Originally Posted by Sapphire
oooh I do like AIS as I follow loads of vessels on the marine traffic website but had never considered it for my little rib!!! I may be tempted to get one as a gadget so that my friends can track me ... is that possible?
The kit SPR has linked to is a cross between a Handheld DSC VHF and a PLB. If I was totally frank I'd suggest its more aimed at the big boys. So you fall in, and it sends an "AIS Alert" to anyone with AIS and marks your pos on their plotter (As Willk said so does the big red DSC button on the handheld). I suspect there will be a fair few non-commerical plotters out there that aren't interfaced to their DSC. Anyone with an AIS receiver will receive your AIS Alert. Not convinced that would be more than with a DSC Set?
The AIS PLB works using VHF so has pretty much the same theoretical limitations as a HH VHF.
On your RIB you can get two types of AIS for the boat its self - one is a receiver (cheaper). If you had that and SPRs kit then when you go overboard your crew can come and get you from the plotter. Receiver doesn't let anyone track your RIB. Transmitter is what you are seeing on MarineTraffic and is a LOT more expensive but means in theory you show up on the bridge of the big ship and if they want to know who the stupid inflatable is thats in their way they can hover over you on their plotter and it gives your MMSI and they can call you up and say "shift or we hit you" You'll notice thats 5 words the same as the five long blasts you are more likely to get as they wont expect a little rubber dinghy to be transmitting AIS...
If you only want people ashore to track you then MarineTraffic has an iphone/android ap that can use your phone GPS to update their website using a 3G mobile connection. Clearly that doesn't show on the bridge of a ship. And only works if you are in range of mobile masts, but in the Solent thats not bad. Just make sure your iphone is well sealed up and safe on your RIB not your pocket.