Originally Posted by donradcliffe
The AIS really reduces my stress level, because it separates the targets into problems and non-problems, then gives early and accurate information on the problem vessels. It also allows me to call the problem vessels by name if need be, which has raised their reply rate from near zero to near 100%.
That is why I use AIS. In the ICW
barges are invisible until you are right on them, even on RADAR.
Life before AIS, drive along ICW
keeping sharp lookout. coming up on S curves, call out general call on VHS giving mile marker number, or nearest bouy number. .......Wait for response....proceed around curve, woops a doublewide, no room to pass, emergency
180 and full throttle. Keep calling captain
of barge, now you can call for a double wide, maybe he will answer? Find wide spot in channel, pull over, barge goes by, now you can see name painted on stern, Barge now answers call by name. Maybe warns you of others behind him. Repeat 2 or 10 times per day.
Life after AIS, look at AIS display see barges 20 miles away, with NAME, course, speed , and load. Look ahead on chart to see where good passing spots are. Call barges by name to coordinate speeds so you will meet in wide spots. They 100% answer by name. Adjust speed so you will not meet on curves. Repeat once, you can call all the barges you are likely to meet, and ask intentions. Look out for small boats that may not have AIS.
Offshore radar may be better use, but in clear visibility it generally can see no further than line of sight, same as your eyes.
AIS has reduced my stress level on ICW from high to low. Where I am the ICW has heavy commercial
traffic with as many as 6 barges trying to pass each other at one time, without AIS you are like a blind man in a dodgeball game