Ideal AIS Settings in ECDIS


ECDIS softwares display AIS targets and have settings for activating (displaying a target more prominently and with more info like its vector and name) and filtering (hiding targets that are not activated) targets. However there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on what those settings should be.

Some are simple, based and range or CPA/TCPA only, some are more complex with Class A or B criteria, ship dimensions, BCR/BCT, type of ship, navigational status, speed…

What do you actually use on board and what do you wish you could use?
Do you use targets filtering to hide some of them?

I believe an option to not activate stationary targets, maybe small boats too (class B, small fishing vessels, …) could help reduce the clutter and focus on the important targets when needed (if they do not infringe on CPA/TCPA values).
A CPA/TCPA factor for small boats could be interesting too: if your CPA/TCPA activation or alarm threshold is 2 NM / 15 min you could divide that by 2 resulting in 1 NM/7.5 min for small boats.

Disclaimer: I’m a software developer for a company producing an in-house ECDIS

You are heading north at 23 knots and are head on with a sailboat heading south at 7 knots. At one mile you would have 120 seconds to do something and given your response time to rudder, maybe 60 seconds or less. Did you mean that the target would show up 7.5 minutes out no matter the range?

Also think about area settings. Going into Annapolis my collision alarm would never NOT be going off unless I set CPA to something like 30 feet, so I mute it. In open ocean anyone within 20 miles is worth thinking about, in a crowded harbor or river channel you are hardly ever not aimed at someone.

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AIS can be helpful or a PIA depending upon where you are. They are only one of the annoying ECDIS Alarms.
After someone some where screwed up some in charge of a desk decreed All ECDIS Alarms must be on all the time.
Now they are just an irritant.
The problem is now not they ant be cancelled many of them can be reduced if the settings are appropriate. Unfortunately as an old fart. Figuring this out is not easy. Getting the 3rd mate go through the menu to set things is not always convenient.

Stationary target elimination in harbor approaches would be useful. You need to differentiate stationary secured to the dock to be eliminated.
Stationary underway. EG the tug waiting. or other vessel which may be moving slowly or stopped for traffic reasons or the nature of their work.
Relying on the other vessel to update status after arrival. Appears to me to be a part of the problem.
Having forgotten to update ours more than once and particularly as a Ferry we often don’t for short stays. only shut it down at the end of the day.
Integrating the update of status from control console and telegraph to indicate update status FWE(Finished With Engines) automatically to the AIS and ECDIS might be helpful on integrated bridge.
I guess OOW on a regular vessel will just have to remember.

If I could just stop it going mental giving me repeated collision warning because I am passing close by a docked vessel or a tug, Pilot boat ect is approaching overriding information I am actually using would be good.

Stupid rules by desk jockey to cover their ass. Just another reasons why I eventually decided to retire.

What this teaches everyone is to ignore all alarms :roll_eyes:

About 95% of these targets are tied to the dock. If you click the link above it resolves to a chart :wink:

This would result in a CPA of 0 NM, this would give an alarm 7.5 minutes before the forecasted CPA. It wouldn’t be hidden before. The values are arbitrary, I was just wondering if lower values for small boats made sense.

[quote=“yacht_sailor, post:2, topic:69135”]
Also think about area settings[/quote] yes switching settings based on where you are navigating is a must.

Yes relying on other AIS reported status is indeed a problem, one shouldn’t blindly trust it.

Also I agree that collision alerts in a crowded harbor very rarely make sense.

I guess I could convey my questions like so: Do you wish/need some AIS targets were less prominent than others? Do you wish some targets were completely hidden?

This is what I have right now available to me. (note these settings are from home with no AIS data, so they are not what I use underway, just random)

Its sometimes its usefull to see who’s tied to the dock. We just picked up a pilot where the Pilot boat had a class B AIS for some reason. Its nice to see where fishing boats and yachties are going. I think its a matter of target managment over hiding targets.

On an ECDIS like the Wartsillas, im find it most useful to manually aquire targets of interest. Once in the far east I accidentally turned on the setting where it auto aquired everyone with a 2 mile CPA, it wasnt until we left the area after a week that the issue cleared up, theres no way to bulk unaquire. Vectors everywhere. More clutter than a thrift store. That setting does has its place, but its a matter of learning your tools.

The only think id like to go away is Class B AIS transponders on fishing gear. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal as it is, but that’s really the only time I hate my life on watch. I wish someone would make them their own radio location system independent of AIS.

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I am about 100% sure it is illegal. Is the other choice running over fishing gear though?

