Vesper AIS WatchMate, smart details
Milltech Marine is carrying a new AIS display of particular interest to power-sensitive offshore sailors. The Vesper Marine AIS WatchMate has a 5–inch “daylight readable” monochrome screen, but purportedly only draws 1.2 watts average, 2.5 max. The $499 unit is not a receiver and does not do graphic target plotting, but I read through the preliminary manual and was impressed by how thoroughly the designers—who are offshore sailors—thought out the details of collision avoidance. For instance, WatchMate not only has range and CPA/TCPA alarms with sophisticated filtering, but also supports four “profiles” so you can easily switch setups in different conditions like “offshore” or “coastal”. It strikes me that WatchMate would also work well with a Class B transponder, though of course you’d still need a PC connection to set it up and, sigh, you can’t buy one in the U.S. yet. Note, too, that those NMEA 0183 ports shown below are actually wires in a single cable, and should be fairly easy to install in a waterproof way, plus there are several other possible install configurations. Hopefully Milltech or Vesper will make the manual available soon.
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