Just my personal feelings and experience:
- We always have a laptop on board with moving map software that is AIS compliant when we are cruising.
- We have a separate AIS receiver (about $200.00)
- The receiver is tied into our laptop as well as our chart plotter at the helm.
- We like the AIS because there are some pretty good size freighters and ferrys where we sail and I like to be able to talk to the bridge and call them by name if necessary.
- We sail in an area where fog will occur.
- Make sure whatever display that you will be looking at the AIS data is large enough so it makes sense.
- AIS is another tool to help you stay safe, IMHO it does not replace anything, but it really does add to the package.
We would not be without it.