Definitely you dance with the lady you brought to the party. So if marine traffic is what you have and it helps fine. This has zero impact on my statement. The product was not developed as an aid to navigation, has inherent faults (time delay to update) that can lead you into trouble and mislead you.
For instance you download vessel at a certain course and sog. Before next update either speed changes or course. Your decisions are predicated on false information which place you at greater risk.
There’s no radar v AIS in my prior statements. Think this depends on vessel and use. When my concern is commercial traffic the AIS tend to benefit me more (i.e. nyc harbor), when in an active fishing grounds (north coast of PR
) it’s the radar. In both cases the data from my eyes remain key.
Recreational vessels without AIS are small. Commercial traffic and mega yachts are big and all have AIS. If you had a choice which would you worry about more. Perhaps our fellow SN posters who have experience of ships bridges can chip in but my understanding is they watch AIS/radar but are less diligent about visual scans of the full horizon. Even with AIS on your stern rail you are usually seen by them 8-16m out. It’s nice to be seen.
So it comes down to how you use your boat, when you use your boat and where. Depending on that and your budget only you can determine the risk/benefit and if radar, AIS receiver or transceiver is worth the bucks for you. There can be little argument that the more types of data available to you is better. There’s a very decent argument that for the type of sailing you do it’s not worth the bucks. I’d like FLIR thermal cameras and forward looking sonar. CCTV looking down from the spreaders might help with docking. But for the type of sailing I do decided I don’t have the bucks for that. Need to spend what I have on other boat expenses.
In a few years (hopefully many) I’ll give up cruising. Get something smaller and easy to sail. Probably put in a chart plotter or maybe just use navionics on a iPad. Or quite possibly nothing as I know the area well. Have depth but likely skip wind instruments. Likely won’t have radar nor AIS unless so required. Boat be used to daysail on nice days in Massachusetts Bay. All that stuff isn’t necessary
We each present our perspective from how we are currently sailing so each perspective is valid within that caveat.