Thursday 30 August 2012

AIS from a black box connection

All of those we have supplied the Watchmate AIS to have raved over its performance, its a life saver they tell me. Now companies are selling the black box reciever side only, the idea is you link it to your laptop or chart plotter, the thinking is then you have AIS but whats not said is how good (bad) it can be to go this route.

Right click on the picture above, it should open to a size you can then read.
The Watchmate 670 display only, this will connect to your existing black box type signal supply. It uses a very low 3 watt 12volt supply, thats really low!

When advising customers about AIS its worth reminding them that AIS is about safety information and they should ask two key questions about any AIS device;

1. How do I ensure I don't end up with so many targets (boats) on my display that I cant make good decisions about the safest course to take?
2. How do I ensure that I don't have so many AIS alarms going off that I end up ignoring them all and tuning my AIS alarms off?

These are two questions that anyone experienced with AIS ask us on a regular basis.  The less experienced are in danger of simply buying a black box AIS transponder, connecting it to a chart plotter and saying they have "AIS"; unfortunately they are missing out on the key safety benefits of AIS when they do this.

Demonstrating the WatchMate filtering features addresses question 1 as WatchMate filtering declutters the screen and leaves only the high priority boats on display.  The second question is addressed by showing customers the four separate Alarm settings that the WatchMate has for each of the Profiles it can be set in (Anchored, Harbour, Coastal, Offshore). The flexibility of these Alarms simply means that the system is configured to only provide alerts in real danger situations not when every boat comes in to a set range.  A feature that is unmatched by any other AIS product.

Another way to highlight the difference between an AIS device with a dedicated display versus a black box AIS is to discuss the table above.  This table compares the WatchMate 850 with the ICOM transponder and a generic black box transponder.  As the table graphically highlights if customers choose a black box AIS transponder the safety functionality they get is variable at best and in many cases nonexistent.

However if they have already invested in a black box AIS device and don't want to upgrade there is always the option to provide customers with a WatchMate 670 Display which instantly provides them with a much more intelligent dedicated AIS safety device that addresses the questions above.

We can supply new Watchmates direct from the factory, they in turn supply the exact parts you will require for your boats system, they also have a downloadable update program which can be accessed from their web site for free.