Friday, March 11, 2011

Benefits of Dedicated AIS Devices - Black-Box versus dedicated AIS

We are often asked "do I need a dedicated AIS device. Why don't I just buy a black-box AIS transponder and wire it into a chartplotter or connect it to my laptop?"
To answer this question it is worth remembering that sometimes having multiple views of critical information can be helpful if you have time to analyze it all but in high stress situations where time is of the essence, simple and clear information is always best. So to help answer the question for your specific situation you will want to consider these issues;
  • AIS and map data can be very cluttered in high traffic areas, making plotter displays unreadable and individual vessel information hard to identify
  • A dedicated AIS display allows you to focus on the most important targets and with WatchMate's ability to filter non important, low risk vessels it becomes even more obvious which vessels need monitoring
  • Most standalone AIS PC software and chart plotters don't have sophisticated Alarms or Multiple Profiles that make understanding AIS information easy
  • Some AIS software will only tell you there is a "Dangerous Target". This is not enough information to make a decision on, especially in low visibility situations
  • A dedicated display provides all AIS data at a single glance without having to drill down through menus which can be cumbersome and creates stress when in congested waterways
  • Being a safety device its always reassuring to know that you have one piece of equipment with the sole purpose of continuously monitoring hazardous situations
  • Installation is simple with a dedicated AIS device, no complicated interfacing, settings and menu navigation issues to deal with
  • The scale for a chart versus the scale needed for useful AIS viewing is often different meaning you will be continually zooming in and out on a plotter to get perspective
  • Many dedicated AIS devices with displays use very little power and can often be left on permanently
And to show you the difference, consider this; What is easier to understand when you are under stress and have ships bearing down on you?

This View...

WatchMate is filtering out vessels that don't pose a riskand is indicating the single darkened vessel to maintain watch

or... this view? 

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