The impending introduction of Class B AIS (Automatic Identification System) is set to represent the single most significant development in navigation safety in recent years. As the first full colour, compact Class B AIS designed specifically for the leisure marine market, the new Simrad AI50 delivers the safety benefits of professional AIS into the domain of the everyday boater.
All large commercial vessels including ferries, cargo ships and tankers, and many coastal work boats are required to carry Class A AIS, an expensive, complicated system designed to broadcast vital vessel information to all vessels in range (typically over 30 nm).
The AI50 provides the same safety benefits as Class A AIS but at a more attractive price point and with far easier installation and operation. Traditionally, the use of AIS for leisure boats is reserved to receiving data from commercial vessels but the Simrad AI50 also transmits data, enabling all AIS vessels in the area to know exactly where you are at all times, helping to avoid collisions.
The Simrad AI50 displays and transmits a wealth of information, which can be used to enhance safety at sea, including: Boat name and MMSI, type of boat, Closest Point of Approach and time to CPA, the boat's course, speed, heading and rate of turn.
'Receiving AIS information is important, but being able to transmit your own AIS data increases small boat safety by orders of magnitude, especially in busy commercial shipping areas. In heavy seas or in Radar blind spots, smaller boats can often go undetected, but if you are transmitting an AIS signal, every vessel with a receiver in the area can pinpoint your position,' comments David Sheekey, Product Specialist, AI50.
The daylight viewable colour screen on the AI50 allows all AIS targets to be viewed and selected with ease. Skippers can now plot the course of AIS equipped boats in the area, and extract their relative position with the help of the built in coastline maps. Range rings help to identify distances between boats and shore and guard zones with alarms can be utilised to warn of impending danger.
The AI50 is an extremely powerful standalone safety tool but connected to the NMEA 2000 powered SimNet marine network, it becomes an integral part of any boat's navigation and communication capabilities. The unit can be mounted on open deck (IP67) giving the skipper easy access to traffic information.
For easy DSC message composition simply connect a SimNet equipped DSC radio to the AI50. Just move your cursor over the target you wish to contact, press DSC and the AI50 will initiate a Routine DSC call using the MMSI of the selected boat. This 'graphical phone book' negates the need to carry a listing of boat MMSI numbers onboard.
Though vastly improved safety & security are the primary reasons to own an AI50, Simrad hasn't lost track of the fun and social aspects of boating. The 'Buddy Tracking' setting enables you to enter the MMSI numbers of friends and regular contacts, and be alerted when they come into range. What better way to make sure you keep in touch with those boating friends and acquaintances?
'The AI50 provides the power of a full AIS system but at a price point for the leisure marine market. Operation and installation is simple. The colour screen provides the best overview of the AIS domain available to boaters today and being able to transmit your own AIS data is a vital tool for safety. The AI50 really does allow you to see and be seen,' says David Sheekey.
The Simrad AI50 will be unveiled at 'Sjøen for alle' - the Norwegian International Boat Show, 16 - 25 March 2007.
Navico is the parent company to seven well established marine electronics brands: B&G, Eagle, Lowrance, MX Marine, Navman, Northstar and Simrad. Navico has approx 2,800 employees globally and has revenues of close to USD 350 million.
Navico is headquartered in Lysaker, near Oslo in Norway. The company has development and manufacturing facilities in Tulsa, Okalahoma; Ensenada, Mexico; Egersund, Norway; Støvring, Denmark; Romsey, UK; Auckland, New Zealand; Acton, Massachusetts; and Torrance, California.