What is AIS?

The Universal Shipborne Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a system of transponders installed on vessels which transmit over two dedicated digital marine VHF channels. The data is sent from each vessel every few seconds and contains position and movement information such as course, speed, latitude, longitude, and rate of turn. Static information about the vessel is sent every few minutes and includes the name, type of ship, length, beam, draft, etc. Nearly all commercial ships are mandated to carry AIS transponders and each year more yachts, launches and work boats are fitting AIS equipment.

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