Local fishermen in their pangas and small boats along with 3rd World tramp steamers and inter-island freight carriers do not have AIS equipment
as there is no requirement for them to have it. You are lucky if they even have a radio
or operating navigation
lights. Only in 1st World areas and its shipping
is AIS a requirement. So for a cruiser, AIS is a nice to have, but very limited in its usefulness in the "rest of the world."
- - Radar will return a target blip of anything out there it can see from wave crests to super tankers. But radar has a steep learning
curve. Which you must expend considerable effort and time learning
how to tune and use it properly. In different sea conditions radar must be constantly re-tuned to achieve your objective of seeing what is actually out there.
- - AIS is neat - turn it on or off, nothing to fiddle with. Radar is ineffective or only partially useful if you do not know how to operate it properly. If you do take the time and effort to learn how to use radar there is nothing better.