By Ben Ellison
McMurdo M-2 AIS
While many cruisers are enjoying landlubberly technologies like WiFi once on the hook, formal marine communications are actually getting more important when on passage. A prime example is the Automatic Identity System (AIS), which uses digital VHF signals to vastly improve safety at sea (see “Identification, Please,” June 2005). The image on the new McMurdo AIS display below, showing ships gathered in the Port of Miami near the boat show electronics room, is real. Now imagine that they’ve all gotten underway while you’re making landfall in lousy visibility; the constantly transmitted AIS messages—ship’s name, course, speed, rate of turn, and more—would all be visible to you on this Minimum Keyboard and Display (MKD). Or better yet, on the AIS copasetic plotters and PC charting programs appearing in the recreational world (from Furuno and Nobeltec, for example). And your boat would show up similarly on the ships’ screens. At $3,995, McMurdo has set a new price for full IMO Class A AIS, but look for less expensive Class B and listen-only units soon.
McMurdo ( (561) 819-2600. www.mcmpw.com.
This article originally appeared in the July 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.