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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Cowes
    Posts
    596

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Quote Originally Posted by mm42 View Post
    I work on a ship, often in the channel.

    We like AIS targets popping up on our screens, but still rely on radar, so if you’re giving a decent return we’ll see you and plan accordingly.

    Just be aware not all the vessels in the channel have watchkeepers as switched on as ours, and be cautious of big traffic, and in particular their speed, some of the big commercials really romp on. Stick to the colregs, it’s what we’re expecting (none of this mad might is right nonsense) but be ready to react if you come to the conclusion you’ve not been spotted.
    Amen to that, and I would add that ship watchkeepers may possibly be using AIS as one of their means of keeping a lookout, or not.. but they will definitely be using radar, so an Echomax type RTE is extremely useful..
    I think they are a similar price to an AIS transmitter, but have various advantages.
    "Now shall the gentleman haul and draw with the mariner"
    John Hawkins

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Me in Cowes, boat in Quiberon
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Yes, I know 'it's not as good as radar' and I accept that.
    I have a Comar transponder, it saved my backside and kept my crew lady calm whilst avoiding a very large dredger that came out of the river, veered off the channel towards me then slowed right down and dropped anchor in thick fog crossing the St Nazaire shipping lane in June. We could hear the anchor chain going out, I knew exactly where it was 50 metres away. Thus far for me worth the money just for that...
    Sadly I can't afford a four figure sum for radar and don't knowingly set off if fog is forecast but this time we left Pornic in bright clear sunshine and sailed into a wall 6NM West which lasted until we reached the entrance to the Baie du Pouliguen off Pornichet.
    I'm an AIS believer but I'll still keep scouring fleabay up for Radar

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    On the Celtic Fringe
    Posts
    14,324

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    A nice to have. I never look at mine unless I want to see where the big ship over there is going.

    Friends and family can see where I am, more importantly, and if I am going to get back for last orders at the bar!
    Cynical Scottish very nearly retired engineer who sails a Gib'Sea 96.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    West Sussex / Hants
    Posts
    28,771

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Quote Originally Posted by lw395 View Post
    If money is tight, the best use for £200 is to keep it in reserve in case you need an extra day or two somewhere waiting for the fog to clear.
    The cost of an AIS Rx is only part of it, you need an aerial, and to do work to get it all sorted. That's a time cost as well as surprising amounts for cables, interfaces, odd parts.

    OTOH, if you want one, then you might as well buy one sooner as later.
    +1, a very good point re having funds and no pressure if staying in port, often the sensible option with the Channel and fog.

    I'd like AIS and may well get a transponder for next season, but it's a nice to have - I have radar I can use in short bursts, but have crossed the Channel dozens of times without either.
    Anderson 22 Owners Association - For info please ask here or PM me.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Solent
    Posts
    3,161

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    I had to call a ship up that had clearly not seen me, on the approach to Portsmouth, after a crossing. There was a very either side of me, and they had seen me. The ship was going to cross in from of one and behind the other, but had not seen me in the middle. After a few mins they located me from my LAT/Long and decided to change their course to behind both ferries, so in front of me my half a mile. At the time the watch keep chastised me for not transmitting AIS.

    I was watching the ships using a receive only device. Next year I shall be transmitting. Not because I don't keep a look out but it does appear to be useful.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    East coast UK. Mostly. Sometimes the Philippines
    Posts
    9,759

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    I have just started with a B AIS and already I wouldn’t be without it. A few days ago a ship looked to be going to pass well clear by the aspect of her lights. The AIS didn’t think so. Red flashing ship symbol. The AIS was right. A point to note - radar is a thirsty beast. AIS is not.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    2,843

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Very nice to have. Combined with a good plotter visible to the helmsman it can turn a scary trip into a much safer voyage. And in quieter times it is often interesting to learn about the ships nearby.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Home UK Midlands / Boat Croatia
    Posts
    20,239

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Minn View Post
    I have just started with a B AIS and already I wouldn’t be without it. A few days ago a ship looked to be going to pass well clear by the aspect of her lights. The AIS didn’t think so. Red flashing ship symbol. The AIS was right. A point to note - radar is a thirsty beast. AIS is not.
    I agree with Minn. If you only sail in daylight then AIS is nice to have. If you sail in fog or at night in areas with large ships, then, for the price, it would not make sense not to have an AIS transceiver.

    Richard

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Southminster, essex
    Posts
    9,417

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Have not had a working chart plotter for 18 months, so my AIS transmits & I cannot receive. Has not been a problem so far. I cross the channel regularly. Last week I crossed the Dover Straits from Boulogne & Cross CG called me up to report that someone on the French coast (It was F8) had suggested that I may be in difficulty. They wanted to check I was OK.
    2 years ago Dover contacted me just North of North Foreland in very heavy weather, when a report of a yacht in difficulty had been reported. Turns out it was me, but at least Dover were able to identify me.
    So it is useful to be seen by coastguard etc. My wife likes to know where I am so follows me online.

    In July when I was en route from Ostend to Bradwell, 2 ships contacted me and asked me to hold my course, as they were changing course to avoid me- One of them was not even visible to me for another 10 minutes or so.

    It would not worry me if I did not have it but in the shipping lanes others seem to like to know what I am up to. I assume it is difficult for them to determine what a yacht going relatively slow is likely to do & to establish its course. Transmitting this data must help them.

    I also have Echomax active radar reflector & because Cross requested that I advise Dover when I wanted to cross the northern shipping lane, I complied. Dover immediately said that they could see me on radar. Whether that was due to the AIS or the Echomax I do not know.
    It is all down to the fact that my wife does not understand me !!

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    22,855

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    It is perfectly possible to cross safely without AIS or radar, and many of us have done it often. It would not be prudent to set out with the chance of fog with only AIS and no radar, but it would be a great comfort if one were caught out in fog with nothing else to rely one. A cruise with AIS might well be much more enjoyable with AIS and you friend might consider it money well spent. They would also have the option of being able to track their companions if they are transmitting.
    Far away is near at hand in images of elsewhere

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