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Boat Gear: AIS collision avoidance in your pocket

by Fiona Harper

Smartphone Apps are becoming more useful. So much so that it’s becoming harder to imagine doing anything without the ubiquitous smartphone. I was at a digital media seminar recently which re-enforced just how much we have come to rely on these gadgets.  Apps are the key to their usefulness and an increasing number of marine Apps are of particular use to boat owners.

Like any medium, there are good Apps and there are rubbish ones. Unfortunately it is difficult to tell which camp an App falls into without actually downloading it and trying it for yourself. Though user Reviews do assist in working out whether you’re wasting your time or not. Boat Beacon from Pocket mariner is definitely one of the better ones.

Boat Beacon app

Boat Beacon offers Marine AIS Navigation for iPhones or Android Smartphones for the princely sum of USD9.99. Used in conjunction with other navigation equipment onboard, Boat Beacon is a simple and affordable AIS-based anti-collision detection system. Though nothing works better for avoiding a collision than keeping a constant visual watch, Boat Beacon is a worthy support system for verifying what you are actually seeing with your own eyes.

Functions like bearing, range and closest point of approach calculations take the guesswork out of potential collision situations, with up to the second feeds in real time. But perhaps Boat Beacon’s best asset is its portability. Chart plotters and radars that host AIS systems are often housed (particularly on sailing yachts) down below where it’s nice and dry, which also means they’re not readily visible to a helmsman. We rarely move without patting our pockets to check that our phone is coming with us. In the cockpit of a boat, an iphone provides a conveniently portable navigational device. Assuming it’s not pouring with rain or conditions are unsavoury. It will be a terrific day when a smartphone is actually waterproof.

But in the interim, invest in a waterproof drysack for your phone and take Boat Beacon out on the water  with you next time and put it through its paces. Boat Beacon is available for iPhone and Android


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Jofrey Miranda December 6, 2016 - 7:16 am

Dear Fiona,
We are looking for a system like this one, please let me know how we are in contact with it.

Best regards,

Jofrey Miranda

Fiona Harper December 7, 2016 - 8:20 am

Hi Jofrey
If you email Kevin Doel he should be able to help you kevin@talonpr.com

Adrian Carroll April 1, 2013 - 11:36 am

Members of Coast Guard Mooloolaba and Tin Can Bay, can use Boat Beacon automatically log on/off the Sea-Watch log.

Fiona Harper April 1, 2013 - 11:47 am

Nice one Adrian – thanks for letting boaties know of this facility

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