3. CLASS B UNITS: If you go the Class
B route, you can get a dedicated AIS
unit or, more commonly, a “black box”
style unit that integrates with your electronics and displays on your networked
MFD. A word of caution: Mariners
who regularly boat in congested harbors
should think twice before opting to display AIS data on their MFD, especially
if it has a relatively small screen. All
that traffic cluttering up the harbor can
also clutter up your display and make it
difficult to use your chartplotter and/or
radar. In this case, a dedicated display is
a better option. All the major manufacturers offer versions that interface with
their networks, and dedicated units are
also available. Average cost is in the
4. CLASS A: These stand-alone systems
all have their own dedicated displays.
While they’re the most expensive option
(usually between $2,000 and $3,000),
they’re also the best option for serious
mariners. They also provide the greatest degree of safety. Class A units are
available from most manufacturers that
provide Class B units.
Lenny Rudow is fishing and electronics editor for BoatU.S. Magazine, senior
editor at boats.com, and president of
Boating Writers International.
Left: A dedicated display screen can be a
big advantage, because lots of AIS targets
can quickly crowd an MFD screen.
Below: This Simrad NAIS-400 unit, for
example, is compatible with dozens of
chartplotters and MFDs.
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