is not useful (I plan to add one) but going without is not a death sentence. I cruised the Caribbean and US east coast for 35 years and thousands of miles usually with nothing but a VHF and depth sounder and managed to live through it. If you do get AIS, by all means get a transponder and not just a passive receiver.

If I could only choose one electronics gadget to add for safety it would be radar. Vessels without AIS (and there are lots) will show on radar as will buoys, islands and pretty much any other solid object above sea level.

Inverter? I find mine very handy but not essential and not a safety device. Get a min of 1500 Watts and you can run hair dryers (if you are inclined to use such gadgets), microwaves, vacuums, blenders and lots of other little goodies.
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Old 15-05-2017, 12:36   #35
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

Skipmac, you are right to a point. I also traveled using a sextant, DR techniques, avoidance of big ship by excercising visual vigilence. But now we do have those nice tools to facilitate our navigation. Entering at night in an harbor was not recommanded at the time, but now electronic charts, entering at night in any weather is routine. I have memory of entering New York Bay(trough Ambrose light) in bad weather, with a continuous flow of huge bulk carriers: I was quite happy with all my electronic helpers. GPS, AIS are here cheap and very usefull. And we shall keep in mind that there is also a lot more maritime traffic at night with the gigantic and fast cruise ships that criss cross the same our path in all weather, at night around the Islands where we cruise. .
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Old 15-05-2017, 16:25   #36
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

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Originally Posted by Elie View Post
Skipmac, you are right to a point. I also traveled using a sextant, DR techniques, avoidance of big ship by excercising visual vigilence. But now we do have those nice tools to facilitate our navigation. Entering at night in an harbor was not recommanded at the time, but now electronic charts, entering at night in any weather is routine. I have memory of entering New York Bay(trough Ambrose light) in bad weather, with a continuous flow of huge bulk carriers: I was quite happy with all my electronic helpers. GPS, AIS are here cheap and very usefull. And we shall keep in mind that there is also a lot more maritime traffic at night with the gigantic and fast cruise ships that criss cross the same our path in all weather, at night around the Islands where we cruise. .
Hi Elie,

Perhaps you missed my comment that I plan to add AIS to my boat. What I am trying to say, AIS is not necessary and it isn't foolproof. If you don't have AIS you don't have to stay home. Go sailing. If you do have AIS be very, very aware that it doesn't show every boat out there.

I am NOT opposed to AIS. I think AIS, GPS and all the other modern tools are great. If I had had some of these on board many years ago I would not have spent nights tacking off a port or channel waiting for daylight to enter. I would have rested much easier sailing through reef strewn passages.

I do still take great caution even with new technology. On a recent trip to the Bahamas trying to enter a small harbor at night the GPS was far from accurate enough to put me right in the channel. I had to use radar and a spot light to make the entrance as GPS was at least 100 meters off and would have put me on the beach.
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Old 15-05-2017, 16:46   #37
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

Skipmac,

I don't think anyone was suggesting AIS is "essential". Before GPS, I sailed for 15 years with RDF and Loran C and lived. But that does not mean that I would go to sea today without GPS - or AIS.

It will be interesting to see if your opinion of the importance of AIS changes after having it for a year. Mine did.

I've never talked to anyone who has AIS who would not automatically install it in their next boat.

Carl
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Old 15-05-2017, 17:05   #38
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

the invertor would be higher up the priority for me personally.
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Old 15-05-2017, 17:33   #39
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

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Skipmac,

I don't think anyone was suggesting AIS is "essential". Before GPS, I sailed for 15 years with RDF and Loran C and lived. But that does not mean that I would go to sea today without GPS - or AIS.

It will be interesting to see if your opinion of the importance of AIS changes after having it for a year. Mine did.

I've never talked to anyone who has AIS who would not automatically install it in their next boat.

Carl
First let me repeat, I think AIS is a great thing. I will be buying an AIS transponder. I recommend anyone that can afford AIS buy one. If I were to change my opinion after using one the only change would be to decide I didn't want it and I don't see that happening. However, after 40 years boating I have yet to have a problem seeing a 400' freighter although I do confess that my boating was mainly in the fog free tropics.

The only thing I have against AIS is that some (not all, not most but some) boaters I think can be too dependent on the technology and use AIS like it is the end all solution.

I am saying just this, AIS is not necessary, nor essential to cruise safely, even in busy shipping lanes.

Regarding essential, read the thread more closely. One post called AIS a must, another said they would not cruise without it. On a previous AIS thread there were plenty of posts that said or strongly implied that is wouldn't be safe to cruise without AIS.
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Old 15-05-2017, 17:44   #40
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

Hi, Skipmac,
I believe that I understood your comment, and I agree with you: Electronics are helpfull, but we can't rely entirely and blindly on them. Particulary GPS in the Bahamas and Antilles where charts are sometimes not exactly precise in their coordinates. And AIS is not always on in the small Bahamian freighters, and even their navlights not always on. Radar is another electronic tool that helps. But still AIS is usefull, to a point. Navigating the St-Lawrence river and estuary with its fog, heavy currents and lots of large freighers traffic, I find that AIS is a godsend tool.It is the must cost efficient instrument to have onboard.
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Old 15-05-2017, 17:53   #41
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

The perfect solution is to just buy a boat with integrated AIS, autopilot and plotter. Set the destination. Go home, relax, and fly to meet the boat just before it gets there a couple weeks later!
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Old 15-05-2017, 18:58   #42
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

AIS is a great tool. Maybe you remember all the calls on 16, that went something like "Ship on my starboard bow, ship on my starboard bow, come in please" LOL! AIS is a great convenience that does add to the overall safety posture, just like ARPA radar and other cool stuff. AIS is cheap enough that I have to strongly recommend it to almost anyone venturing into areas where there is commercial traffic. Not a necessity, but certainly a fine thing to have and well worth the $500 or so it will cost.

