Features September 2009 Issue

Practical Sailor Tests AIS Class B Transceivers from West Marine and Navico

“Light” versions of the equipment required on large commercial ships, these compact AIS transceivers expand sailors’ safety net by monitoring ship traffic data.

Practical Sailor last looked at Automatic Identification Systems, or AIS, in November 2008, reviewing the Raymarine AIS250, a receive-only device. Since that report, the pool of AIS products has grown to include several affordable transceiver options for recreational sailors. In this head-to-head test, we review two AIS-Class B devices capable of sending and receiving AIS data: the Navico NAIS-300 and the West Marine AIS1000. AIS transceivers are split into Class A (commercial) and Class B (recreational). AIS devices improve safety at sea by receiving and broadcasting a wide variety of information about a ship, including its name, latitude and longitude, course over ground, speed over ground, heading, status, and Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number.

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