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Automatic Identification for Ships (AIS) is now compulsory on all vessels over 150ft. Although warships are excluded, they usually carry the equipment. Many small fishing boats do too.

Many leisure vessels carry AIS transmitters,,but the result in places like the Solent on a summer Saturday is chaos. My belief is that yachts should only transmit when there is a spec- shipific need to do so.  I carry only a receiver on board, displaying as an overlay on my Software on Board navigational software. This means I can see my own vessel in relation to other traffic, and key data like Closest Point of Approach is calculated, and if appropriate an alarm is sounded.

Without doubt AIS is the best addition to yacht safety on the last 25 years.

The best Internet display of AIS has been developed by the University of Athens. It can freely be added to websites, but I have chosen not to do so here . Instead I offer two locations, both of which are based on the Athens Marine Traffic display .

 -   Solent Now, a website I developed for Solent Protection Society. There is ready access on the same page to

          -   weather actuals and forecasts,

          -   tidal height data, and

          -   tidal stream data for the Solent.

-  Solent Area Shipping, a private venture which provides

          -   full AIS,

          -   access to webams,

          -   VHF monitoring of Southampton and Portsmouth port

          -   VHF monitoring of Solent Coastguard (ch 16 and 67)




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