AIS is a significant innovation in navigation safety. If everyone used it… it would be even more useful.
We decided to get a transceiver and were looking for 2 key features:
- we wanted to be able to turn off the transmitter when appropriate
- we wanted the unit to connect to our VHF radio
That last item was key to us… as we often turn off our MFD for hours on passage… but we always leave the VHF on and monitor channel 16.
We also have access to all the AIS data on our helm-mounted remote ICOM microphone. We can make a DSE call from the helm as well. We have found DSE to be especially useful as commercial ships MUST answer DSE calls. Calls on the VHF… not so much.