The rules around Automatic Identification System (AIS) have once again changed.
Last week the U.S. Coast Guard formally published its final rule for the extension of carriage requirements that is intended to expand the use of AIS to improve the safety, security and efficiency of US waterways.
Starting March 2, 2015, the new rule will require more commercial vessels to properly install and operate either a USCG type-approved Class A or Class B AIS transceiver. Owners have until February 2, 2016 to comply or face a fine.
It is expected that more than 5,000 vessels will be affected by the new rule. These include:
- vessels of 65 feet or more in length
- towing vessels of 26 feet or more in length and more than 600 hp
- vessels certified to carry more than 150 passengers
- dredges that operate near a commercial channel
- vessels engaged in the movement of certain dangerous cargo, or flammable or combustible liquid cargo in bulk
So how will this rule improve safety and security? Although AIS is primarily a navigation tool for collision avoidance, the Coast Guard believes that the expanded use of AIS and the Nationwide AIS Project (NAIS) will increase Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). This is especially important for vessels approaching U.S. ports where identification and exact position of vessels is not always possible through voice radio communication or radar alone.
While NAIS relies on approximately 200 VHF receiver sites and 58 critical ports located throughout the coastal continental United States, inland rivers, Alaska, Hawaii and Guam, leveraging Satellite-AIS in addition to terrestrial-based AIS could provide even greater maritime domain awareness for organizations concerned about safety and security.
If you are interested in learning 3 important facts about Satellite AIS that could enhance safety and security of vessels and increase your MDA, take a look at our latest Satellite AIS white paper.