Originally Posted by GypsyHawk
Have come late to this informative thread and have a question about what others may see as essential, optional or unnecessary for offshore cruising - particularly what are some views on installing an AIS transponder.
I am currently preparing my boat, a Van De Stadt Helena 38, for extended cruising. I agree with all that has been said about simple and minimal systems but am at the point of deciding on installing both radar and a Comar AIS transponder (strongly advocated by my wife and sailing partner who has fears of ships at night
What do these AIS transponders cost ?
I'm afraid I think radar on a small craft is a waste of money unless you happen to live/cruise in a particularly foggy area.
Only problem I see with things like the AIS gear is that you need to be running a chart plotter, be that stand alone or computer. Are you really going to run that thing 24 hours a day ? If not then the security is a tad illusory.
We rely more on paper charts than the plotter when out and about. Indeed I use my small hand held gps more than the other. Maybe I would use plotter more if it was computer based but even then would I ? That's an awful lot of power drain.