Vesper Marine WatchMate XB-8000 smartAIS
$799 for the hardware, software update for existing units is free; vespermarine.com
Vesper Marine has added new functionality to its black-box XB-8000 AIS transponder. The system adds a layer of safety through active alarms that monitor potential collision threats and alert the user. According to Vesper Marine, smartAIS uses navigation-sensor, GPS, and AIS data to prioritize alerts. Vesper’s units, equipped with smartAIS, continually calculate data for crossing situations, anchor-dragging, and man-overboard alerts, according to the manufacturer. You will use this system because it lets you set what data you see. In daytime offshore, collision avoidance can be dialed down to show the top three threats, but as you enter that harbor at dusk, you can get comprehensive, detailed information. On the hook, anchor-watch and move-anchor-position features offered through AIS (not just GPS) are unique to Vesper WatchMate units because they continue to function and sound alerts even when a multifunction display is powered down or the app is closed. Using Wi-Fi connectivity to connect up to five devices via the WatchMate app means everyone on board can be alerted to potential problems. The app also makes software updates simple, with seamless downloads from the mobile device to the helm network. Existing units can add the smartAIS functionality via the app.
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.