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Old 08 August 2013, 11:06   #1
HughN's Avatar
Country: UK - England
Town: Littlehampton, W Sx
Length: no boat
MMSI: 235101591
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 732
Boat Beacon

Apologies if this is an old chestnut, but I went out today with the "Boat Beacon" app and was quite impressed:
  • Using one of the AIS tracking sites my wife was able to track us from work
  • We could see all of the other traffic
  • We got an alarm that the CPA with a fishing boat was less than 0.1 nm

Usual things about using an iPhone in daylight, etc., but it worked OK. Obviously, other traffic couldn't see us via AIS.

I have an account at Live Ships Map - AIS - Vessel Traffic and Positions and just as I crossed the bar it sent me an e-mail to say my boat had just left port; the same on our return.

Clever stuff, this technology malarky!

"Can ye model it? For if ye can, ye understand it, and if ye canna, ye dinna!" - Lord kelvin
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Old 10 August 2013, 15:54   #2
Country: UK - England
Length: 3m +
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,077
Looks very interesting. Clearly some limitations beyond other boats not seing you. You need at least 2G internet to get updates? Reliability of the stations uploading to Marine Traffic seems variable - some sites are down a lot. Some are up but upload updates far less frequently than marine traffic updates. I was watching the highline transfer on Marine Traffic today and the possition of the SAR Chopper was only updated every 2 or 3 times the Marine Traffic update happened... so every 200-300seconds. I assume thats the data Marine Traffic is being sent. The chopper would have been sending AIS data every 10 seconds.

I see its biggest use being the remote monitoring rather than for your use as any kind of nav aid. Even with AIS Transmission you are reliant on the other sites picking up data and relaying it back... ...coz'd lots of gaps when trying to follow the Round Ireland boats - would have been interesting to know if there was good enough 3G to send live possition data? Would have competed with LinleySwans pointless YellowBrick tracker since I never found where in YellowBrick's site the tracker was!!

Suspect you can pick up a PAYG Android Smart Phone and waterproof bag cheaper than you can rent a YellowBrick! Infact almost worth getting one and burying it somewhere in the boats internals with a power supply from the battery and using it as a tracker if your boat got nicked... not sure if you could remotely turn it on...
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