Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) are one of the most valuable boat accessories that mariners have at their disposal. They can be instrumental in helping both boating hobbyists and professionals avoid collisions, communicate with nearby vessels and amplify distress calls that are being broadcast over GDMSS channels. Additionally, depending on the size of your vehicle, AIS marine instruments may be required by both the U.S. Coast Guard and international law.
AIS provides you with the speed, destination, course and location of other ships, typically within a range of 15-20 nautical miles. They're a crucial complement to radar, which can give you some information about nearby objects but lack the specificity of AIS. Even when you're beyond the range of shore-based navigation systems, you'll know when you're near another vessel as long as they are also equipped with AIS.
It can also be a critical tool if you have personnel, friends or family on land who may want to track your location during riskier extended trips. AIS data is in the public domain, and can be accessed online easily so that interested parties will be able to know where you are and can alert authorities if they believe you are in trouble and require assistance.
It's important to note that the Coast Guard intermittently revises its rules regarding who is required to carry AIS, and in the future you ship may fall in the category of those that should be equipped with these devices. By purchasing an AIS unit now, you'll be ready when such regulations are put in place.
At ePal, we carry the best brands and latest AIS technology at affordable prices, and we offer free shipping to the lower 48 states on all of our boat accessories and marine supplies. Additionally, we provide flexible, flat-rate expedition options that ensure you receive your equipment when you need it.