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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 09-22-2009
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Question AIS : it is worth it?

Buying a Hunter 36'. She has a Raytheon chart plotter, etc., and on the advice of a sailing buddy ("cross the Straight once in a fog, and you'll....) am having 2k radar installed. My dealer is suggesting that instead of a radar target, I install "AIS", which will both send and receive information, heading, and likely crossings for commercial traffic in the vicinity.
It's a good chunk of change, but is it worth it?
Opinions welcome!
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Old 09-22-2009
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Unless the rules changed, you cannot broadcast on AIS. However for $200 or so you can see an amazing amount of good info on the receive mode. It would be the best money I could spend in the electronics dept. Recieve only models are available for very little $$
In the Sound, if you get in a foggy or low vis. situation. Just call vessel traffic on VHF14 (I believe) and let them know who you are. They will keep you informed of any vessels. We did this clear out at Destruction Island before coming in the Straits. Combined with AIS you will be styling
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Old 09-22-2009
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If you get a Class A or B transponder you, too, can broadcast on AIS. Normally Class A is for commercial vessels, Class B for private ones. In order to broadcast you will need to have a MMSI assigned to you from your national authority, but that is pretty much it. I gather that the FCC has finally approved civilian AIS transponders
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Old 09-22-2009
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AIS is no replacement for radar. Radar can show you fixed objects as well as moving. At this point, AIS is almost entirely just commercial. What about that fishing boat or other sailor that is out in the fog as well?

These are two very different tools, with very different purposes.
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Old 09-22-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pschoonveld View Post
AIS is no replacement for radar. Radar can show you fixed objects as well as moving. At this point, AIS is almost entirely just commercial. What about that fishing boat or other sailor that is out in the fog as well?

These are two very different tools, with very different purposes.
Understood, and I am asking if I should ADD AIS to radar. It's the radar TARGET that would be substituted, according to the dealer. My concern is being visible to commercial traffic, which broadcast AIS would do.
You bring up a good point, pschoonveld.
Reading between the lines, radar will give me more knowledge of non-commercial traffic than AIS could at this point, given its newness for private/civilian traffic. And I hadn't thought of being visible to radar-equipped private traffic, who do not have the relatively new AIS. Perhaps I should go for a receive AIS module and a radar scatter on the mast.???

Last edited by stuartsw; 09-22-2009 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 09-22-2009
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Class B AIS was recently approved for use in the United States, and Raymarine has come out with their add on for their systems. Not cheap, and I hear there may be an issue with some of the larger commercial vessels monitoring the Class B signal. Friends of mine who have their boats in large commercial areas love at least having a receiver which is about half the price. I'm in a smaller harbor with little commercial traffic and have not seen the need to add AIS on yet. Radar serves my functions very well.
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Old 09-22-2009
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For a relatively small boat like yours, consider just adding an AIS receiver to the chart plotter. This will inform you of large traffic in your area along with their course/speed and closest point of approach. You can get an AIS receiver for as little as $200, check Milltech. Radar will assist you in avoiding both larger traffic and small. In a 36ft boat it really doesn't matter that much if you get run down by a 300ft freighter or an 80 ft fishing boat. You are responsible for avoiding the collision via your own lookout.

Paul L
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Old 09-23-2009
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Have you ever tried to call out a freighter on VHF without any information? They rarely respond, right ? Definitely, its an interesting additional aid to your navigation tool set. Specially if you're not sure about that "big ship" manouvering; you simply call them by name/position/mmsi/etc and quite sure they will respond.It's true that some commercial vessels still don't carry a transponder, but certainly AIS will add to your navigational safety.
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Old 10-13-2009
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My 2 Cents Worth....

My advise actually depends on your budget or willingness to spend money. If money is no object, I would go with the radar, AIS that both sends and receives, and a good radar reflector. If money is tight, then my priority order would be: good radar reflector; radar; AIS receiving capability; followed by AIS send capability.
First, you need to be seen and second you need to see what is "out there". Radar lets you see more of what is out there than any AIS. However, knowing what large vessel traffic is out there, who they are, course and speed, etc. as is available with AIS is a very good thing (however, don't own it myself yet). AIS broadcasting is only as valuable as there are units out there receiving the info and more importantly paying attention to your signal. Commercial traffic may not be looking for you either on AIS or radar! If you can afford it, it is still a go thing.
Just my opinion,
Tom
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Old 10-14-2009
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Thanks, everyone. I ended up commissioning with both radar and AIS send/receive. The difference between receive only and send/receive has declined considerably.
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