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islander bahama 24
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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

I have prepaid cell and even with unlimited everything only fifty includes internet on phone and don't know initial cost of ais unit but once installed only expense would be what's spent to generate the power to recharge batteries they are available for 12 volt installations
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

I realise this will vary depending on where you sail but I'd much rather have a Chart plotter that is AIS enabled than Radar.
 

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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

Gotta agree with you on that Fuzzy - Radar is nice, but the AIS system can be a real live saver. However, I would rather have both 3G radar and AIS on the plotter. I came real close to smacking some offshore rigging one night, and almost nailed a huge stake net in Chesapeake Bay off Tilghman Island, one that wasn't on the charts and two miles from shore. Got my attention, and AIS would have provided no benefit at all.

As for the guy trapped in poverty, that's crapola as far as I'm concerned. At age 50, he either doesn't want to work, or he something wrong upstairs. There are loads of jobs out there that pay pretty darned well, and they frequently go wanting because no one seems to want to start at the bottom and work their way up these days. "Yeah, I'll take the job if you make me chairman of the board." seems to be today's attitude. He could drive a garbage truck and make $45,000 a year in most medium sized cities, plus a retirement and benefit plan. Bet if you asked if he would mind driving a garbage truck he would look at you like you had three heads.

Gary :cool:
 

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sunfish?junior?
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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

I realise this will vary depending on where you sail but I'd much rather have a Chart plotter that is AIS enabled than Radar.
I think a lot of technical parts of sailing will change. Navigation and the decisions about what systems will be the safe and cost effective are going to be a challenge for me to budget.
This would be a good place to go navigation on a budget :)
Good day, Lou
 

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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

I realise this will vary depending on where you sail but I'd much rather have a Chart plotter that is AIS enabled than Radar.
TDW-You'll think twice or more on this sailing through Indonesia.....
 

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sunfish?junior?
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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

TDW-You'll think twice or more on this sailing through Indonesia.....
Ok expand on this. What size ship will have AIS ? What size craft is to small for radar ? They say sailboats will not show on radar without enhancement? What kind of collision is the most likely?
I ask with no real experience so you will have to give both sides of the story.
Thanks, Lou
 

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Sailboat Reboot
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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

Ok expand on this. What size ship will have AIS ? What size craft is to small for radar ? They say sailboats will not show on radar without enhancement? What kind of collision is the most likely?
I ask with no real experience so you will have to give both sides of the story.
Thanks, Lou
I said I would not post again on this thread. I recant only to provide information on AIS.

Who has to carry: Automatic Identification Systems (AIS)

1. In general big ships. In Singapore everyone by law - something that is likely to become more prevalent in very crowded maritime areas. One of the exemptions - fishing boats - sometimes a problem when making coastwise passages. Fishing boats tend to be brightly lit so they are pretty easy to see unless the weather is bad. I think that you will see the rest of the major maritime world moving toward the Singapore rule - you must have a transmit type AIS to cruise in their waters. This will be led by the harbors that already require all ships to report in when entering and leaving port (VTS Systems - see here:

2. Sailboats are hard to see on most radars - including both commercial and recreational radars. If you call another vessel on the VHF they can usually figure out where you are but are not likely to see you on the radar before you call. The bridge watches are not staring at the radar and the alarms typically will not be set to go off for a return that small. Radar reflectors help a little, but not all that much. One thing that surprised me: back in the days of paper charts if you gave a ship your lat and long they could pretty much pinpoint your location in a couple of seconds. Now with the glass bridges it seems to take a lot longer. I am not sure exactly why this is true.

3. What kind of collision is most likely? The one where you are not in the cockpit looking around to see who can hit you. Even with an AIS transmitter you are not complexly safe from large ships. I have been run down twice, once by a cargo ship, once by a Carnival Cruise Liner. In both cases my AIS was blipping away. CCL Captains have a very bad reputation in the shipping world. They seem to think that the rules of the road are they go where they want and everyone else gets out of the way. :mad: (actually I have been run down three times - in the pre-AIS days I was hit by a "laker" off Alpina in bad rain and fog. Did a mess to the bow of the boat but we stayed afloat and made it into a safe harbor.)

