What is AIS?

Automatic Identification System: These devices are mandatory on most of the professional ships (cargo, ferry, fishing vessels, etc.) enabling them to permanently send their position, speed, heading and MMSI number through VHF signals.

By using a simple AIS receiver, it is then possible to display all this information in TZ Coastal Monitoring.

Although extremely interesting/useful, this system only allows to receive information from the ships that are transmitting their positions (professional boats exclusively) and does not replace the use of a radar which will detect ALL the moving targets.

Different types of AIS

AIS class A:

This type of AIS is used on vessels under SOLAS convention (merchant navy cargos…). It enables transmitting information about their characteristics, their position, their draft, the type of goods and their destination. The transmitting power of AIS class A is 12,5 W (by default) or 2 W (when operating in a specific area). The range of AIS class A is around 20 nm.

AIS class B:

This type of AIS is used on vessels that are not under SOLAS convention (fishing vessels under 15 m, recreational boats…). AIS class B are more economical and their range is more limited (between 5 to 10 NM) than AIS class A. The frequency of the messages sent is lower than with AIS class A. Their transmitting power is 2 W (by default).

AIS Receivers:

AIS receivers can only receive the information from Class A or Class B transponders. Those devices are generally the ones that are connected to TZ Coastal Monitoring.

The model that we usually recommend is the Furuno FA30 because it has an Ethernet output. However, TZ Coastal Monitoring is compatible with all AIS receivers that have an NMEA0813 output.

AIS features in TZ Coastal Monitoring

When connected to TZ Coastal Monitoring, the AIS system offers the possibility to display all the AIS targets on the chart and in real time. An AIS antenna positioned at a few meters height will enable to visualize vessels up to 50 NM.

TZ Coastal Monitoring offers the possibility to display AIS targets according to different parameters.

For example it is possible to define a specific color for each type of vessel.

AIS filter on chart (possible to apply the list filter on the chart), allows to only display “favorite” AIS or dangerous AIS on the chart.

You can also follow target in the center of the screen and recall target track.

In order to keep track of a specific fleet, TZ Coastal Monitoring offers the possibility to create a “buddy list” using the vessels’ MMSI’s.

It is then possible to display the “buddy “vessels with a specific color. It is also possible to cancel all the alarms linked to those vessels (enter/leave an area for example).