More Class B AIS On-The-Water Testing

by Tim on December 16, 2008

I’ve had the boat “on the hard” for several weeks, doing some repairs and engine maintenance. So I haven’t had a chance to do any further “underway” testing of my new Shine Micro RadarPlus AIS-BX Class B AIS transceiver.


Until this past weekend, that is, when C-Brats (the C-Dory online owners community) held its annual Lake Washington/Ship Canal Cruise. My friend Merv, who has an ACR Nauticast Class B AIS transceiver installed aboard his boat Kingfisher II, spent some time on Saturday peeking at the internet, and here are some screen captures he sent my way.


These prove that my AIS unit is installed and transmitting properly. I didn’t have any particular doubts, but it’s still nice to have it confirmed!

Now that Two Lucky Fish has a vessel record over at, anybody can upload pictures of her!

Speaking of AIS, a new set of proposed AIS carriage requirements from the US Coast Guard have just been posted. Thanks to Panbo for the link. Among other things, these recommendations recommend AIS (Class A or Class B) be required aboard certain smaller commercial vessels and all passenger vessels (commercial or not!) carrying more than 50 passengers.

We propose to omit the distinction of ‘‘for hire’’ because we believe all passengers, whether paying or not, are subject to a similar safety risk and thus deserve the navigation safety and maritime security benefit afforded to them by AIS.

This is the first time, to my knowledge, that any class of recreational vessel under 300 gross tons in the United States has ever been required to carry AIS. I doubt it will be the last.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Gram Schweikert December 17, 2008 at 5:51 am

Are there really any passenger vessels carrying 50 or more passengers that aren’t commercial? I can’t think of what they would be.


Tim Flanagan, Managing Editor December 17, 2008 at 10:44 am

A wise guy, eh? :-) Just kidding, Gram.

Obviously, the answer is “almost none”! I imagine a few megayachts and a handful of private and nonprofit-operated tall ships are capable of carrying 50 people.

To me, though, it’s not the number of vessels involved. It’s that the shift in the direction of universal AIS requirement has begun, and that non-commercial vessels are included for the first time. That may sound alarmist, but I don’t really intend it that way.

I actually support removing the “for hire” part of the designation. If you’re hauling 50 people around, regardless of who you are or why you’re doing it, you should be equipped with appropriate technology, such as AIS, that helps your crew avoid collisions.


Merv January 2, 2009 at 9:24 am

OK Tim, here is a question to start your New Year off right.

So our newly acquired AIS systems give us the MMSI #’s of vessels near us that we may well need to hail to agree on intentions etc etc.
Now have you ever tried to input an MSSI # into your DSC radio while you are navigating ? Particularly while you are navigating in fog or other difficult conditions when AIS, Radar etc are intended to help.

Since all these systems are linked by the miracles of modern electronic data busses, why can’t I have a simple option on my GPS (like I have with the autopilot “Go to” function) which says “Call” the MSSI that I have highlighted with my cursor or which has showed up as an alarm ??

Seems to me that trying to input an MSSI by turning knobs and pressing buttons while driving a boat is defeating the object of a very good safety device and is probably about as bad as texting while driving a car.

Sure, I can simply put out a “public” call on 16 or bridge-bridge but why not use the feature of DSC and cut down on “chatter”??

Curious mind wishes to know..



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