AIS – Automatic Identification System: The best navigation aid since GPS

AIS – Automatic Identification System: The best navigation aid since GPS.

Author: Barracuda Digital

AIS – Automatic Identification System: The best navigation aid since GPS.

One of the biggest and fastest growth areas in the marine navigations is the Automatic identification System (AIS). This Automatic identification System (AIS) turns your boat into a radio beacon continuously transmitting speed, course, and your identity. Having an AIS receiver allows you to track the COG and SOG of a ship, within the VHF range. This can be very important information for navigating in shipping lanes and channels.
AIS – Automated Identity System, gives you information of identity which is the transmitting vessels MMSI number, current speed, and course, all these among others. AIS has been developed to help prevent collisions between commercial shipping. AIS has been a legal requirement on ships over 300 GT for a while. In US waters it is required by commercial ships over 65ft and tugs over 26ft and 600 HP.

Vessels with the proper equipment can send and receive the AIS signal over a special VHF radio frequency. The signal includes COG, SOG, CPA( closest point of approach), MMSI which can then be plotted on a standalone AIS unit or the radar displays.

The display will show the AIS target as long triangle symbol depicting vessel and the same symbol is used for a large ship or small fishing boat. This triangle will point to the direction the target is moving. This will allow shipping to monitor traffic, having always the knowledge of what is happening around them at all times.

Benefits of AIS:

Helps visibility, imagine you are in poor visibility, and add rain and winds to it, you will not see the ships on deck.

I case you are in a situation where you are out on the wide ocean and you engine would not start your AIS signal would be picked up by the ship’s radar. This signal would sound an alarm on the bridge.

The AIS system also allows you to see around bends.

There are two types of AIS systems. One class of AIS, class A, is for commercial shipping. It transmits via two channels and typically is fully integrated into the ships navigations system. The second class or class B is for smaller ships. You could choose to transmit only or transmit and receive.

The only difference between these two is that class B has a reporting rate less than Class A.

For this AIS system to work you will need an AIS engine, a VHF antenna, a GPS signal, power, and display. Some other helpful equipment to maximize your fishing experience would be a depth fish finder, or a marine radio in case of any extra help.

Thomas H. Lindblom is a fishing enthusiast with an interest in fish finder and marine electronics.

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