ALERT2 Man-Overboard Alarm System™ versus AIS

There is a lot of hype about an AIS (Automatic Identification System) device as being the solution of a Man-Overboard Alarm device. The truth is, an AIS device is not necessarily the best solution for a Man-Overboard (MOB) situation because of the lag-time associated with its technology. The ALERT2 Man-Overboard System is all about knowing a MOB has occurred in seconds, the greatest chance of rescue is from the vessel the MOB fell from. Here are the differences:
EventALERT2 Man-Overboard Alarm SystemAIS
Fall Overboard (event)Upon immersion the MOB wonders what the heck happened.Upon immersion the MOB wonders what the heck happened.
MOB comes up for air (+10 sec.)Luckily MOB is coherent and now above the waves. MOB looking at surroundings trying to get barrings. At this point the ALERT2 is already transmitting to ALERT2 Receiver.Luckily MOB is alert and now above the waves. MOB looking at surroundings trying to get barrings. Hopefully not panicked, MOB needs to remember how to activate AIS.
What is happening on vessel? (+20 sec.)ALERT2 Receiver howls and crew take action to search for MOB. If the boat has ALERT2 Receiver wired for engine kill, the boat has stopped moving.If MOB is successful, AIS is turned on. If first attempt fails, other manual activation may be required. Once activated AIS searches for GPS coordinates.
Search & Rescue (+30 sec.)Crew on vessel are looking for a visual of MOB. Once sighted, a crew member will lock-on to MOB as others begin rescue.Once GPS coordinates are located, the transmission to AIS-enabled receiver receives broadcast. Furthermore, the AIS icon may appear on the chart plotter as a vessel, not a MOB – so crew may still not be aware of person overboard.
1 minute has passedVessel traveling 6 knots has separated 600 feet from MOB! ALERT2 MOB has either been sighted or ALERT2 Portable Direction Finder is able to home in on signal.Because of lag-time, MOB will probably no longer be in sight. All rescue will be dependent on following GPS coordinates.
3 minutes have passedWith transmission of alarm automatic, evasive action has commenced and rescue is well on way.In reality rescue is probably just beginning.

Check out the ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm Products.

The ALERT Man-Overboard Alarm System is made up of:


The Value of ALERT2 Man-Overboard Alarm System

  • 30% of all marine fatalities on United States Coastal Waters were from a fall overboard*
  • #1 reason for a fall overboard was trip/slip, #2 reason was lost balance, and #3 is unknown*
  • Most fatalities could have been prevented if two actions occurred: 1. victim wore a Personal Flotation Device and 2. Crew were aware the victim fell overboard

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Though AIS Is Required, It May Not Be the Best Solution for Your Safety

The ruling, “Vessel Requirements for Notices of Arrival and Departure and Automatic Identification System”  becomes effective March 2. However, you have until March 1, 2016 to install the AIS.

AIS or Automatic Identification System is now required on all vessels 65 feet or longer. Primarily for the benefit of being able to identify boats in the area, AIS has also been touted as a life-saving technology with fall-overboard (FOB) awareness and location of person who fell overboard using GPS technology embedded in the AIS device. However, the truth is that AIS is not the best solution for FOB awareness or for that matter, the location of the person who fell overboard.

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