• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Does anyone here use AIS on their Lowrance chart plotter?

Jan 10, 2012
47
Nordic 40 Harpswell
I have a Lowrance HDS Gen 2 with 3G Broadband radar which has worked well over the past 7 years. I have a separate stand-alone Vesper Watchmate AIS which we also love. I am hoping to add AIS overlay to the Lowrance now that we’re back in foggy Maine. The simplest way appears to be buying an AIS-equipped VHF such as Standard Horizon GX2400 and tying it into the Lowrance NMEA2000 backbone. Before I do this, does anyone use AIS on their Lowrance plotter? I‘d just like to confirm that it works well.

Hope everyone stays well during tomorrow’s blow for some of us.

Thanks, Max
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,710
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
I’ve used such a setup and it worked well for me. If your Vesper Watchmate has an NMEA output, you can use that to feed AIS signals to your Lowrance without changing your VHF.
If you do get a new VHF, I recommend you look for one that also has a hailer/foghorn output, and add a horn speaker below your radar antenna. The Standard Horizon GX2200 or GX2400 for example.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,735
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Most, if not all, AIS enabled VHFs are receive only. The AIS output can be fed into the NMEA 2000 network which should allow the chartplotter to display AIS targets.

It is as important to see who is around you as it is for those around you to see you. An AIS transponder, like the Vesper XB8000. If your current AIS is a receive only unit, consider upgrading. This also allows shore based friends and family to locate your boat on sites like MarineTraffic.com.

Edit: Check the manual for your Chartplotter. It probably accepts and displays AIS, but there is a chance it may not. The Lowrance units are geared towards fishing and may not have all the features that the Navico sister units from Simrad and B&G do.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,807
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
I have the Vesper XB8000 and it provides AIS data to my SeatalkNG backbone. It depends on which of the Vesper units you bought

Your Lowrance HDS Gen 2 manual says it supports the AIS NMEA data stream elements, so yes if the Vesper unit you bought is one that outputs AIS data to your NMEA 2000 backbone and you connect it to the backbone you should be able to see AIS transmissions on your display.
 
Jan 10, 2012
47
Nordic 40 Harpswell
Thanks all. My Vesper Watchmate transmits as well as recieves - I don’t think my wife would sail with me if it didn’t :)
But it‘s an older model and doesn’t have an NMEA output (at least not a plug and play outlet and I don’t want to mess with the tiny wires). The HDS does accept AIS data - I just wanted to make sure it worked reasonably well which sounds like it does for LarryDH.

I remember communicating with Larry, Todd and others back around 2013 when several of us had or were getting the Lowrance setup.

At this point I might wait for the Newport Boat Show to see if there are any specials or new developments, but otherwise will stick with the plan outlined above which doesn’t break the bank and doesn’t force us to learn entirely new systems. I’ll consider the hailer as well.

Max
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,807
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Max.
I bought the SH GX2200. It has preformed as expected. The Fog/PA Hailer is a great help. Like you we get the occasional low flying cloud formations. It is a set and let it do it's thing. No "Ah Gee, my arm is getting tired from ringing this bell. Can I quit now....." from the crew.
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,608
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
..........I am hoping to add AIS overlay to the Lowrance now that we’re back in foggy Maine. The simplest way appears to be buying an AIS-equipped VHF such as Standard Horizon GX2400 and tying it into the Lowrance NMEA2000 backbone. Before I do this, does anyone use AIS on their Lowrance plotter? I‘d just like to confirm that it works well...........
I installed a Standard Horizon GX2400 Matrix VHF radio with AIS, GPS and hailer and tied its AIS signal into NMEA2000 then to the Raymarine E120 and E80 navigation display at the helm and navigation station, respectively. Works very well.
 
Jan 10, 2012
47
Nordic 40 Harpswell
I forgot to mention, but a secondary benefit for me to get a new VHF with built-in AIS is placing a call to an AIS target should be simpler. At present we have to manually enter the MMSI number into our VHF if we want to talk to someone with whom we are on a close approach. The SH GX2400 simplifies the process as best I can tell from their documentatio.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,807
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
a secondary benefit for me to get a new VHF
I like your thinking.... and yes the calling out is simplified. Unfortunately it is not always answered. That can frustrate the new user. I try and if not acknowledged (likely because they are not paying attention) Blow an air horn. Then try again. Generally works on the smaller targets...
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,735
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
When a large commercial ship is hailed using DSC they will generally answer because all the DSC calls are logged. If there is an issue and a call came in and wasn't answered that will show up in the ship's log. Not good for the captain. Also hailing the ship by name rather "that big ship over there" generally gets a response. AIS and a VHF with AIS can do both of those.
 
  • Like
Likes: jssailem
Jan 10, 2012
47
Nordic 40 Harpswell
We‘ve seldom been ignored by the big ships we’ve encountered, and called on VHF. They are virtually always friendly and professional, and confirm that they “see” us.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,807
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
You obviously have not encountered a BC ferry captain in the clear. Now if visibility is bad they are the most professional.
 
Jan 21, 2014
18
hunter 356 malta
I have a Lowrance HDS Gen 2 with 3G Broadband radar which has worked well over the past 7 years. I have a separate stand-alone Vesper Watchmate AIS which we also love. I am hoping to add AIS overlay to the Lowrance now that we’re back in foggy Maine. The simplest way appears to be buying an AIS-equipped VHF such as Standard Horizon GX2400 and tying it into the Lowrance NMEA2000 backbone. Before I do this, does anyone use AIS on their Lowrance plotter? I‘d just like to confirm that it works well.

Hope everyone stays well during tomorrow’s blow for some of us.

Thanks, Max
For many years I used a lowrance AIS recieve equipped radio to feed into my lowrance Elite 7. I do recall struggling with the wiring but once it's up and running it's fine.