Riviera

Safer Boating with Automatic Identification System (AIS)

Marine electronics and navigation guru, Errol Cain has supervised the installation of marine electronic systems into thousands of luxury cruisers in his 21 years experience. This issue Errol will discuss why pleasure boat owners should fit an Automatic Identification System (AIS).

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a safety device that enables other vessels, search and rescue operations or a shore station to track and identify a vessel on a Chart Plotter, Radar or Computer with a software package.

There are many good reasons to fit AIS. A few of these are;   

  • Knowing the position of a vessel in distress
  • Buddy tracking when vessels are travelling together
  • Situational awareness in busy waterways
  • Night time travel  

This system can assist with night time travel, if a vessel is in distress, providing situational awareness in busy waterways and also Buddy tracking when vessels are travelling together.

There are two classes of AIS.  Class A: IMO-approved 12W with a transmitter/receiver and Class B: non-IMO approved 2W with a transmitter/receiver.  

Class A is mandatory on all vessels 300 ton and above as well as any passenger vessel that can carry 12 people or more regardless of size as required by the SOLAS convention 2001.  For an example of what AIS is capable of, visit www.marinetraffic.com.

AIS operates on the Very High Frequency (VHF) radio broadcasting system transferring packets of data over the VDL (VHF data link). This information can be very helpful in situational awareness and provide a another means of collision avoidance.  

AIS class A and Class B transceivers, transmit a vessel’s unique 9 digit MMSI (maritime mobile service identity  (MMSI is also a vessel’s DSC VHF identification) number which includes position, course, speed, vessel name, call sign and a range of other data between either ship to ship, ship to shore or search and rescue craft.   

AIS class B receive only devices that allow you to see and track vessels that have a class A or Class B transceiver fitted.   

There are many manufactures of both class A and B AIS units including but not limited to major manufactures like Raymarine, Furuno, Simrad, Garmin, Comar and Icom. Integration is made simple if using the same manufacture of the navigation equipment. An example of this is the Raymarine AIS that is integrated via Seatalk NG which is unique to Raymarine however, Raymarine AIS can also transmit on NMEA 0183 to enable integration with other manufactures navigation systems. 

AIS transmissions require their own GPS antenna but can use a vessels existing VHF antenna. Fitting of AIS is relatively simple however programming is required by the supplier prior to installation.

In Australia class A and B AIS monitoring is coordinated by AMSA to track vessel movements.   

For further information, please contact

Errol Cain
Managing Director
Phone 07 5561 7900  Mobile 0412 643 843

R Electronics
50 Waterway Drive, Coomera QLD 4209
Phone 07 5561 7900  Fax 07 5561 7955
info@relectronics.com.au
www.relectronics.com.au

 

 

 

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Click to enlarge image: Errol Cain, Managing Director at R Electronics

Errol Cain, Managing Director at R Electronics


The Raymarine AIS is a integrated via Seatalk NG and can also transmit on NMEA 0183 to allow integration with other navigational systems

The Raymarine AIS is a integrated via Seatalk NG and can also transmit on NMEA 0183 to allow integration with other navigational systems


The Automatic Identificaiton Systems can allow you to track other vessels on your chart plotter

The Automatic Identificaiton Systems can allow you to track other vessels on your chart plotter


AIS can assist when vessels are in distress, night time travel, situational awareness and Buddy tracking

AIS can assist when vessels are in distress, night time travel, situational awareness and Buddy tracking


AIS Class A and Class B transceivers transmit a vessel's unique 9 digit MMSI number

AIS Class A and Class B transceivers transmit a vessel's unique 9 digit MMSI number


It is simple to fit an AIS but programming is require by the supplier prior to installation

It is simple to fit an AIS but programming is require by the supplier prior to installation


AIS transmissions require their own GPS antenna but can use an existing VHF antenna

AIS transmissions require their own GPS antenna but can use an existing VHF antenna


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