AIS MOB DEVICE
Losing a crewmember overboard is the nightmare that mariners dread most. Someone overboard cannot only be difficult to reboard even in moderate conditions, but at night or in stormy seas, it can make locating that person nearly impossible.
Over the years, several products have emerged to assist operators when a crewmember was separated from a vessel. Many of these systems worked by using proximity sensors that were notorious for giving false-positive readings when the target neared the gunwales. Adding to the nightmarish man overboard scenario, a series of false-positive alarms create “boy who cried wolf” moments as well.
ACR Electronics’ latest release is an AISequipped man overboard device (Automatic Identification System) that should solve some of these issues. Similar to personal locator beacons, the device attaches to your life vest and will automatically activate when the vest inflates. It can also be manually engaged should the life vest malfunction. Upon activation, the device sends an AIS chirp of an MOB event to all AIS receivers within a five-mile radius (distance can be affected by conditions). It can also be linked to your MMSI number to send out a DSC emergency alert to audibly notify the VHF on your own vessel—as well as surrounding vessels—of the emergency.
Because the device activates within seconds of the life jacket’s inflation, you significantly increase the likelihood of rescue. Due to onboard GPS, your precise location is displayed on all responding vessels’ chart plotters. Since the MOB’s location is broadcast to all AISequipped vessels within five miles, there is more likely to be a coordinated rescue effort. While a PLB allows for the alerting of defined rescue resources (such as the Coast Guard), coordinated response efforts often take much longer to organize and still often rely on rescue services alerting other boaters of your positioning to coordinate a response.
ACR AIS MOB $290 West Marine