Without an inverter, every time you want to make a cappuccino with your superautomatic espresso machine, you would have to fire up the generator. "Espresso" made in a stovetop coffee maker just isn't the same because the pressure is too low and the water temp is too high. My daily cappuccino is a necessity. So I have an inverter. It is mighty nice to be able to use power tools and stuff, too. But moving as many loads as possible from 110VAC to run straight from DC will improve your energy efficiency considerably. Inverters are kinda lossy and often even a sine wave inverter will cause interference to electronics. So yeah, get an inverter, but try to arrange it so you don't have to use it very much.

Radar is great, but it is sort of an energy hog. It is overall somewhat more useful than AIS if you can afford the kw to feed it. Best thing going is to have both, and only run the radar when necessary. Interfacing the AIS directly into the radar display is very convenient and gives you a very clear picture of what is going on with the traffic. You can also interface either or both into your chart plotter. A device running OCPN is great for that.

The various types of personal locating beacons (PLB) are well worth looking into. For obvious reasons. I would choose a SART or AIS based unit over a EPIRB device, so you can locate a man overboard directly with your own electronics, and other similarly equipped boats can, as well. Anyone going topside alone ought to have one.

One of the cheapest most cost effective bits of safety gear is a CO2 inflatable PFD. They are light, compact, comfortable to wear. If it is just too punishing to wear a full PFD, you won't wear it. An inflatable, you hardly notice you have it on, but when you need it then it is there. Open cockpit sailors should always at sea be clipped in, and wearing an inflatable if not a full PFD, and when alone on watch, have a beacon of some sort. It is never too calm to go overboard. Don't ask me how I know that.

The quote for AIS and inverter was obscene. Nevertheless, if you were even remotely considering throwing down the bucks for them, then those other bits of safety gear ought to be a no brainer, and sure, get a proper AIS and the inverter too, as a convenience. They are worth it if you are not going top dollar. And there are some dandy little radars for under $2k, cheapest around $1k.
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Old 15-05-2017, 19:34   #43
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

Iguess I missed the part about "summer in the Bahamas". No you don't need ais for that. an invertor is nice as you can use a real drill for repairs, or a small vacuum to really get all that sand out of the boat etc.
You didn't mention radar, it can do many things including allowing you to make a harbor when your passage goes too long and you arrive in the dark, see water spouts in the GUlf Stream and avoid them (done both in the Bahamas), see thunderstorms 50-100 miles away. But it's not necessary.
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Old 16-05-2017, 00:38   #44
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
I will second (or third) comments from The Garbone and KP44.

AIS is nice but it is NOT essential for safety and absolutely not essential to avoid collisions with large ships. For crying out loud, ships are huge. You can see them for miles. With about five minutes practise anyone that can drive a boat can take a compass bearing and estimate the course and potential for collision. If you fall asleep at the wheel (literally or figuratively) and wake up with a ship bearing down on you it's a matter of 20-30 seconds to power out of their path.

Not saying that AIS is not useful (I plan to add one) but going without is not a death sentence. I cruised the Caribbean and US east coast for 35 years and thousands of miles usually with nothing but a VHF and depth sounder and managed to live through it. If you do get AIS, by all means get a transponder and not just a passive receiver.

If I could only choose one electronics gadget to add for safety it would be radar. Vessels without AIS (and there are lots) will show on radar as will buoys, islands and pretty much any other solid object above sea level.

Inverter? I find mine very handy but not essential and not a safety device. Get a min of 1500 Watts and you can run hair dryers (if you are inclined to use such gadgets), microwaves, vacuums, blenders and lots of other little goodies.

This is pretty good summary -- we have been running AIS for the past 8 years and it is nice but to rely on it totally to avoid ships is total nonsense. First most boats will not have it, second a lot of boats that have it do not have a name associated with it and third it is planning tool and a bit of a safety tool. We have used it a few times to talk with other boats to work on a close pass and I can count those on two hands: a narrow channel approaching Jamaica, crossing a tss headed toward Tunisia, crossing from Sicily to Malta, -- and a few others. yea it is nice to see you will have a safe close pass but then again before we had ais we used our radar more extensively and judged our pass on that and our eyes. And I can not remember us turning for a close pass that was on ais without talking to the boat first - except fishing boats and we try to avoid them as one minute you have a close pass and 30 mins later you don't so we watch all fishing boats as we have no idea which way they may go and try to avoid using our eyes and not electronics -

If the op does not have radar that would be a must in our view and not ais as way to many boats do not have ais -

And if the OP is a bit paranoid don't forget that the gov agencies are also watching you - we know for a fact that the Albanians, Italians, Russians, Ukrainians, Turkish, USCG among the ones we remember have been watching us and these are only the ones who have made a comment to us that they saw us.
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Old 16-05-2017, 01:10   #45
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Re: Inverter and AIS worth the money?

Chuck
What do you mean AIS is a planning tool?

All AIS transmitters have a name associated. The name info is broadcast at a much slower frequency than the position reports (like in every 7 minutes). If your receiver does not successfully receive the name info then your AIS will simply show position info with the MMSI. Your AIS misses lots of position reports, but they are so frequent you don't notice it missing.

I feel that AIS is simply one of the best info/safety electronics for the investment. An AIS can be had for under $500us , much less than radar. No one is saying it's a must, just a good value.
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