The Cruising Association (CA) Regulations and Technical Services Group (RATS) has come across the use of National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) stations to check AIS ( Automatic Identification System) transmissions. This seems to us to be good practice, certainly at the beginning of the season. A vessel’s AIS transceiver may use the same antenna as the VHF set or a separate one. As with VHF radios the most likely cause of any fault is the antenna or cable or the splitter (if the antenna is shared with VHF).
Such a call could be combined with a radio check. The procedure would be as follows:
|Vessel:||Rame Head NCI Rame Head NCI. This is yacht Hanson. Radio check please. Over.|
|NCI station:||Yacht Hanson you are loud and clear. Over.|
|Vessel:||Rame Head NCI thank you. Could you please check my AIS transmission? I am approximately five miles west of the Eddystone. Over.|
|NCI station:||Yacht Hanson your AIS transmission is clear. You are showing course 075 speed 4.9 knots. Over.|
|Vessel:||Rame Head NCI thank you. This is yacht Hanson. Out.|
Not all NCI stations have the facility to monitor AIS. Reed’s has a listing of the facilities at each NCI station. AIS is not failsafe and can have inaccuracies.