The Automatic Identification System (AIS) was developed to allow ships and coastal stations to accurately locate and identify one another. An AIS transceiver uses VHF radio and GPS technology to communicate with other nearby ships. Vessels broadcasts include: their location; speed; course; vessel type; and other elements of safety critical data
AIS provides a range of benefits including collision avoidance for personal safety of mariners, vessel identification for port authorities and homeland security, and vessel to vessel identification for leisure and commercial applications.
Benefits of AIS:
See and be seen - A Class B transponder continuously receives information form all Class A and Class B equipped vessels around you and displays this information on your standard chart plotter or PC. At the same time, your Class B will transmit your position to all AIS equipped vessels automatically.
- Safety at night and in poor weather conditions - The Class B AIS is a vital navigation tool in poor visibility conditions. The information received from other AIS ‘targets’ provides the user with vital navigation information and the position transmission alerts other vessels to the user’s location.
- Combined with radar, AIS gives you the best possible picture of your situation in all conditions.
- Position transmission to authorities / nearby vessels in case of emergency.
- Graphically view your position in relation to other vessels when connected to suitable display.
- Track vessels of interest such as friends/ colleagues.
AIS Classes explained:
Two types of AIS transponder are available - Class A and Class B.
- Class A - Despite the huge safety benefits of commercial (Class A) AIS, the cost of this advanced technology has previously been a barrier to introducing AIS to leisure craft and light commercial vessels. To overcome this problem the Class B AIS transponder has been developed to provide all the benefits of AIS in a cost effective, reliable and user-friendly product for users that do not need the comprehensive data required for commercial shipping.
- Class B - Designed with the light commercial and leisure user’s budget in mind, yet still offers all the advantages of AIS. The device can be easily installed and connected to most chart plotters or PC based navigation software.
AIS receivers are also available; these units will pick up broadcasts from both Class A and Class B AIS transponders but do not transmit their own position. A receiver allows you to see the position of other vessels, however your position will not be visible to them.