Picking an AIS for our boat has taken soem hoomework. So I thought I’d go over some of the thinking that went into our decisions.
What type. AIS comes in three flavors
- Class A: Used by large ships , have longer range and send more information than the units used by recreational vessels
- Class B transponders: Used by recreationll vessels, have limited (Uses channel 70 VHF) so range is line-of-sight. You can buy receive only AIS but why even consider it, unless you run drugs?
We consider AIS to be an essential part of safety cruisings equipment. It allows us to see traffic in the vicinity and also sllows other boaters/large ships to see us.
When we, in our boat round a blind turn into a narrow channel and see a huge cantainer vessel in the channel, the our immediate action would be to use VHF to talk to the captain.
Instaed of saying, “calling large container vessel in the vicinity of the blind and narrow channel – do you see a small boat 1/2 mile dead ahead?
With AIS you can say “Captain of the container ship <ships name goes here> do you see Nordic Tug Endeaver ahead 1/2 mile? Do want to pass starboard to starboard?
If that conversation happened at night or in weather the need is that more urgent.
We’ve been cruising with and without AISand would never go without again