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Old 07-24-2010, 03:58 AM   #1
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I recently talked to a person here in NZ who works with Maritime NZ. He investigates collisions. What I found interesting is that with AIS tranceivers coastguard here monitor and record the information being sent. What this means to cruisers is if involved in a collison with a ship evidence of the same event should be on record. This may help with getting compensation for damages or indeed any criminal elements if someone gets hurt. If you get hit by a ship you need evidence that it and your vessel were in the same place and at the same time. An AIS receiver won't provide that evidence. I see these a coming down in price and I'm keen to put one aboard soon.

Interested in your views,

Pete.
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:36 PM   #2
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AIS receivers will help you keep out of the way of commercial traffic. We have the Standard Horizon Matrix AIS GX2100 vhf radio. Love it.,

You can purchase an AIS transceiver (send and receive both) for your boat. Using such, the commercial traffic can see you, too. An even better way to ensure that a collision at sea doesn't occur.

I would doubt that any government safety body (CG et al) would want to see yachtsmen making lawsuits and claims based upon AIS (a safety navigation system) information.

AIS receivers are incredibly cheap these days. The VHF radio we purchased with AIS built into it was $340 online. Once you have such a receiver, unless you're in a horrendous shipping lane with literally 50 ships coming at you at once within 5 miles.. you will have no problem keeping out of the way of shipping traffic--and thus won't be worrying about making lawsuits based on AIS info.
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:07 PM   #3
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I believe these systems are monitored, at least here in NZ so will certainly be used as evidence if anything happens. I agree that these are a boon , fantastic technology. I'm lusting after the Simrad device with its own screen for a bit over one boat buck ($1100). I collided with a ship last march. Slight damage, mainly to the pullpit. Maritime NZ investigated but because I could not prove my position they could not proceed with whatever it is they do if a ship hits a yacht.
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danblu' date='24 July 2010 - 02:01 PM View Post

I collided with a ship last march. Slight damage, mainly to the pullpit. Maritime NZ investigated but because I could not prove my position they could not proceed with whatever it is they do if a ship hits a yacht.
Yikes! Where did it happen? How did it happen? I assume nobody was hurt, since you're pretty calm relating the info. I think we'd all like to hear more about this.

J
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:07 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by danblu' date='24 July 2010 - 11:01 AM View Post

I believe these systems are monitored, at least here in NZ so will certainly be used as evidence if anything happens. I agree that these are a boon , fantastic technology. I'm lusting after the Simrad device with its own screen for a bit over one boat buck ($1100). I collided with a ship last march. Slight damage, mainly to the pullpit. Maritime NZ investigated but because I could not prove my position they could not proceed with whatever it is they do if a ship hits a yacht.
Oh, my. Lots of questions come to mind:

1. The ship did not stop to assist you?

2. You had no radio contact with the ship or others at the time?

3. You don't have a digital camera or camcorder aboard... Even a cel phone has a decent such camera...no pictures taken of the ship as it passed?

4. You don't have a chartplotter or other GPS recording device?

More importantly--

Why did you collide with the ship? Did you or your crew not see the ship? Could you not tell which way it was headed?

AIS does a wonderful job of letting you know how fast and what direction the ships around you are traveling. As such, it is quite a bit easier to make sure and avoid ships. This is awesome when you're a slow yacht and surrounded by fast ferries (like we are here in San Francisco Bay right now).

There are many AIS to lust after but if you don't have the money for one which is over $1000, I would seriously consider the cheaper models available such as the one I mentioned that we just bought. Basic but really does the trick. Not to mention that if you're close to a ship, you can use the VHF radio AIS model that we purchased to call ship-to-ship using DSC on the radio to let them know you're concerned being close to them and all. Nice feature. If you don't already have a DSC VHF radio, you might consider the upgrade.

We'll look forward to hearing more about what happened in your situation.

Fair winds,
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:26 AM   #6
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I was single handing my new old yacht from Wellington to Gisborne NZ. About 20 miles from Gis. I spent most of the trip on deck (4 days) . I checked the horizon, which was close as a gale was blowing and a sea mist reduced visibility, about 00.30 went below to pour soup and cook some toast to have on deck. I was buttering the toast when I heard a wave breaking over the bow and fwd deck. Thought no waves like that out here whats going on and then a mighty jolt, bounced me about the cabin, water came in through the hatch and of course spilt the damn soup! When I picked myself off the sole and had a look out a ship was quietly speeding by alongside, huge brown hull going probably 15 knots. Honestly thought it was all over, that I would get churned into particles when the prop came by. The ship kept going and I set off my Spot via the 111 button , jumped outside and tied the liferaft to the staunchion. Went forward to see what damage and was surprised as only rather superficial damage to the pullpit. then went below and lifted the sole to see if any water below but all ok so cancelled the Spot 111 call. Got on the vhf and the ship by

the name TPC Tauranga responded. I told them we had a collision and the crewman asked if I was sinking. I replied not sinking. My vessel had been turned about approximately 100 degrees going from hard on the wind to a broad reach. An exciting night! She's an Atkin's Thistle but out of Ferro Cement, cabin being constructed of Totara one and one half inches thick. She's HA HA , solid as a rock

Seems the bow wave mostly shoved us out of the way but doesn't bear thinking about what could have come about if she had of centre punched me. Certainly I would not have known about it. The coast guard must have monitored my call because they called me on the vhf and asked my position and we arranged a radio sked for 1 hourly intervals with a position report.