Fog banks can be deadly. I was approaching the Blue Water bridge at the foot of Lake Huron. There was a big fog bank under the bridge. The rest of Lake Huron was clear as a bell. My radar painted a huge target - I thought the bridge of course. All of a sudden a huge laker (they look even bigger from 100 feet looking up at the bow coming right at you!) came out of the fog bank heading directly at me. Five shorts on my pathetic little horn, right emergency rudder, all ahead flank, I got out of the way (barely.) They never saw me until I was abaft the wheelhouse tooting my little horn. Then they hit their fog horn. Darn near blew me out of the water! (I guess this counts for run down #4) They never slowed or turned. Would not have mattered anyway unless they needed to pick up the pieces. They just can't maneuver that quickly. (This was, btw, in my pre-AIS days.) Another minute and I was out of the fog in the St. Clair river.

Slightly off topic but your deck navigation lights on a typical sailboat are not worth much either. Offshore your lights tend to be obscured by wave action. The exception is a tricolor. Most commercial ships are illuminated at night. They are pretty easy to see. The exception is ships carrying explosive material such as oil. They usually have a minimum of lights visible - just the required navigation lights. I always wondered how the bridge watch on a brightly lit ship could see at night. We could track ships visually 10 NM away. We would chat with the bridge crew and they would know where we were (we have transmit AIS) but could not see us visually unless they got less than 1 NM away. That is why I now have a tricolor 60 feet up on top of the mast. In general on the open ocean 1 NM was the courtesy separation - large ships would alter course to give us a CPA of 1 NM or more. An aside: When I first started cruising I was confused by the side lights on big ships. In the recreational world the "bow lights" are the red and green lights located near the bow. But the COLREGS require side lights, not "bow lights." Most commercial ships have the side lights on the house in the stern. I was looking at a colored light thinking I was looking at the bow when in fact I was looking at the stern. Everyone seemed to be steaming in reverse...


Should you cruise in US waters (elsewhere in the world too, my experience is off Norfolk) in places like VACAPES you will discover that United States Navy ships don't transmit on AIS. And they don't show up on radar. And they don't have a lot of lights on. In fact you will swear they are not there until your radio crackles and they talk to you!! Even then you will swear they are not there. And they only talk to you if they want you to do something. Otherwise they just ghost by. A good thing from a combat standpoint, a little scary when sailing. The military operating areas are marked on the charts but they do have to get to them and get back home.
 

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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

Ok expand on this. What size ship will have AIS ? What size craft is to small for radar ? They say sailboats will not show on radar without enhancement? What kind of collision is the most likely?
I ask with no real experience so you will have to give both sides of the story.
Thanks, Lou
Ok, so it's around 5 PM local time in Indo waters, maybe doing your before dark checks, scanning the horizon, etc, maybe putting in a reef, having a bite to eat, scannng the horizon 360 degrees with the MKII eyeball, AIS, etc, Noting to be seen, great, nice night ahead. About an hour later it's dark...Then...WOW...as far as your eye can see are lights...dim, kinda dim. maybe bright, white, yellow, green, red, blue, flashing occulting, every kind of flicker...what's this? geez, it's a zillion small craft, bobbing in the swell fishing, not a proper nav light in the mix...jeez, talk about a terrorist activity...no rhyme or reason to direction, some boats with no lights, they flick a Bic lighter as you go by...we shine the zillion power light on the sails to increase our visibility...so yeah, not a fun night...and this occured on many nights. Radar helped, AIS was worthless here. MKII eyeball price less!
 

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Junior Member
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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

I said I would not post again on this thread. I recant only to provide information on AIS.

Who has to carry: Automatic Identification Systems (AIS)

1. In general big ships. In Singapore everyone by law - something that is likely to become more prevalent in very crowded maritime areas. One of the exemptions - fishing boats - sometimes a problem when making coastwise passages. Fishing boats tend to be brightly lit so they are pretty easy to see unless the weather is bad. I think that you will see the rest of the major maritime world moving toward the Singapore rule - you must have a transmit type AIS to cruise in their waters. This will be led by the harbors that already require all ships to report in when entering and leaving port (VTS Systems - see here: Vessel traffic service - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2. Sailboats are hard to see on most radars - including both commercial and recreational radars. If you call another vessel on the VHF they can usually figure out where you are but are not likely to see you on the radar before you call. The bridge watches are not staring at the radar and the alarms typically will not be set to go off for a return that small. Radar reflectors help a little, but not all that much. One thing that surprised me: back in the days of paper charts if you gave a ship your lat and long they could pretty much pinpoint your location in a couple of seconds. Now with the glass bridges it seems to take a lot longer. I am not sure exactly why this is true.

