+1 with Vesper and Garmin.
Because I didn't want to screw with the NMEA 2000 fittings (which always seem twitchy) I just used 0183. I had planned to switch over to 2000 but have never gone back and done it. NMEA 0183 may be old but two little wires sure is simple. The only trick is to set the right speed and Garmin makes this particularly easy in their settings menu. AIS immediately came up on both my Garmin chart plotters. I've had over 100 boats tracked and never seen any performance problem.
When inshore, I always turn off the Garmin AIS collision alarm
and set the "Range" and "Time to" at very small numbers (this is when the target turns red on the screen). That's because the the green AIS icon Garmin uses is hard to miss on the chartplotter
Another advantage of Vesper is that it is my favorite anchor alarm
. It uses almost no power (be sure to put it on a separate breaker). You can connect a mobile phone
or tablet to the Vesper wifi
and take it to bed
with you so you can check the boat's swing in a wind
shift without getting out of bed
. And of course, the alarm is sure to wake you.