Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: South Florida
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I'm a fan of AIS, whether it's as a receiver or transceiver. The problem with the transceivers is not only cost but power requirements.
There are 2 classes: A and B. The Class B is nearly identical to the Class A, except the Class B (according to the USCG):
* Has a reporting rate less than a Class A (e.g. every 30 sec. when under 14 knots, as opposed to every 10 sec. for Class A)
* Does not transmit the vesselís IMO number
* Does not transmit ETA or destination
* Does not transmit navigational status
* Is only required to receive, not transmit, text safety messages
* Is only required to receive, not transmit, application identifiers (binary messages)
* Does not transmit rate of turn information
* Does not transmit maximum present static draught
With the prices coming down, I'd consider a transceiver over the receiver despite the added power and equipment requirements. However, for small, kiss/basic sailors with limited funds and space, a receiving AIS is better than nothing.
And while a receiver only AIS would cost a few hundred dollars, the Class B models (with display) can run in the thousands. Some AIS transceivers require connection to a chart plotter or navcomp to show the received data as well as transmitted info, others can be connected to a dedicated display. Since the display is what you look at after the alarm goes off, having one that's accessible is a good thing.
So, while I'd prefer a Class B AIS transceiver, if I could get a receiver only AIS with a good quality VHF in one package, and I knew that AIS was a valued safety feature, and my pockets weren't that deep nor the work list that short, I'd probably go with that.
Capt. Douglas Abbott
USCG/MCA IV/C.I./M.I. 500-ton Oceans
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