Virtual AIS Beacon

The new and innovative Virtual AIS Beacon™ addresses the need to make hazards at sea visible when costly physical infrastructure is not appropriate or is impossible to deploy. The producer, Vesper Marine, already has a range of AIS products and this is an excellent innovation that won the 2012 IHS Safety Award in the Equipment category.

It uses Vesper’s AIS Processing Engine technology to offer a completely new product to Port Authorities, Port Companies and organizations with Oil & Gas, Offshore Fishing, Aquaculture or Marina operations.

When a Virtual AIS Beacon is deployed and marking hazards such as a reef or other obstacles, a yacht’s existing onboard AIS is able to alert crew that they are on a collision course with the hazard well before they come in contact with it.

Other uses of the Virtual AIS Beacon include;

* Marking shipping channels, used to ‘join the dots’ between physical buoys to improve shipping lane visibility

* Marking areas where navigation conditions change frequently, including; overhead clearance, ice, water levels, etc

* Marking both visible and invisible hazards, including; bridges, marina/piers, reefs or shellfish beds

* Marking moving hazards such as sand bars to regularly provide changes in location and provide alert warnings
And can even be used to ‘throw up’ temporary cordons around events such as boat race and swim courses or other no-go areas such as hazardous spills, marine protected areas, etc

One of many examples of where the Virtual AIS Beacon can be used is to mark a shipping channel (image above). This might be needed to augment existing physical buoys or to implement a temporary route.

Winning the award:
‘The IHS award from Safety At Sea magazine is a fantastic endorsement of Vesper Marine’s ability to offer innovative products to our customers using AIS technologies,’ said Mike Ogle, general manager of sales & marketing, Vesper Marine. ‘Our Virtual AIS Beacon offers a new way to enhance safety at sea, for vessels, terminals and port authorities while also offering private companies an easy way to mark critical marine based assets.’

The product complies with the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) recommendations. The system is capable of transmitting electronic marks for visible and invisible hazards such as bridges, piers and reefs, as well as moving hazards such as sandbars.

The Virtual AIS Beacon is simple to deploy and easy to maintain, offering a low cost system, especially when it is not suitable or appropriate to deploy a physical marker. A green solution, the markers have no environmental impact and do not require a physical location to be mounted or powered.

Courtesy of

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