More research on the subject turned up the following info concerning new rule making.....
"The U.S. Coast Guard has proposed adding thousands of commercial vessels to the vessel Automatic Identification System (AIS) and the Requirements for Notices of Arrival and Departure (NOAD). It's part of a continuing program to enhance waterway security, oversight and operational safety.
The proposed new rules would apply to all vessels in U.S. inland and offshore navigable waters, including almost all vessels previously exempted from the present AIS requirements.
The Coast Guard estimates the new rules would result in about 17,500 new AIS installations. Those vessels include 298 cargo ships, 748 industrial ships, 553 offshore vessels, 97 research vessels and 122 tank ships in the category of self-propelled vessels 65 feet or longer engaged in commercial service.
New AIS installations will be required on 4,560 vessels 26 feet or longer of more than 600 hp engaged in commercial towing and on 5,520 fishing vessels. It would be required on dredges or floating plants in or near a commercial channel or shipping fairway, and self-propelled vessels carrying or engaged in the movement of certain dangerous cargoes.
Passenger-vessel requirements for on-board AIS now at 150 persons or greater capacity would be reduced to 50 persons or greater. AIS would be required on vessels capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots and carrying 12 persons or more. Those rule changes would affect 3,235 vessels."
"With these new rules we are going back to what we intended to do in 2003," said Jorge Arroyo, AIS regulatory project officer with the Coast Guard. He said the original AIS regulations were introduced in July 2003 as part of the Marine Transportation Safety Act of 2002 in response to post-9/11 maritime security concerns. Those original proposed regulations were modified at that time to accommodate the "claims of severe economic impact ... and fishermen concerns about the secrecy of their fishing grounds."
The above information was taken from the Professional Mariner web site and the entire article is available at Extension of AIS requirement would affect thousands of vessels | Articles & Archives | Archives | Professional Mariner, Journal of the Maritime Industry, Maritime Industry News
When and if this goes into effect it will certainly increase the value of a system.