What is the AIS

AIS, or Automatic Identification System as it is formally referred to is defined as an automated system for the tracking of ships and other vessels to avoid collisions. The AIS is found on ships and used by Vessel Traffic Services to help them identity vessels at sea. There are numerous features of an AIS and it is advised that you seek assistance from a professional consultancy that are specialized in maritime law and associated aspects.

For more information on the AIS and associated vessel safety aspects, use our Yacht Guide.

How the AIS works

The Automated Identification System or AIS is an important tracking system used by ships and by other vessel trafficking services to locate other vessels in order to avoid collisions. The way AIS operates is through the exchange of data with other nearby located vessels in an electronic format.

The data transferred electronically between vessel AIS’s include vessel speed, route and current positioning. The AIS not only acts as an effective method of anti collision on the water but it also allows for maritime authorities to track and monitor vessels on the water.

AIS’s are used on all passenger carrying vessels irrespective of the size of the vessel in order to heighten safety on the water. As stipulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), AIS’s must also be fitted on vessels of 300 gross tonnages.