Tuesday, May 26, 2009

AIS and the Nautical Rules of the Road

Photo by Ulf Larsen, on the bridge of the Norwegian coastal vessel MF Bastø II. (found on Wikipedia)

At the Navigation Electronic site PANBO, in the comment threat of this post Class B rollout, looking better, but mysterious the question came up: How is AIS (Automatic Identification System) being integrated into the Nautical rules of the road.

I think both rule 5 and 7 apply.

Rule 5 of the nautical rules of the road reads as follows:
Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.
From Handbook of the Nautial Rules of the Road" Llana & Wisneskey"
Fortunately, mechanical means for maintaining a lookout are available. "Available" to Rule 5 means "shall be used" in appropriate circumstances. Some of these "other means" are listed below:
  • Binoculars
  • Radar
  • VHF bridge-to-bridge radiotelephone
  • Automated radar plotting aids (sometimes called collision avoidance radar)
  • Differential GPS (DGPS) satellite navigation equipment
  • Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) radio transponders
  • Vessel traffic services
  • Navigation and piloting instruments

Rule 7 is
Every vessel shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if risk of collision exists. If there is any doubt, such risk shall be deemed to exist.
The same argument used in rule 5 hold true in rule 7, AIS is a tool that can be used to determine if risk of collision exists.

An important point here is both rules begin the same way: "Every vessel"


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