Jotron's Automatic Identification System (AIS) SART is a search-and-rescue beacon based on AIS technology; it transmits a dedicated identity code and GPS position to produce a distinctive red cross icon on the bridge display of every AIS-equipped ship within range, marking the position of a liferaft or a vessel in distress.
Jotron was instrumental in carrying out tests to persuade the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that a dedicated AIS transmitter could be an acceptable alternative to the radar-based Search And Rescue Transponders (SARTs) that are compulsory equipment on all commercial ships.
After tests showed that an AIS SART mounted just three feet above the water in a lifeboat or liferaft could be detected at a range of ten miles by a ship and up to 130 miles by a search-and-rescue aircraft, the IMO reached its decision: as of January, AIS SARTS are accepted on commercial vessels.
Use of AIS SARTs isn't limited to big ships or to those that are already fitted with their own AIS; they should be available about the time that you read this and will be priced at about $1,200.
Jotron (713) 268-1061. www.jotron.com.
This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.