It became apparent how bad the mist was in the morning. So thats why the sudden interest in AIS.

I did have a camera on board but not the time to use it, didn't give it a thought. Sort of wanted to make sure that if I was sinking then the raft would be ready to go and the spot device as well. Ship was out of sight in a minute or two.

The people at Spot called my wife at home and the Police and the coastguard. Coastguard came by the next morning to see if I needed assistance but I was having a ball tacking into a 30 knot nw wind coming straight from where I wanted to go to. Hey this is starting to look like a book.

cheers

Pete.
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Old 07-28-2010, 05:42 PM   #7
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Pete,

Thanks for the information about what happened. That explains why you didn't see the ship coming along.

Seriously, if you don't already have one of the new DSC VHF radios, just go ahead and purchase one of these units with AIS built in. They connect to your existing onboard NMEA0183 GPS or you can purchase a cheap little puck style GPS from Garmin with the correct baud output for NMEA0183 (that is 4800 and is not typical of most puck style GPS output). I believe it also outputs to chart plotters, but we haven't bothered with that.

Having AIS aboard, you would have seen that ship since they're required to have AIS signal broadcasting. I must say that sometimes the update rate on some of these ships is a bit slow--therefore you have to realize that a ship traveling close by you at 15 knots may only be updating the AIS every few minutes. That few minutes is precious time in avoiding a collision. However, you have the ship's heading and speed info right there on the screen as well as the bearing from your boat. The tiny plot really only gives you a quick idea of where they are relative to you, but it is really quite simple to know if you're about to be plowed over or if you need to contact a ship nearby you to let them know you're there.

With the size difference between you and a large ship as well as the fog and all, it would be so very likely that the ship never saw you at all even with an active watch. Their radar should have picked you up, but...who knows...it's best for you to see the ship via its AIS or radar signal for sure.

Glad that you're safe and that your crash was relatively benign. We hope that you don't have to solo sail very much, it is so hard to keep a lookout when short handed (two people aboard) that I really wonder how you single-handers manage to sail, keep look out and keep your sanity!

Take care,
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:39 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=redbopeep' date='29 July 2010 - 03:36 AM;1280338966]

Pete,

Thanks for the information about what happened. That explains why you didn't see the ship coming along.

Seriously, if you don't already have one of the new DSC VHF radios, just go ahead and purchase one of these units with AIS built in. They connect to your existing onboard NMEA0183 GPS or you can purchase a cheap little puck style GPS from Garmin with the correct baud output for NMEA0183 (that is 4800 and is not typical of most puck style GPS output). I believe it also outputs to chart plotters, but we haven't bothered with that.

Hi Redbopeep,

You are not talking about the standard DSC sending on VHF are you? If not then they sound great - do you have any links you can send as we have not come across this here in OZ - mind you, head down and bum up in a photographic studio for the last 5 months aint exactly keeping pace with the world outside.

We are about to upgrade our old VHF to a DSC which we have had in other yachts - just that Mico came with an older unit. Does the AIS send or simply receive? Can it be integrated with a Raymarine radar display?

Got me all excited now as I have just finished a 30 page list of things that need doing (read buying) for our trip to PNG next month. Its funny how my good lady insists that she hates shopping with me as I mope about and am always asking 'are we done yet' - when if you get me in a chandelry I've got to be prised out of there with a boat hook

Bit of a difference between socks and underwear and a new Lewmar D2/triple rope clutch
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:35 PM   #9
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Thanks Brenda and David,

Yes AIS is possibly even more valuable when single handing. I see NASA Marine have a black box receiver for a very reasonable price ( I think about$300nz) that works with the nmea thingo. I use an eee pc, which is great as is 12 volt, with Seaclear 2 installed. I have a puck type gps receiver and the system works well. This system with the AIS overlaid on the chart should be a boon.

I'm trying to get set up to go cruising NZ soon. Finding the task of arranging our situation at home to do so rather daunting. If we get through that stage my sanity may be ok.

Cheers.
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Old 10-28-2010, 04:54 AM   #10
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We are about to upgrade our old VHF to a DSC which we have had in other yachts - just that Mico came with an older unit. Does the AIS send or simply receive? Can it be integrated with a Raymarine radar display?
It depends which AIS device you get and which Raymarine display you have. Many of the later Raymarine C series can do this with a software upgrade, but the earlier ones cannot.