3. What kind of collision is most likely? The one where you are not in the cockpit looking around to see who can hit you. Even with an AIS transmitter you are not complexly safe from large ships. I have been run down twice, once by a cargo ship, once by a Carnival Cruise Liner. In both cases my AIS was blipping away. CCL Captains have a very bad reputation in the shipping world. They seem to think that the rules of the road are they go where they want and everyone else gets out of the way. :mad: (actually I have been run down three times - in the pre-AIS days I was hit by a "laker" off Alpina in bad rain and fog. Did a mess to the bow of the boat but we stayed afloat and made it into a safe harbor.)

Fog banks can be deadly. I was approaching the Blue Water bridge at the foot of Lake Huron. There was a big fog bank under the bridge. The rest of Lake Huron was clear as a bell. My radar painted a huge target - I thought the bridge of course. All of a sudden a huge laker (they look even bigger from 100 feet looking up at the bow coming right at you!) came out of the fog bank heading directly at me. Five shorts on my pathetic little horn, right emergency rudder, all ahead flank, I got out of the way (barely.) They never saw me until I was abaft the wheelhouse tooting my little horn. Then they hit their fog horn. Darn near blew me out of the water! (I guess this counts for run down #4) They never slowed or turned. Would not have mattered anyway unless they needed to pick up the pieces. They just can't maneuver that quickly. (This was, btw, in my pre-AIS days.) Another minute and I was out of the fog in the St. Clair river.

Slightly off topic but your deck navigation lights on a typical sailboat are not worth much either. Offshore your lights tend to be obscured by wave action. The exception is a tricolor. Most commercial ships are illuminated at night. They are pretty easy to see. The exception is ships carrying explosive material such as oil. They usually have a minimum of lights visible - just the required navigation lights. I always wondered how the bridge watch on a brightly lit ship could see at night. We could track ships visually 10 NM away. We would chat with the bridge crew and they would know where we were (we have transmit AIS) but could not see us visually unless they got less than 1 NM away. That is why I now have a tricolor 60 feet up on top of the mast. In general on the open ocean 1 NM was the courtesy separation - large ships would alter course to give us a CPA of 1 NM or more. An aside: When I first started cruising I was confused by the side lights on big ships. In the recreational world the "bow lights" are the red and green lights located near the bow. But the COLREGS require side lights, not "bow lights." Most commercial ships have the side lights on the house in the stern. I was looking at a colored light thinking I was looking at the bow when in fact I was looking at the stern. Everyone seemed to be steaming in reverse...

Should you cruise in US waters (elsewhere in the world too, my experience is off Norfolk) in places like VACAPES you will discover that United States Navy ships don't transmit on AIS. And they don't show up on radar. And they don't have a lot of lights on. In fact you will swear they are not there until your radio crackles and they talk to you!! Even then you will swear they are not there. And they only talk to you if they want you to do something. Otherwise they just ghost by. A good thing from a combat standpoint, a little scary when sailing. The military operating areas are marked on the charts but they do have to get to them and get back home.
Good info. However, Singapore waters are really small. We sail just outside the Singapore Harbor limits and most often test the line, Patrol boats every kilometer or so, keep all transgressors out. AIS not required for us to Enter either. The Mallaca strait and Singapore Straitts s have a VTS-Vessel Traffic sepration zone, so all the big boys keep to the lanes...however, out of Port Klang (Malaysia water) Tugs with tows and no lights seem to operate with impunity and without AIS. Most of the trawlers, squid boats and other fishing boats/craft don't use it either. This we found to be the case in Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo and the Philippines. So, a lot of work here to do in getting AIS adopted by the Maritime/fishing industry. Proper watch ON Deck still the best way to stay out of trouble. Sharpen up those MKII eyeballs....
 

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Sailboat Reboot
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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

Don't know initial cost of ais unit but once installed only expense would be what's spent to generate the power to recharge batteries they are available for 12 volt installations
VHF Radio with AIS (receive only with built in display) about cheapest $250 US

AIS transmit/receive transponder cheapest $550 US. Requires an antenna (can share with your VHF antenna) and a display. Baseline cheap laptop maybe $400 US, baseline chart plotter maybe $1,000 US.
AIS units do transmit frequently so they do provide a load for the batteries but the load is inconsequential compared to the load from a laptop or chart plotter.

I expect that someone will come out with an integrated transmit/receive AIS in the very near future. I expect they already exist and are only waiting on FCC approval.
 

