top of page

Going

Dark

28 November 2022

Last revised

minutes

4

Reading time

The automatic identification system (AIS) is a tracking system that establishes the positions of ships, and fixed and floating objects, in real time. Used as a navigational aid, it also lets the world see a yacht’s position - which isn’t always what we owners want. There are times when ‘going dark’ is allowed and times when it’s not.

minutes

4

Reading time

28 November 2022

Last revised

The automatic identification system (AIS) is a tracking system that establishes the positions of ships, and fixed and floating objects, in real time. Used as a navigational aid, it also lets the world see a yacht’s position - which isn’t always what we owners want. There are times when ‘going dark’ is allowed and times when it’s not.

  • The Automatic Identification System (AIS) enhances safety and security by providing positional information and supplementing radar for traffic situation awareness.

  • AIS is used in search and rescue operations, providing accurate information on the position of survival craft.

  • It automates mandatory ship reporting to port authorities or vessel traffic service stations.

  • Ships over 300 gross tonnage engaged in international voyages are required by SOLAS regulations to be fitted with Class A AIS equipment.

  • Local regulations may be significantly more stringent.

  • Yachts not subject to SOLAS requirements can carry Class B AIS devices.

  • AIS systems consist of a small box with VHF transmitters, receivers, and a central processing unit, connected to various shipborne sensors and navigation systems.

  • It transmits static information, dynamic information updated from ship sensors, and voyage-related information.

  • AIS should not be solely relied upon for collision avoidance and does not replace radar target-tracking.

  • It can be switched off under certain circumstances, but the master should report it to the competent authority and restart it when the source of danger has disappeared.

  • Failure to operate AIS may lead to penalties by port state authorities and insurance underwriters may claim the vessel was unseaworthy in case of a collision without AIS.

  • AIS systems consist of a small box with VHF transmitters, receivers, and a central processing unit, connected to various shipborne sensors and navigation systems.

  • It transmits static information, dynamic information updated from ship sensors, and voyage-related information.

  • AIS should not be solely relied upon for collision avoidance and does not replace radar target-tracking.

  • It can be switched off under certain circumstances, but the master should report it to the competent authority and restart it when the source of danger has disappeared.

  • Failure to operate AIS may lead to penalties by port state authorities and insurance underwriters may claim the vessel was unseaworthy in case of a collision without AIS.