The system is mandatory on ships of over 300 tonnes, all passenger vessels, and in all EU fishing vessels of more than 16 metres length, with a few notable exceptions such as military and border patrol vessels. Initially ships were often fitted with only a basic text display for AIS data, although most now have an AIS overlay on radar and plotter screens. There’s no requirement for pleasure craft to fit the system (unless competing in ISAF Category 2 offshore races, such as the Rolex Fastnet Race), however vessels may benefit from fitting a receive only system, or a combined transmitter/receiver.
A fantastic and cost effective safety option for small craft to be identifiable to all vessels fitted with AIS.
AIS SART used to locate a distressed vessel at sea...