Easy enough to find, legal or not :frowning:

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As is maritime tradition for centuries, probably. I dont know what they are fishing for/with, but they really leave no option other than to go through it, and fishing gear isnt protected by COLREGS. Id argue its actually a lot less usefull than a lighted buoy in terms of avoidance.

They need their own channel/frequency for this that one can turn on or off as desired on your display.
They used to use radio transmitters in the ham 160 meter band and RDF their way back to find their gear. That wasn’t really legal either, but it was low enough power and far enough away it hardly bothered anyone.

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I guess I could convey my questions like so:

Do you wish/need some AIS targets were less prominent than others?
Short answer. No.
AIS is relatively new, How its displayed is important, I never bothered to look at the original text only.
My ARPA is a much more useful tool. Which is also relatively new to me.
AIS became something I actually bothered to use when bridge equipment started to become integrated, So when AIS info was displayed on ARPA I started to pay attention.
ECDIS also relatively new.
I can overlay ECDIS on ARPA. often I prefer to have separate displays. Sometimes I do use overlay feature, often with reduced display level.
I personally tend not to use AIS or ECDIS for collision avoidance. Which is a bit deceptive since I have AIS info on my ARPA. The ARPA has a radar target as well. The AIS is giving me primarily identification. While the ARPA is giving collision avoidance info.

The point is for collision avoidance I want to see all targets. Suppressing targets is counter productive. I have never chosen to eliminate class B. I don’t want to collide with class B.

My opinions might quite different from the opinions of a younger seafarer. Or one who works primarily offshore.

Until recently, I worked exclusively inshore in Pilotage and VTS area with lots of small vessels depending upon season. From 15 up to 22 knots mostly.
What I really like is accurate identification and the ability to see round corners and know when someone’s ETA at the pass is BS.

My observation both AIS and ARPA have a tendency give a false impression of accuracy both of which can lead to poor choices and reduction of safe margins. In other words instead using the information to be safer. Its often used to reduce CPA or accept reduced CPA.
I probably operate on much closer safety margin than most mariners would accept as normal.

So I am entering busy Harbor or Narrow Channels at quite high speed and passing very close distance from other vessels of many sizes.
So a very long way of saying I want as much info as I can get on all targets. Particularly small ones.
I don’t find the warnings and alarm functions to very useful. Being able to filter them better would be helpful. Also don’t obscure info I am currently using. To display an alarm I already acknowledged and know about.
I think the current minimum setting is 0.1 M and 1 minute.

Do you wish some targets were completely hidden? Absolutely not I want to see everything.

I want to be able to select easily how I see it.
Radar Info in my opinion has a much higher priority than AIS info.
Sometimes I find ECDIS overlay obscures or partially obscure radar targets.
Sometimes particularly in foul weather. Radar overlay can be very helpful.

If anyone who sails or boats in a small vessel AIS is helpful and does make you more visible. And less likely to be lost in the clutter of a poorly tuned and set up radar which has to much clutter applied.

Just my opinion, turning of class B or any other targets is at best foolish. Possibly negligent.

Turning off Alarms. My boss tells me not to.
I personally don’t like them and do not find them useful. Certainly don’t ever rely on alarms.

Every time someone F’s up. VDR gets checked. Alarm settings get checked.

My primary means of collision avoidance, Standard issue eyeball.
Poor Visibility, Radar. ARPA.

AIS, Mhee. It is helpful. Last time I checked still not included in coll regs as a recognized to determine risk of collision.
Good luck trying to explain why your speed was safe. if you couldn’t stop in half the distance you can see because you were using Radar, ARPA or ECDIS or even AIS.

So long as you don’t hit anything you are all good.

42 years. Had a few close calls.

It’s is illegal to intentionally (or with reckless disregard) run over fishing gear, particularly under the laws of certain states. It can also give rise to civil suits. Not to mention being a public relations nightmare.

I always do everything I can reasonably do to avoid fishing gear. It generally isn’t very difficult.

Have some respect for fellow mariners (fishermen) trying to earn a living.

I’m not saying try to rack up a high score, but when you consider the majority of these AIS targets are fishing buoys and not actual vessels, I’m directed to not collide with by law, and given CPA minimums from the master/company for one, and the other is fishing gear that will most likley just slide down the side of the hull with minimum impact.

If its got a light on it, by all means, lets give it some room, but if its unlit or only marked by AIS, and preventing me from keeping a proper look out, thats more shame on the fisherman than on the “offending vessel.” There are no laws that say I must keep the AIS overlay on.