Panbo

Category: AIS

Boat Beacon & MarineTraffic mAIS, yipee or yike?

May 9, 2012
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At first Boat Beacon may look like yet another iPad or iPhone app for viewing online AIS tracking services like ShipFinder, but in fact it's a very new and slightly disconcerting form of AIS transponder. In other words that "Panbo BoatBeaconTest" target seen above is not the test transponder I sometimes run in the lab but simply my iPad running Boat Beacon and using its online connection to send my position, MMSI, and "boat" data to a central server where it's also getting the regular AIS data for those various vessels in the Bay. The concept doesn't really have a name yet -- except maybe for mobile AIS or mAIS, as I'll get to -- but I think it's going be huge, and also confusing... 

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The Aegean loss, would AIS have helped?

Apr 30, 2012
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It is quite chilling to see this photo of the Hunter 376 Aegean taken at the Friday start of the Newport to Ensenada Race (by Susan Hoffman) with the knowledge that the boat was "smashed to bits" that night and that all four crew were lost. We may never know exactly what happened, but the folks who found what was left seem convinced that Aegean was run over by a much larger vessel and some of the reports claim that she was in or near a shipping lane (though I don't see it marked on any chart I have). While I certainly don't want to question the wisdom of a skipper/owner who was reportedly scrupulous about safety issues or a race committee that hasn't had a prior fatality in the 65 year history of this event, don't we have to wonder if AIS could have helped?...

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Kannad R10 AIS MoB beacon gets FCC approval, but not easily!

Apr 26, 2012
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Kannad Marine's SafeLink R10 SRS (for Survivor Rescue System) just received FCC approval, and it's about time given that this personal AIS SART was introduced in Miami more than a year ago!  But let's give Kannad a break as getting innovative safety hardware like this through the approval process is not trivial. Just skimming through all the documents filed with the FCC was an eye opener, and the company had already spent many months (and dollars) getting EU approval.  Before discussing those details, though, let's look at how easy-to-use yet capable the finished product is. The collage above illustrates the activation process (click on it for a bigger image) and I personally love how a bit of cord is rigged both to keep all of the R10 attached to your life jacket or clothing and to remove the orange Arming Tag and the red Activation Cap in two quick motions. It's also key to the automatic activation possible when the four ounce R10 is "professionally fitted" to certain inflatable life jackets (as detailed on Kannad's R10 web page...

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Whale Alert, an app with a mission

Apr 7, 2012
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It's an unusual app that gets a press conference and main stream media attention, and Whale Alert certainly deserves it. It's not just that this app might actually save the lives of some rare right whales -- which would be wonderful -- but it also demonstrates how mobile devices can be a critical integration tool between mariners and various governmental and nonprofit agencies, and between even a big ship's conservative electronics and the dynamic world of app development...

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Vesper Marine Virtual AIS Beacon, and more

Apr 2, 2012
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That's New Zealand's fascinating Fiordland coast and while I'm not positive the photo was taken from a helicopter, I do know that the solar-powered navigation light in the foreground is serviced by one. Which is how the technicians who recently added an AIS transponder to the site got there too. But you won't see the nav light on an AIS plotting screen because the transponder is programmed to mark a dangerous submerged rock at the mouth of Doubtful Sound 3.4 miles in the distance. Now the visiting cruise ships report that they can now plot Tarapunga Rock from 10 miles offshore or from two miles inside the Sound. The concept is called a Virtual Aid to Navigation, or VAtoN, and while it's the first I know detail of, I'm doubtful that it will be the last...

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DHS's Small Vessel Cooperative Tracking, what's your guess?

Mar 23, 2012
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It's amazing how the whole boating community can apparently miss information of great interest even though it's in plain sight. Remember how we argued about possible Department of Homeland Security AIS mandates last March? Well, had anyone poked around the DHS's interesting Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, we would have known that the government had already expressed a desire to get the small vessel tracking job done in a much more passive manner, even with benefits to us boaters!...

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AIS & DSC MoB devices, the standards revealed

Feb 27, 2012
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Here's some good news, even if I had to Google out a non-governmental Australian site to find out what the RTCM here in the States is up to. But I've admired the clearly written expertise at gmdss.com.au before, and I'm confident that they have their facts right about the new standards for man overboard beacons using AIS or DSC VHF (or both!). Besides, the details seem pretty much what we expected, with a few interesting nuances...

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Wireless data appliances: Comar NMEA-2-WiFi & DY AIS LifeGuard

Jan 6, 2012
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The London Boat Show opened today and so far I've learned of two products being introduced there. It's somewhat odd that while both say "AIS" on the box neither is an AIS receiver or transponder. Certainly the Comar NMEA-2-WiFi box might be used to send AIS target info to apps like iNavX running on an iPad -- and given that Comar is all about AIS, it's likely -- but in fact its two NMEA 0183 inputs could be used for any data a user wants. Having two 0183 inputs, incidentally, is what seems to distinguish Comar's product from Digital Yacht's single input WLN boxes (though worth noting that the Brookhouse iMux has 4 inputs). Meanwhile DY came up with an entirely novel AIS-related data appliance...

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Vesper Marine AIS-DSC calling, merry Christmas (again)

Dec 12, 2011
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I'll venture a guess that Vesper Marine won't commit to giving Christmas "prezzies" to their AIS WatchMate customers every year, but the company is following up on its terrific 2010 anchor watch software gift with another free update feature that lets users place direct DSC calls to AIS targets if their WatchMate model 670, 750, or 850 is set up to output NMEA 0183 to a compatible VHF radio. But I fear "compatible" is the key word here, and I caution WatchMate owners not to set their expectations high, though I think that this is a very worthwhile experiment...

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METS 2011, a Kees Verruijt report

Nov 17, 2011
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Today I {Kees Verruijt} did a one day tour of the 2011 Marine Equipment Trade Show in Amsterdam. I knew before I started that it would be a hopeless task to cover everything so this is just my own take on things... This year is the first year that Ben had introduced me as the official Panbo representative and I was surprised at how much 'clout' I was carrying. This turned out to be both positive (people take you seriously) and a negative -- some manufacturers clearly stated that some things were under embargo and they did not care for publication just yet...

Today I {Kees Verrujit} did a one day tour of the 2011 Marine Equipment Trade Show in Amsterdam. I knew before I started that it would be a hopeless task to cover everything so this is just my own take on things... This year is the first year that Ben had introduced me as the official Panbo representative and I was surprised at how much 'clout' I was carrying. This turned out to be both positive (people take you seriously) and a negative -- some manufacturers clearly stated that some things were under embargo and they did not care for publication just yet...

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