My 2003 vintage Raymarine RL70C and L770D cannot handle AIS inputs. I have a CSB200 AIS device capable of outputing NMEA from an RS232 port, but at present no way to display it on anything except a laptop. Not had much success with this yet and I am not keen to use a laptop for this functionality anyway. I may just buy a cheap standalone AIS display to mount at the helm.
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:32 AM   #11
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It depends which AIS device you get and which Raymarine display you have. Many of the later Raymarine C series can do this with a software upgrade, but the earlier ones cannot.

My 2003 vintage Raymarine RL70C and L770D cannot handle AIS inputs. I have a CSB200 AIS device capable of outputing NMEA from an RS232 port, but at present no way to display it on anything except a laptop. Not had much success with this yet and I am not keen to use a laptop for this functionality anyway. I may just buy a cheap standalone AIS display to mount at the helm.
Have to agree with Redbopeep - and thank you so much for the heads up about AIS!!!!!!! - we just purchased a standard Horizon VHF with AIS prior to our passage to the Louisiades. Got hold of a wiz of an electrician/software specialist who was able to link it up so it displayed both on our Raymarine C series Radar and our laptop via a mutliplexer we purchased out of New Zealand. WE LOVE IT!

A month ago we were entering Jamar passage, a major shipping lane between some rather ugly reefs in PNG , when we got a 'ping' on the radar (had the proximity alarm set) - the same instance we got hit with a major squall and had a complete white out. Could not even see the bow let alone anything else.

What a relief it was to be able to press 'Target Info' and get a display of the vessel's name, speed, direction and more importantly - their 'direct dial' international code and simply press the 'call' button. Moments later I was talking to the ships master who had not picked us up on his radar for some reason and was very appreciative of us letting him know we were out there in the soup.

Between the two of us we were able to decide on which change of course and speed we needed to take to avoid becoming a decoration on his bow. He reduced speed and dropped down a few degrees to our starboard and we increased and changed our heading. As it was, when they did materialise out of the soup behind us, even from a good distance away, they towered above our mast and still managed to scare the crap out of us.

AIS? We never turn it off - and now displayed on our radar, it's given us a big boost in confidence for our night passages and bad weather sailing.

Sure, it doesn't remove the need to keep a good eye out but it beats the hell out of trying to raise a blip on the radar by calling ' unknown vessel at such and such a position on a heading of such and such etc etc'. Many commercial skippers I know have told me that they rarely respond to such calls as things can get pretty busy on the bridge - but broadcast their name or call sign and you'll get an instance response.

Oh - yes! we just got back into Cairns last Thursday after 5 weeks up in the Louisiades - absolutely fantastic! Only 4 days passage from OZ, pristine waters and the friendliest people we have ever met it's going to be our new cruising ground for a good while to come. As soon as we get organised and unpack the boat we'll post some pics - the island of Sabara is simply mind blowing!

Fair winds

Mico
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:56 PM   #12
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I look forward to your pictures. When we finally took our leave of the Louisiades I was practically in tears, we had had such a good time there, and enjoyed the people so very much.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:43 AM   #13
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OK so I am now in the market for a new VHF with DSC and preferably AIS built in. What brands/makes/models do people recommend and where to purchase?

I'm coming from green fields -- I have an old shipmate (Danish brand) VHF that has given up the ghost, I have an old West Marine VHF that's non DSC but I can keep that as a spare. I have a Garmin GPS that feeds into a Tacktick NMEA unit that then feeds NMEA 0183 to the PC (laptop running Ubuntu and OpenCPN). I can tap into that NMEA feed but I'd rather not because it's tricky to get to and I've already tapped into it once to feed the radar.

So ideally I'd like to replace the shipmate VHF with an all in one DSC VHF with AIS built in. That saves having to have two units and since I need a new VHF anyway I may as well get an all in one.

Here's a starter for 10 but I take it I can do better and cheaper elsewhere:

https://www.whitworths.com.au/main_i...AbsolutePage=1

It's not obvious from the above whether it's an AIS transmitter as well as a receiver or just a receiver. It has no inbuilt GPS so I'd need a puck type or feed from my existing one.

Here's a stand alone AIS option:

https://www.whitworths.com.au/main_i...AbsolutePage=1

It has no inbuilt VHF, you connect it to an external one but it has AIS transmit and receive.

Another option:

https://www.whitworths.com.au/main_i...AbsolutePage=1

Transmitter and receiver, has inbuilt GPS, inbuilt VHF but doesn't have a "radio" function so you can't talk on it.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-29-2010, 04:03 AM   #14
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I know I already mention this model in an earlier post but I think there is nothing like it that I see on the market yet other than this particular model. It is AIS receive only. Internationally, there are supposed to be AIS transceiver VHF radios that we cannot get here in the USA, but I don't know the models nor performance.

We have a Standard Horizon Matrix AIS GX2100 LINK and we also have the CMP30 remote mic in the cockpit--everything (incl. AIS functions) can be done using the mic and it even has a little view of the ais on it which is great. Using the DSC/AIS combo, you can easily direct-call an AIS target on this VHF radio. Very nice and amazingly cheap for what you're getting. Street price is around $320 right now.
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