After a great deal of tenacity and the usual excellent after sales service from Chandlery, Sailing Clothing & Boat Electronics | Gael Force Marine
I wanted to flag up what turns out to be a limitation seemingly on all Garmin chartplotters, in that they will not show AIS equipped Aids to Navigation, such as buoys, lighthouses, etc.
For some time I’d been sailing right up to the increasing number of such ATONs here in Orkney and West Coast Scotland without them showing on screen as AIS targets - all other AIS equipped ships showed up fine. My Marinetraffic.com base station has no such problem getting the signals either, so it was clearly a problem on the RIB setup.
After Garmin online technical support twice (and falsely) blamed my AIS transceiver (Advansea TR-200) for the error, the welcome intervention by Alex Collard, Garmin Marine Support Specialist, has led to the official statement that (and I quote from the latter):
"As promised I have looked into the AIS issue you had reported and I have spent a lot of time this morning discussing this with our software/engineering team.
Currently, no Garmin plotter will show any type of symbol information for message 21 which is the message that is sent out by these buoys.
I have been told that this is something we are looking into for the future, but currently this is not something our equipment will support. Please accept my apologies for the time it has taken to provide you with the information required, however please let me know if you have any additional questions."
I'd been trying to get to the bottom of this for some time, with initial - and wrong - responses from Garmin including:
"Our range of plotters are full compatible with ATON (Nav Aid) targets."
"The device, if up to date should be able to display these."
So I've also suggested to Garmin that rather than making assertions that something will work (when it actually won't), and causing needless and abortive hassle for customers, they should check their facts first :o)
To his credit Alex Collard has done a great job in clarifying that there is a problem, but sadly there's no apparent timescales for when this will be put right. Which is a real shame as seeing AIS equipped ATONs is I suggest a pretty important bit of functionality these days.
I hope this helps anyone else who may be needlessly struggling with this.
I also hope this publicity puts some pressure on Garmin to do a software / firmware update to correct this. If the later is something you'd like addressing too, I suggest you email Alex at Alex.Collard@garmin.com
so he can let his colleagues know of the demand for this putting right.
Any other comments welcome - especially if by some miracle you have AIS ATONs showing on a Garmin chartplotters.
Also do folks know of which other makes / models of chartplotters do show AIS ATONs when connected to an AIS receiver / transceiver?