Great video on the importance of fire safety. The full article can be found HERE.
Raymarine is pleased to announce the availability of the iOS version of the Wi-Fish app and the Wi-Fish™ app is now also available on the Google Play store for Android devices.
The new Wi-Fish™ black box wireless sonar allows fishermen to transform their smartphone into a powerful CHIRP DownVision sonar.
iOS Wi-Fish app download
Android Wi-Fish app download
Blue Frontier is now a ABYC Certified TECH Installer
for the Blue Sea Systems line of electrical products!
Check out all their great products by visiting their website!
During the Miami International Boat Show 2015, we will officially present a brand new highly-innovative navigation solution: the FURUNO PC-Radar for Nobeltec TimeZero software!
This cutting-edge solution is made possible as a result of the technical partnership between Nobeltec and FURUNO, world leaders in marine navigation software and marine electronics respectively.
FURUNO's PC-Radar, the DRS4DCM, can be directly connected to a computer running Nobeltec TimeZero software, without any Multi-Function Display required, for an economical, easy installation.
Watch a Video which explains all you need to know about this system!
Digital Yachts AquaWear WLN20 has been nominated for the prestigious DAME design and technology award at this year's METS exhibition in Amsterdam
The WLN20 is a NMEA to wireless gateway which ships with a sleek wrist case allowing smart phones to integrate with the boat's navigation system. It introduces next generation wearable navigation to the boating market.
Realtime NMEA data is streamed from your boats' systems to mobile devices allowing a variety of apps to offer charting, instrument, navigation and AIS displays.
For more details watch below video or click HERE!
USCG NATIONWIDE AUTOMATIC IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM (NAIS) NETWORK TESTING
On October 21, 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) will conduct AIS test messaging from all USCG NAIS base stations located across the United States; for up to 15 minutes on the hour, from 1100-2215 UTC. These messages can be identified by their Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number: 003669139 or 00366613 and by the words ‘USCG TEST’ within their contents. This is the first of many tests the USCG will conduct in the future as it seeks to provide another timely delivery source of navigational information and services to promote safety, efficiency, and integration of the Marine Transportation System (MTS).
Messages to be tested: AIS Application Specific (ASM) messages 8, 25, and 26, with DAC = 001, 367, FI’s = 0, 22, 29, 33, or 35; AIS Safety Related Text (SRM) messages 14, of various lengths, using repetitions of the text ‘USCG TEST’. For further information on AIS messages, DACs, and FI’s visit http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=AISMessages.
Mariners capable of decoding these messages can ignore them and should contact the USCG Navigation Center at 1-703-313-5900 or TIS-PF-NISWS@uscg.mil should they encounter any negative impacts due to the testing.
Raymarine has issued a Partner updated for anyone who has an SR150 on their boat. If you are experiencing the problems they list below, follow their instructions to correct the issue listed below!
Price Reduction on Select Multifunction Displays
Effective immediately, Raymarine is pleased to announce a price reduction on select 5.7 and 7-inch multifunction displays. These great prices would go well with the MA Sales Tax Holiday on August 16th and 17th!
Contact Blue Frontier for more information and details!
At Blue Frontier, we are seeing more and more people using mobile devices and “Apps” aboard their boat. The major marine electronics manufacturers seem to have caught up and embraced the idea, integrating remote viewing or control of your MFD. Independent developers have released thousands of boating apps for navigation, safety, and general marine information from tidal data to learning navigation light colors and configurations. We think any tool that allows boater to be safer and more knowledgeable under way is a good thing. And the mobile nature and power of these devices are a fine addition to any boaters “tool bag”.
However, there seems to be some confusion and even misinformation regarding a recent trend using so-called Internet AIS apps. These apps, which are available from Free to $10, are being displayed as being acceptable replacements for “real” AIS. Unfortunately, a growing number of boaters are using these Apps as primary navigation tools.
While these low cost AIS apps are an interesting novelty, there are several limitations that the prudent mariner should be aware of. The savvy user/buyer will carefully read the full description and all the FAQs and reviews in an effort to fully understand the actual capabilities of the Application. While many apps show occasional bugs, even a perfectly working AIS app should not be relied upon as a primary navigation tool.
What I have called “True” or “Real” AIS works over VHF frequencies and comes in two “classes”; Class A and Class B. Class B is the recreational version that most of us use. Both Class A and B require a dedicated AIS receiver and, ideally, a dedicated AIS antenna. Both can transmit and receive. Class A is for vessels with mandatory carriage requirements. Only Class B also offers a receive-only version.
