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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Caution: AIS Apps
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-17-2012 03:29 PM
MarkofSeaLife
Re: Caution: AIS Apps

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post

Finally, I also disagree with blanket statements that cell phones and tablets are just "toys." .
Thanks for the nice words

I bought the newish iPad 3 and its near to a toy! if they had put a USB plug in it then a mouse could be used on charting packages for accurate routing. But Apple wanted to hoard all the money to themselves. So chart companies have rolled out half featured programs.
I bought it as a 4th backup GPS and third plotter with good battery life.
It's Ok and fine as a second unit, emergency unit or casual weekend unit. But for full time use its a pain... The charting too inaccurate/slow without a mouse, AIS inability unless I can Bluetooth the AIS unit, on 12 volt with screen brightness up for outside work the battery never recharges, and I can't transfere stuff to my PC, save a PDF or use a word document.

Now with tablets none of the charting mobs see the need for a mouse... It's driving the technology of charting backwards. Raymarine and Garmin should be shivering in their shoes, but they've been given a reprieve.

I am thinking of getting a small laptop as the cockpit and backup computer, and leaving the iPad to facebook and naughty photos.
11-17-2012 02:27 PM
TakeFive
Re: Caution: AIS Apps

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
IMHO AIS receivers are kind of a waste of money....I can only think of the Caprtain of a cargo ship coming up the Chesapeake getting to Annapolis and all these boats with their receive only AIS signals hailing the Captain. Without the transponder he has no clue as to which one of the 20 sailboats cutting across his path are you. So while you hailing him letting him know of your intentions you think you are safe, while he is sitting on his bridge wondering which one you are before him...
If you hail him with a DSC call and your have a GPS connected to your radio, he gets your coordinates and knows exactly where you are. (Unless he's TowBoatUS. ) It's not as much detail as AIS provides, but to say "he has no clue" is an overstatement.

When it comes to electronics, it is easy to think that more is always better. But if you have limited funds, limited cockpit space, limited battery capacity, and limited tolerance for complexity, sometimes you need to make compromises. For some people, an AIS receiver may strike the right balance. And I'll continue to believe that even if I buy a transponder someday.

I don't see any "false security" in having a graphical readout of all vessels over 300 tons on your chartplotter. As long as you realize that there are smaller boats out there too, you will be significantly safer knowing the location, course, speed, and names of all the >300 ton vessels, especially since they are probably the stand-on vessels given their lower maneuverability.
11-17-2012 02:18 PM
TakeFive
Re: Caution: AIS Apps

First, let me apologize to MarkofSeaLife. I said that his opinion is too negative, and that was poor wording that could be thought of as "denigrating." I should restate this as my opinion is less negative than his. I have no dispute with his claim that having a full AIS transponder is extremely important in the ocean. The ability to have your vessel seen by others is extremely valuable in the ocean, especially at night or when singlehanding and taking an occasional nap while the windvane takes over. It also valuable in inland waters, though not as much.

However, given a choice between having an AIS receiver and no AIS at all, the AIS receiver still provides significant benefits that are worth considering. It has been 2 years since I priced out a full class B transponder vs. the receive-only options, but at that time it was much more economical to replace my dying VHF radio with the SH 2150GX VHF/AIS receiver. For me, this was the best balance of economy with my needs for the area where I sail. Others who sail elsewhere may have different needs, and the price of transponders may have come down since then (as is the case for all electronics). But I do disagree with any blanket statement that an AIS receiver is "not worth it." It may not be worth it for some, but for others it may meet their needs in an economical way.

Finally, I also disagree with blanket statements that cell phones and tablets are just "toys." While I consider the MarineTraffic site to be unsafe for navigation (whether viewed on a cell phone app, tablet app, laptop website, or supercomputer for that matter), my beef is with the way they collect their data, not with the hardware that it runs on. Cell phones and tablets have become fully capable computers, and as software emerges that can run full-blown chartplotter software with display of all NMEA devices (including AIS targets, DSC calls, and all the instrumentation outputs) they may become viable replacements for dedicated hardware when paired with sunlight viewable displays and waterproof cases. Last I checked, iNavX and Navionics did not yet have these capabilities for full NMEA integration (aside from being a repeater for laptop software), but it may just be a matter of time before they (or more nimble competitors) offer it. It's already part of the offering from turnkey marine electronics companies, and over time the lower cost computer software offerings will have it too.

For example, I no longer use my automotive GPS device. My android phone, running Google Maps with navigation does the same thing, but much better because of instantaneous wireless updates of maps and graphical overlay of traffic status. Point and shoot digital cameras are disappearing because cell phone cameras have improved to the point where the vast majority of people are happy with them, and they offer instantaneous uploads to social websites. Over time I think it is likely that cell phones and tablets could do the same thing for marine electronics, especially on smaller boats where compactness and portability are more valuable. But the software still has a ways to go - MarineTraffic definitely does not cut it for navigation.
11-17-2012 02:14 PM
chef2sail
Re: Caution: AIS Apps

IMHO AIS receivers are kind of a waste of money. It is a bandaid fix which is one sided which gives the recipient a false sense of security. Its a kind of gimick where you can see whats around you provided everyone is also transmitting . Its kind of like stealth where you can see....but you arent seen . Maybe it make you feel better you are high tech, b ut it really doesnt solve anything. For a few dollars more you as well as others are all on the same system and playing field and can see each other.

