Use Coastwatch to check your AIS

2019-07-09T18:46:20+00:00 May 8th, 2019|Seamanship|0 Comments

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.

In a separate announcement RATS reminds us that UK pleasure vessels visiting EU harbours must be able to show that all red diesel purchased prior to departure from the UK has been paid for with the full 100% duty (and not any lower duty rate), and that it is recorded on the signed invoice for the purchase. This invoice must be on board the vessel (such as with the boat’s log) in the unlikely event any inspecting Customs official should wish to see it as proof of the duty paid. Despite concerns over Brexit this looks likely to be the case for the rest of the season. For peace of mind, and if owners have any concerns about making a trip, they can ring staff of the first marina they are calling at to confirm they will have no problem with their visit.
More info: HERE
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