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Sailboat Reboot
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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

Good info. However, Singapore waters are really small. We sail just outside the Singapore Harbor limits and most often test the line, Patrol boats every kilometer or so, keep all transgressors out. AIS not required for us to Enter either. The Mallaca strait and Singapore Straitts s have a VTS-Vessel Traffic sepration zone, so all the big boys keep to the lanes...however, out of Port Klang (Malaysia water) Tugs with tows and no lights seem to operate with impunity and without AIS. Most of the trawlers, squid boats and other fishing boats/craft don't use it either. This we found to be the case in Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo and the Philippines. So, a lot of work here to do in getting AIS adopted by the Maritime/fishing industry. Proper watch ON Deck still the best way to stay out of trouble. Sharpen up those MKII eyeballs....
It is an old story. Get fancy electronics. Depend on fancy electronics. Don't realize that fancy electronics have limitations. One major limitation: not everyone has fancy electronics.

My major objective is to stay alive. I think having a transmit AIS helps. Is it a panacea? Heck no. Do I feel I have better information as a result? Heck yes. Is it enough? No. That is why I am in great desire of the release of the MK III eyeball. In the meantime I try to get young pups to crew in crowded areas. They seem to be able to see much better than this old salt. :)
 

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islander bahama 24
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Discussion Starter #12
Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

A true $500/mo sailor doesn't have radar or AIS! If a $500/mo guy does have them then the $500/mo part is just a section of the total amount being spent and playing the "it depends" game of cruise budgeting.
Not really out of budget the initial cost is well under a grand and there are units that slave to the vhf for as low as two hundred bucks for receive only and both ways under 600 so save ten bucks a month for less than a year ( that's a pack and a half of smokes here) and you got your ais .
 

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Old soul
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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

On the question of AIS, I offer this personal observation. I live overlooking a rather busy shipping port here in Thunder Bay. We see all manner of cargo ships, from pure lakers to ocean salties, as well as lots of service (tugs, CG, SAR, etc.) and plenty of recreational and commercial shipping.

From land I can see much of this traffic go by, and often go to online AIS services to check the vessels out. None of the fishing vessels ever turn up. Most of the time the service vessels show up, but not always. But even more interesting, I'd say that ~2% of the big ships show no AIS signal -- at least not one that is available to me.

I've not conducted a formal study here, and perhaps there are other issues I'm unaware of going on, but from my observations I would never solely rely on AIS for collision avoidance. Personally, if I had to choose only one, I would go with RADAR. At least with RADAR things are within your control as to what you can see. AIS depends on someone else doing the right thing.

Of course, the best answer is to have both, and rely on neither ;).
 

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Corsair 24
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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

AIS is for 1st world heavy traffic shipping lanes

absolutely 100 percent useless for any cruiser who wants to go island hopping and discover places that are still "unknown" were this stuff doesnt exist

dangers to cruisers are mostly unlit fishing pangas and small industrial type fishing boats like shrimpers, longliners, debris, floating crap...etc...

nets, buoys, unmaned or abandoned lines, etc...

all of which dont have a nice control pod shooting a nice ais signal

for example down here ais would not be useful....

my half cent
 

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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

From land I can see much of this traffic go by, and often go to online AIS services to check the vessels out. None of the fishing vessels ever turn up. Most of the time the service vessels show up, but not always. But even more interesting, I'd say that ~2% of the big ships show no AIS signal -- at least not one that is available to me.
Online AIS reporting services are not necessarily an accurate or reliable indication of who is transmitting AIS, and who is not... I've been in ports with a fair amount of commercial traffic, and there can be considerable discrepancies between what vessels show up on my onboard AIS, and which are being reported on an online site...

Some folks out there appear to believe that a smartphone with an AIS reporting app is an inexpensive 'substitute' for AIS... While such information is better than nothing, perhaps, little of the online AIS information is in real time, and treating this sort of information as the equivalent of having an AIS receiver aboard can be a very poor, and dangerous, practice...

From MarineTraffic's User Agreement:

" Reliance upon AIS Data

The User acknowledges and agrees that the AIS Data provided by MarineTraffic may be inaccurate or incomplete and are subject to error, delay or change. Reliance upon or use of such AIS Data shall be at User's risk. "
 

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Sailboat Reboot
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Old soul
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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

Online AIS reporting services are not necessarily an accurate or reliable indication of who is transmitting AIS, and who is not... I've been in ports with a fair amount of commercial traffic, and there can be considerable discrepancies between what vessels show up on my onboard AIS, and which are being reported on an online site...
Yes, I agree Jon. This is why I specified where I was getting the info. But I have no way of knowing if what I'm observing is due to this technological disconnect or due to an absolute lack of AIS signal. And yes, I would never try and rely on an Internet AIS service. No way...

