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Author Topic:   More Fun with AIS
jimh posted 04-17-2012 09:13 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
The shipping season on the Great Lakes has resumed for 2012, so there are plenty of AIS targets in range for me again. Yesterday was an interesting afternoon on the river. The wind was from the Southwest and very strong, about 30-knots, and running against the current. The Detroit River wave conditions were very ugly, with a steep four-foot to six-foot wave pattern. I saw no small boats on the river.

I did monitor the meeting of the upbound SAM LAUD and downbound SPRUCEGLEN. The two passed close aboard in the Fleming Channel and just abeam of Coast Guard Station Belle Isle. The closing speed was 19.8-knots, or almost 23-MPH. From the AIS data it appears the distance between the two big boats was less than 300-feet. See the screen shots below:

Screen shot from PolarViewNS
Two vessels approaching in the Detroit River as seen via AIS. The display software, POLARVIEW NS, projects each vessel's courseline forward for an equal amount of time, suggesting where the meet will occur.

Screen shot from POLARVIEW NS
The meeting occurs just as predicted. The SPRUCEGLEN is hugging the edge of the channel, while the SAM LAUD bears off just slightly to Starboard.

jimh posted 04-17-2012 09:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For more information on the equipment used for my portable AIS system, see

Jefecinco posted 04-17-2012 10:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
AIS is clearly an excellent addition to our navigation arsenal. I may have to invest in a receiver even though I do only a small percentage of my boating in areas of commercial boating or shipping.

One dangerous situation avoided makes the cost seem very small.


jimh posted 04-28-2012 09:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am having even more AIS-fun with the traffic on the Detroit River increasing. On April 23 it was another very windy afternoon, but this time the wind was blowing across the river, so the wave action was limited. The downbound laker ALGOMA MONTREALAIS met the upbound ROGER BLOUGH right in front of the Del Ray boat launch ramp, where I happened to be waiting for them with my camera and AIS receiver. Here is what I saw.

On my AIS chart plotter display, the meeting looked like this:

Screen capture of POLARVIEW NS chart plotter display.

And from my vantage point on the shoreline, it looked like this:

Photo: ALGOMA MONTREALAIS meeting ROGER BLOUGH in Detroit River, April 23, 2102

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