by Des Ryan
The AIS is one of the most marvellous additions to the toolbox of the cruising sailor, enabling you to identify ships that you pass and, importantly, call them by name.
Boatwatch Pro in action
However, when you want the information fast and don't want to waste the time going back to where your AIS is located, this week's product is an app which is right there in your pocket in the form of an iPhone.
All you need to do is point your camera at a boat and Boat Watch Pro's amazing augmented reality mode will instantly tell you what it is and where its headed!
Boat Watch Pro has an augmented reality view that uses your device's camera to identify vessels in a real-time photo image. If you're tracking a boat with AIS, you can also use this app to set up alerts to when it arrives or departs.
Very, very cool!
Boat Watch Pro is available for both iPhones and iPads and sells at around $5.00 at the iTunes store.
For more information, go to this website.
Very good letter received from reader:
Sender: Don Cortis
Message: Hi , a clever app, however some people will rely on this app instead of a real AIS. The app gets its data from an internet connection , so it wont work ouside the phone connection range and secondly, where I live in North Queensland, the shore stations are few and far between. Look up ships between Cairns, Port Douglas and Cape York. Few or no Shore stations so no ships travelling along our coast. It should be advised that phones cannot pick up VHF signals and AIS is transmitted on the VHF band.
Again a great app but it should be advised that it cannot be used on a boat as an aid to marine safety at sea, once outside the above parameters.
Message sent from : Cruising USA