It's absolutely a no-brainer that the AIS is, if not an essential piece of equipment, then one any prudent sailor would be mad to go without one if you can afford it. So it's always great news to hear that they are getting smaller, smarter or cheaper. Now Digital Yacht has introduced a new class B AIS Transponder called the AIT2000.
AIT2000 - 50% smaller but packed with more features
Despite being 50% smaller than Digital Yacht's previous AIT1000 model, it manages to cram in more functionality and is one of the world's smallest class B devices.
A class B transponder sends and receives AIS data to other vessels equipped with either class A or class B AIS systems allowing an on-board chart plotter or radar to display these targets on an electronic chart. The closest point of approach (CPA) and time to closest point of approach (TCPA) of a target can easily be displayed which helps with anti collision calculations.
The identity (e.g. name, call sign and MMSI number) of other targets can be established by clicking on a target, so it’s a great aid to navigation and communication as well as enhancing safety. All commercial ships over 300 tonnes have to carry a class A AIS transponder. Class B transponders, like the AIT2000, have been designed for fitting on non-mandatory vessels such as yachts and fishing boats.
Interfacing AIS data to a chart plotter is very important and the new AIT2000 features dual NMEA 0183 input and output capability (with data multiplexing) to allow for just about every possible installation.
Digital Yacht has also added their new proprietary N2NETTM interface which is a certified NMEA 2000 system allowing connection to NMEA 2000 networks.
For PC users, there’s also a USB connection. It will interface with most leading brands of chart plotter including Standard Horizon, Raymarine, Garmin, Simrad, Lowrance and Furuno to mention a few.
The AIT2000 allows connection to either 12V or 24V systems, consumes around 5W (so ideal for use on sailing vessels) and the unit ships with PC programming software as well as SmarterTrack Lite, which is a powerful viewing program for PCs that allows the display of AIS targets and information.
Looking to the Future:
Digital Yacht also promise a few optional accessories for the future. With the improved interfacing capabilities of the AIT2000, they will be producing an optional external alarm which activates when an AIS SART or Man Overboard SART message is received. Companies like Kannad and McMurdo are now producing small, life jacket operated AIS SARTs, which will automatically generate an AIS target when a crew member falls overboard and the life jacket inflates.
The new AIT2000 will de-code these signals and provide an audio and visual alarm with this additional accessory.
There’s also an optional WiFi interface if you want to use an iPad or iPhone to display AIS data.
The AIT2000 is priced at around US$700 or £450 plus VAT and is available from October. To find a dealer near you, http://www.digitalyacht.co.uk/where_to_buy.php!click_here.
For further information send an email to email@example.com or visit www.digitalyacht.co.uk
If you are in the USA and anywhere near Fort Myers in Florida, or Annapolis in Maryland, you can go see them first hand at the following locations/dates:
NMEA International Marine Electronics Conference & Expo in Fort Myers, Florida from Wednesday September 28 – Saturday October 1
Annapolis (Sail) in Tent A, Booth 21 from Thursday 6 October – Monday 10 October
Annapolis (Power) also in Tent A, Booth 21 from Thursday 13 October – Sunday 16 October.
Editor's Note: A wooden vessel less than 300 tonnes is not required to carry an AIS and from personal experience does not in most cases show on radar. This description fits many a commercial fishing boat. An AIS does NOT substitute for regular horizon scans by the crew.