Good news for Android-using sailors: You can now use your devices to keep a watch on nearby boats, and let other boats, family and friends know your current location, using Boat Beacon Maps and AIS systems.
Steve Bennett, inventor of Boat Beacon
The Boat Beacon app, which has become popular among iPhone-using sailors and power boaters, is now available for Android-based smartphones and tablets.
The Boat Beacon app, developed by a skipper for other skippers, does not require an external AIS receiver or transponder equipment and provides location tracking at a fraction of the cost of an AIS system.
Boat Beacon was developed by Electric Pocket. Steve Bennett, the company’s CEO, sought an easy and relatively inexpensive way for his family to keep an eye on his location when he was sailing on his boat in the Bristol Channel. He also wanted a means of spotting big boats heading toward him, enabling him to trim his sails accordingly.
'High speed craft, such as Catamaran Passenger Ferries, travel so fast they can be upon you from beyond the horizon or an island in a few short minutes,' said Bennett. 'AIS Systems provide the standard solution to detect potential collisions, sending and receiving ship position and movement details on a regular basis.
'However, AIS receivers and displays are an expensive piece of kit to buy and install and are limited by line of sight, which can be less than 6 miles away at sea level!'
Bennett knew there is a large network of AIS shore stations collecting and sharing AIS data that an app could tap into. Also, most coastal and popular ports now have 3G or 2G data coverage - the UK has nearly complete coast coverage out to 12 miles to sea as do all the major U.S. ports, coastal areas and inland waters in the US.
Boat Beacon offers a professional, easy and inexpensive way to experience the benefits of AIS navigation. Features of Boat Beacon include:
1. Real-time 'Map View' of both the user’s and other boats via AIS.
2. Continuous Collision detection using Closest Point of Approach (CPA)
3. 'Compass' mode to sight ships on the map including bearing to and distance from.
4. Enable friends and family to see the user’s location and course on Boat Beacon and Global AIS Systems.
5. Current Speed, Course and GPS location
6. Details about other ships including photos.
7. MMSI numbers to contact nearby boats via VHF.
By enabling Boat Beacon’s 'Transmit' mode, the user’s boat will appear on other Boat Beacon-equipped devices. With its AIS Sharing feature, the user’s boat will also appear on live ship tracking websites such as AIS Hub, Marine Traffic and Ship Finder.
To learn more, or to purchase, https://play.google.com/store/search?q=Boat+Beacon&c=apps!click_here.