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AIS On Your Wrist

Keep up your guard against colliding with other vessels with a new wearable AIS system.

AIS may not be the most important marine electronic device you'll own — until it is. In the predawn and post-sunset hours, or in fog, when human eyesight is pushed to its limits, radar lets you know where the other vessels are, but AIS tells the big boys where you are on the water, which can be a lifesaver.

And, unlike radar, AIS "sees around things," so it can tip you off to a vessel you want to steer clear of that's out of sight behind a point of land or other obstruction.

Typically mounted on the dashboard amid the array of marine electronics, AIS technology has more recently surfaced on smartphones and tablets. Now Vesper Marine has introduced a new innovation in AIS portability — the deckWatch smartwatch app.

"When reaction time is measured in seconds, you need immediate information to make a proper response," said Jeff Robbins, CEO, Vesper Marine. "Vesper Marine's deckWatch is built specifically for Android Wear 2 devices that run standalone apps without needing to be paired to a smartphone. With deckWatch there is no need to go to the nav station or, in rough sea conditions, carry a smartphone or tablet. When you hear an audible alarm from a WatchMate Vision or XB-8000 smartAIS you can glance at your watch to instantly see the alert and react right away. It is a constant companion wherever you are onboard with instant access to critical information concerning the safety of your vessel and crew."

No word yet on Apple compatibility, but since the company dominats the 20 million or so smartwatches sold annually in the U.S., assume Vesper is working on that. For now, the deckWatch app is currently available for all watches with the Android Wear 2 OS as a free download from the Google Play store.

Rich Armstrong

The New Jersey shore and lakes of lower New York defined Rich's childhood. But when he bought a 21-foot Four Winns deck boat and introduced his young family to the Connecticut River, his love for the world of boats flourished over the years from there. A journalist by training, he worked in TV news and at several newspapers before combining his passions for 18 years at the boating publications Soundings and Soundings Trade Only, where as Managing Editor he reported on everything from boat and product innovation, to compelling feature stories, and built his reputation in the marine industry as one of the most thorough reporters in our business.