The results of the latest RYA survey are in, and they show an increasing use of AIS equipment on leisure boats

AIS equipment is becoming increasingly popular according to the latest survey of RYA members, which suggests that around 70% of boatowners use this technology.

More than 1,200 boaters replied to the survey, with 37% saying that they both transmit and receive AIS signals, while 33% receive AIS only.

The RYA admits that this figure may be slightly inflated, as those who do not use AIS are less likely to respond to a survey about this burgeoning form of boating technology.

In terms of equipment, 43% said they use a Class B transponder, while Class A was used by just 10% of respondents.

Meanwhile live website feeds, mobile and tablet apps were used by 3% of those surveyed to receive AIS data.

Reasons for not using AIS varied from cost and lack of power on board to those who simply didn’t want to have their movements monitored.

And while some argued that their local vicinity was too quiet for AIS to be necessary, others claimed that that sheer volume of vessels using AIS in their area rendered their B-Class system useless.

AIS, which stands for Automatic Identification System, allows maritime authorities to track and monitor vessel movements, leading to a reduced chance of collisions at sea.

Under International Maritime Organisation conventions, AIS is mandatory for international voyaging ships that weigh more than 300 tonnes.

An RYA statement accompanying the results concluded: “We already know that UK-wide data analysis of recreational vessels transmitting AIS signals has increased by over 30% each year from 2011 to 2013 and there’s no evidence to show that these figures will not continue to rise.”