Cheap AIS Transponder or Radar Refl

Since radar reflectors have been shown to work poorly beacause they are just over the water, would it not make more sense to get a cheap AIS transponder and gel cell battery?

An AIS transponder regularly transmits your position, course, and speed so you can be “seen” when you are around commercial traffic. You show up on their display whether their radar sees you or not.

Anybody try this? In theory its easy to set the box up to transmit ur vessel name, type, position, course, speed, but the coast guard wants other data filled in.

Off topic: go to to see vessel traffic in your area. You can even get an app for your Android.

better idea

– Last Updated: Jul-09-11 11:10 PM EST –

stay out of the way, the last thing I want is every joe blow with a sea ray or a kayak to have ais, the screen gets crowded enough as it is.

edit:a good hand held vhf, some decent situational awareness, and knowing where you are will do a lot more to keep you from becoming a little smudge on the bow of my barge.

Outstanding. AIS is superb
I don’t operate in urban east coast waters so can’t comment on that, but AIS properly used will alert all commercial operators equiped with AIS your position, bearing and speed. VTS will likewise see you.

I like the idea.

Lol, a powerboating spy lurking here.

– Last Updated: Jul-11-11 11:30 AM EST –

Assuming your not trolling (maybe you are a fisherman and do troll alot), I can say that if you had a decent AIS display it would filter out the traffic so you could understand distance, by chance of collision etc. If not you should get a new one for your barge.

Kayakers only need the small black box transmitter.

No amount of situational awareness is going to help avoiding overenthusiastic baja boats shooting out from marinas or lack of visiblity during a storm or fog.

Radar Reflector
a radar reflector is a bad idea anyway – it would turn you into a navigational beacon, much like a buoy and that’s probably how they’d see you on the radar screen.

Having a transponder is better, but as they stated above, you shouldn’t need to have that most of the time when there is visibility and you are not paddling in the commercial traffic lanes.