Beside initial cost and carriage requirements from an enforcement agency (Coast Guard, IMO, SOLAS), there are some key differences between Class A and B. The biggest are the amount of data transmitted and the frequency which that data updates. Class A (what big ships use) offers more data, including: Rate of Turn, Cargo, and Destination info. A Class A device transmits its data more often for safety reasons. And, the faster a vessel is traveling, the more frequently the data is transmitted. Class B works under the similar guidelines, but in general, the transmission of the data is less frequent and transmits with less overall power. If you are within VHF range, your AIS will interact with other so-equipped vessels for “real-time” AIS data.
“Internet AIS” (which is what the low cost apps are), relies on an internet connection to get data. So, you must be in a position to have this access either via Wi-Fi or cellular. This may be fine in an urban marine area or near shore. However, without internet access, the app will not update the data. The AIS data is uploaded to the internet from certain commercial Vessel Traffic Zones (VTZ) and from some local land-based AIS stations or commercial vendors that choose to do so. This means that even if you have a “True” AIS transmitter aboard, it does not mean your data is automatically being uploaded to the internet for app users to see. You must be in an area that is capable of and utilizing the upload capability. It is common to read a review where users complain they are watching ships go up and down their local shipping channel, but are unable to see them on the app. Do they have internet access? Are they in an area where someone is uploading the data? Are some of these vessels not required to carry AIS? Do they understand how real AIS works and the differences between real and internet-based?
Because of the uploading requirement, the data that shows up on your app will likely be delayed. While there may be slight delay in real AIS based on the frequency of transmission based on speed or vessel status, the delay on an internet AIS may be anywhere from a few seconds in a commercial VTZ area to several MINUTES or more in a less traveled area or when the vessel is between uploading areas. Most boaters should recognize the danger in such a delay if this app is being used as a primary navigation and/or safety tool.
In fact, if you read far enough into the FAQs and/or Description fields for these apps, most will specifically say that the Application SHOULD NOT BE USED for navigation. However, it is unlikely the purchaser ever sees these warnings because of the hard sell at the beginning of the description as well as a fair amount of press in recent months extolling these apps. One App dangerously describes that it “works by picking up AIS ship feeds used by all passenger vessels, vessels of 300 tons and increasingly by smaller pleasure craft and yachts. This technology is actually faster than radar and is used by vessels for safety and navigation.” This could be a very enticing description to someone looking to save some money and feel safe. “Faster than Radar”? What does that even mean? Most radars transmit their pulses several thousand times a second. Unfortunately, the developer (sales writer) does not go on to expand their claims.
Another Internet AIS App claims the user/boater does not need an MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identification) number to TRANSMIT over AIS. In fact, FCC and Coast Guard regulations require such a number to transmit AIS data. This app generates a temporary number that is used and allows the boater to be seen BY OTHER USERS OF THE APP WHO ARE ALSO CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET. It is not until the last line of the description that declares the app is “not an AIS transponder. You will not be visible to other ships on their VHF AIS systems.”
Blue Frontier recognizes that every boater operates with certain budget restrictions. However, if you are looking to invest in AIS, we would urge you to be very diligent in your research. While a $10 (or less) app for your mobile phone or tablet may be enticing, you should be aware of the limitations of such programs versus a true VHF AIS system. In fact, there are numerous options for real, VHF-based AIS and a receive-only device can often be purchased for less than $175.
Also, use caution once you have bought that AIS App “just for entertainment”. Remember your first credit card? The one you got “just for emergencies”. How long did it take for the definition of “emergency” to get broader and broader and the card easier to use for convenience. The same slippery slope mentality could apply to your AIS mobile app and the next thing you know, you are looking at it all the time with dangerous reliance.
At Blue Frontier, we encourage you to bring your mobile device aboard and to find useful new ways to use it. But, as with any technology, use caution and don’t rely on it as your sole source of navigation information. Consider it as another tool in your toolbag of knowledge and skills.
As always, we invite your feedback to this article and any information you have for useful “Apps” you use aboard. If you have questions about AIS or any onboard electronics, please don’t hesitate to contact Blue Frontier.
Great online sale going on from Nobeltec! Discount via online promo code on great products such as Nobeltec TimeZero Odyssey, marine charts, satellite photos, tidal currents, Routing module, Advanced Routing module, software and chart updates.
Visit our Current Promotions page for discount information and promo code!
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