The 2014 newly released Humminbird fish finders, from the 800, 900, 1100 and ONIX series, are all AIS technology capable. It’s important to know though, that none of the Humminbird units in the mentioned series includes AIS. This technology is optional.
So, what is AIS?
AIS stands for Automatic Identification System. It’s an automatic tracking system, used by ships and boats, and the vessel traffic services, to identify and locate vessels, and make available data exchange between them. Its main purpose is to maximize navigation safety and avoid collision between vessels.
What can an AIS device actually do for you?
First of all, an AIS device has to be connected to your chartplotter. The AIS-100 A Class transciever is the only device provided by Humminbird that can be operated independently, as it has its own screen display. Their key function is to detect any other vessels in your area, making navigation during for or night time safer.
An AIS device can identify up to 100 targets, providing useful GPS information about them, such as current location, navigation status, type, length, cargo type etc. It can also offer you a simple presentation of the surroundings and the existant vessels in the given surroundings, for a better undersanding. Of course, you can run it in silent mode and only receive AIS data from other vessels without sending any.
What Humminbird AIS device can you get?
Currently, Humminbird offers four AIS technology devices:
– AIS-100 Class A Transceiver
– TX-AIS Class B Transceiver
– RX-AIS Class B Receiver
– AIS-SART Beacon
Here are a few words about each one of them:
AIS-100 Class A Transceiver. This is the most advanced AIS device that you can get. As mentioned above, it’s the only AIS device that can be operated independently from a chartplotter. However, it can be connected with any chartplotter from the 800 to ONIX series, for a superior data display. This model covers all the functions an AIS device can provide, with a superior update rate.
TX-AIS Class B Transciever. This AIS device requires connection to a chartplotter, as it does not feature its own screen display. Since it’s a transciever as the first one, you can receive data from other vessels, as well as send data about your vessel. Just as the A-Class model, it covers USB, NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 connectivity.
RX-AIS Class B Receiver. As its name suggests, it’s only a data receiver, which makes it considerably cheaper than the previous two models. But even if you can’t send any data regarding your vessel, location, cargo etc., you can still benefit from all the data transmitted by other vessels. It also offers PC USB connectivity, NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 ports.
AIS-SART Beacon. This is a slightly different AIS device from the previous three shortly presented here. It’s actually rescue transponder, which sends alerts to nearby vessels equipped with AIS devices. Data transmitted includes GPS location, target range and others.