I can only think of the Caprtain of a cargo ship coming up the Chesapeake getting to Annapolis and all these boats with their receive only AIS signals hailing the Captain. Without the transponder he has no clue as to which one of the 20 sailboats cutting across his path are you. So while you hailing him letting him know of your intentions you think you are safe, while he is sitting on his bridge wondering which one you are before him.


In addition I think having radar is actually more important. Radar on the other hand identifies all around you it will provide you everything the AIS does except the name of the vesesel.

The only true means of utilizing this technolgy to the fullest is to have a receiver/ transponsder coupled with radar.
11-17-2012 01:09 PM
SlowButSteady
Re: Caution: AIS Apps

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Not denigrating your personal opinion - just disagreeing with it. You said "aren't worth a pinch of poop." I say that's too negative.

End of discussion.
I would have to agree that the smartphone apps aren't worth much. They're essentially little more than a cheap toy you can run on your expensive toy. Real AIS receivers, on the other hand, can be a valuable tool IF you realize their limitations.
11-17-2012 12:37 PM
TakeFive
Re: Caution: AIS Apps

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
No one is forcing you to spend a few dollars on a particular item of safety.

However please dont denigrate my personal opinion. Receiver only AIS is not worth it. My opinion is from sailing with AIS offshore. Not in rivers. I dont sail in rivers. I do long off-shore cruising.

Mark
Not denigrating your personal opinion - just disagreeing with it. You said "aren't worth a pinch of poop." I say that's too negative.

End of discussion.
11-17-2012 12:31 PM
MarkofSeaLife
Re: Caution: AIS Apps

No one is forcing you to spend a few dollars on a particular item of safety.

However please dont denigrate my personal opinion. Receiver only AIS is not worth it. My opinion is from sailing with AIS offshore. Not in rivers. I dont sail in rivers. I do long off-shore cruising.

Mark
11-17-2012 12:24 PM
TakeFive
Re: Caution: AIS Apps

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
...Also look at the words in my post: vessels going offshore for more than a day sail.

Boats in a river will need to get out of the way of large ships anyway as the ship will be constrained and/or in a shipping channel...And remember if the sailboat is the stand on vessel it should stand on. It makes it vastly easier for a ship to maneuver around a sail boat when he knows its course and speed, very much so when the boat is pointing one way but leeway or current is taking him the other way...
OK, another one of these "you must have missed reading my words" comments. Yes, I saw the words in your post. Don't forget the part where you said AIS receivers "aren't worth a pinch of poop" part. I saw those words too, and I still think that they are overly negative.

As for an encounter between a sailboat and a massive freighter or cargo ship, the sailboat is almost never the stand-on vessel. For this reason I don't expect those guys to steer around me, especially since they are constrained by a narrow channel in my area.
11-17-2012 11:44 AM
MarkofSeaLife
Re: Caution: AIS Apps

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommays View Post
Nuke Subs do not give out info
Twaddle. When the navy is in areas with other vessels you would be surprised how many turn their AIS on.



And fishing boats too!

11-17-2012 11:26 AM
MarkofSeaLife
Re: Caution: AIS Apps

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Freighters aren't going to steer around a 25 foot sailboat anyway. .
Of course they do!
ALL AIS targets are logged and the "black box" is used in court. There is NO WAY a ship will run you down when he knows its being recorded!

You just can't think that ships don't care about it. Look at the Costa sinking the AIS record was all over the Internet within hours. The ships company emailed the ship as soon as they saw it go off course, BEFORE it hit the rocks.

Also look at the words in my post: vessels going offshore for more than a day sail.

Boats in a river will need to get out of the way of large ships anyway as the ship will be constrained and/or in a shipping channel.

Most Class B transponders also have the ability to log all AIS traffic, and every ship would realize it. So really, who is going to play chicken with a sailboat when it means their job?

Especially when sailboats are undermanned, or some cockpit crew are less experienced the transponder is vital. It gives both vessels the chance to comply with Colregs, not just one vessel. And remember if the sailboat is the stand on vessel it should stand on. It makes it vastly easier for a ship to maneuver around a sail boat when he knows its course and speed, very much so when the boat is pointing one way but leeway or current is taking him the other way.

One final point is that AIS is so powerful that It can be picked up a long way away... Just because a captain can't see a third target on the screen it doesn't mean that his every move isn't being watched, and recorded, by some other ship.

The pic shows you the range of these things... The red circles are 10 nms and 20 nms. Marsh Harbor to Nassau is 90 nms. Sure, I dont always get anywhere near 90 nms, but normally always have 40nms. (Purple line is my track from Nassau)

Toomany witnesses to run down a boat. All are recording all AIS information.
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