What is AIS?
AIS is the Automatic Identification System. Vessels in high-traffic areas such as ports take turns identifying themselves and their intentions, all automatically under control of a Station Master on the shore. Information about these vessels is displayed on electronic chart displays and resembles radar, but with the benefit of course and speed data for each AIS contact.
AIS allows users to "see" around obstacles such as islands and points of land.
AIS also allows the insertion of virtual aids to navigation (ATONs) on your chart. The Station Master can reconfigure channels for emergencies or to fill in missing aids.
USPS offers The Boatowner's Guide to GMDSS and Marine Radio, a USPS guide to the application and use of GMDSS systems. This text is written for the recreational boater and is available through International Marine / McGraw-Hill publishers