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Old 20-12-2015, 15:18   #16
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Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Boat: Camper & Nicholson58 Ketch - ROXY Traverse City, Michigan No.668283
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Re: AIS on Great Lake

We have Vesper Watchmate 850. We sail out of Muskegon. Its the first instrument on & the last off. In addition to the normal stuff related to ship traffic, its a fuzz-buster since all of the CG & water cops normally transmit. If you are only sailing in nice weather for day trips - not much justification. We cruise. Its nice to plan your crossings with the big guys. St Mary's River is busy & crooked. Nice to see them coming. The ship radio operator will reply if you can address him directly - discuss you cpa and make arrangements. The other fringe benefit is it is maybe the best anchor watch at the lowest power consumption of any. We have a dedicated VHS antenna for the Watchmate. I suggest you provide double pole + & - power interruption and disconnect the antenna for lightening protection. We had to send ours home for repairs after a hit.

Algoma Spirit - St Mary's River. At least these guys are speed limited in the river. I think 10 knots. The cpa is usually feet and they pop up around the twisty bends.
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Old 21-12-2015, 15:01   #17
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Location: Lake Ontario
Boat: Douglas 32 Mk II
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Re: AIS on Great Lake

Originally Posted by TurboTim View Post
Other then commercial traffic. Does anyone else use AIS. Thinking about getting a Vesper WatchMate Vision for some after hours sailing.
We sail Lake Ontario mostly between Toronto and 1000 Islands.

We installed a Standard Horizon GX2200 VHF with built in GPS and AIS receiver this year.

Love it!

We can see all commercial traffic within 20 miles, course, speed, and vessel name.

Without it, it is so hard to tell what speed and direction the big boys are going day or night.

After one hazy summer day cruise, my son, following our boat in his own boat, indicated he would have been interested to get closer to a freighter we approached but was afraid we may get run over.

I giggled when I told him the freighter (cement) was anchored. (After I read their speed was zero, I checked with binocs and sure enough could see the anchor rode.)

He was in total disbelief, and thought it was moving quite quickly.

At night it is even more difficult, and those lake freighters (under way, giggle giggle) are moving dang fast (20 knots+).

We also receive data from a number of private yachts.

Enroute from Port of Newcastle to 1000 Islands this year (south of Prince Edward County) it was not unusual to have 4 targets on screen at once.

AIS is quite new.

Currently, all commercial vessels are required to transmit.

As time goes on and it becomes more mainstream, more and more rec vessels will be transmitting.

I feel it is worth it NOW to see the commercial traffic alone. It will only become greater and greater value in the future.

In the case of VHFs, a standard unit is ~$200, one with built-in GPS is ~$300, and one with built in GPS and AIS is just a little over $400. To me, for the minimal cost, if one is going to update a VHF, it doesn't make sense not to get built-in GPS and AIS receiver.

Ramblin Rod
About Sheen Marine

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Old 25-12-2015, 02:49   #18
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Re: AIS on Great Lake

There are 2 versions of AIS commercial and government vessels use class a (mandatory) and pleasure craft class b(optional as far as I know may become mandatory in the future) some of the ECDIS used on the commercial vessels have the option of ignoring class b, to avoid confusing clutter and alarm fatigue otherwise I think it's a very good safety item as sometimes in fog smaller vessels are lost in the clutter on the radar (personal experience) and they are becoming more affordable.
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Old 06-01-2016, 14:26   #19
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: PA, sail Chesapeake
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Re: AIS on Great Lake

I use a small portable AIS box with Open/CPN, plus have the SH VHF with AIS connected to my chart plotter. But I also use Marine Traffic and Boat Beacon on my phone. I have found that in the Chesapeake, the internet based services are not that far out of synch when tracking ships underway and allow me to see what is coming long before I actually pick them up with my real-time line of sight AIS receivers. Nice to see boats coming my way from around the corner or from down the bay. Started using AIS after a very close call at night with a 200 foot barge running out of the shipping lane. Radar is in the plans as I enjoy traveling at night and don't mind getting an early start in morning fog. But AIS for now is certainly better than nothing.
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Old 12-02-2016, 18:36   #20
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Location: NNW Chicagoland
Boat: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 40 "Voyageur"
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Re: AIS on Great Lake

Voyageur received a new VHF with AIS reception and chartplotter integration last season. It was very helpful in evaluating crossing patterns with lake carriers, identifying moving targets in fog, and noting law enforcement practice activities that needed to be avoided. Not an absolute necessity, but certainly nice to have, especially when you can hail a laker on 16 by name to confirm clearance. It's especially helpful in tracking the Lake Express high-speed catamaran ferry, between Milwaukee and Muskegon on Lake Michigan.

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