I'm always inclined to get real live data as opposed to secondary or tertiary information. I trust my eyes more than my depth sounder, which I trust more than my chartplotter. RADAR is data I can directly measure. AIS is at least two steps removed from my control, which lowers my confidence in it.

As I said, personally I would choose to have both if I could. But in the hypothetical either-or discussion, if I could only pick one, I'd choose RADAR.
 

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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

It is not going to get you transmit - in my humble opinion the most important feature. But a quick scan says yes it will work.
So I need to install a transponder to transmit my location to others?

Similar to this...

Lowrance NAIS-400 Class B AIS System - LOWRANCE | Marine Electronics

That would be close to $1500 total for the AIS radio, chartplotter, transponder... it's pricey but doable... if crusing in heavy traffic... I think being on watch in heavy traffic might be prudent though...
 

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Sailboat Reboot
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Re: Voyaging on $500 per month

So I need to install a transponder to transmit my location to others?

Similar to this...

Lowrance NAIS-400 Class B AIS System - LOWRANCE | Marine Electronics

That would be close to $1500 total for the AIS radio, chartplotter, transponder... it's pricey but doable... if crusing in heavy traffic... I think being on watch in heavy traffic might be prudent though...
I guess that like the cost of cruising "it depends." Mostly it depends on where you cruise. As pointed out there are areas where AIS is of very limited use - primary because few other boats are equipped. In those areas where there is high usage a receive only unit can help you scope out what is going on - helpful when approaching ports like New York or Miami or transiting areas with a lot of ship traffic like the Delaware Bay. As I pointed out in my previous post my experience is that larger ships have difficulty figuring out exactly where you are from a Lat/Long. I doubt they calculate CPA and time to CPA. The advantage of a transmit AIS is that their chart plotter gives them all of that information. It also gives them the name of your vessel so they don't have to call the boat at "approximately Lat/Long whatever."

With a receive only AIS you know that other ships are out there, their name, course, speed, CPA and time to CPA. This helps the Mark II eyeball locate them. With a transmit AIS they know you are there and they have the same information about you. It makes communication easier.

If you have a reasonably reliable full time watch in the cockpit or you are operating where there are not many AIS equipped ships one might take a pass. Or choose to invest in something else.

Risking the ire of newhaul and MikeORilley et al let me point out two items:

1. You used the term prudent. What is prudent for some may be overkill/inadequate for others - depending on budget, cruising style, cruising location, appetite for risk, etc. I am fortunate that I had enough money before I retired to have a pretty complete electronics suite - not everyone needs one or desires to own one. Over the course of some 15,000+ NM of cruising I have been relieved at some time that I had each element of the system on board. Did I need radar in the Caribbean? No. Did I need it in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland? Yes. My AIS came in handy when crossing the shipping lanes on my approach to Portugal. Watching 25 ships alter their course to give me 1 NM CPA was a great relief. I was coming off 8 days of 24/7 single handing in the Atlantic Ocean and I was tired. It was nice to not have to call each ship and say "do you see me?"

2. If you look at modern marine electronics the core of any system is the chart plotter - now properly renamed a "multi-function" display. Most modern multi-function displays are not only the core unit but the most expensive single item in the budget. Once you have the multi-function display the peripherals are less expensive e.g.
Transmit/Receive AIS $500
Radar $900
Depth Sounder - a transducer alone maybe $150
and so on.

Usually integration will cost a bit more - my VHF radio integrates with my multi-function display. It lets me push a button to call a ship that is displayed as an AIS target. Is it necessary? No. Is it kind of cool? Yes. I think the added integration cost was about $50.

For those on a limited budget - and we all are, our budgets just vary - the order and need for various electronic devices varies a great deal. The single most important instrument on my boat when I crossed the Atlantic was an MF/HF radio (OK, after the GPS.) I could get weather, report my position on a daily basis, and chat - important when you are at sea for 15 or 20 days alone. Useful in the ICW? Not at all.

We could assist you in your purchasing plans a bit better if you told us a bit more about how you intend to use your boat. :)

Fair winds and following seas.
 
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