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So, we got an MMSI from the federales, allowing us to DSC others and others to DSC us.  In addition, we will broadcast and receive AIS information.

In other words, Bright Water has a unique Maritime Marine Service Identity, like a phone number.  The number is unique in all the world.

With the new VHF (Very High Frequency) radios, we can now call and receive calls from other boats and boaters using DSC (Digital Selective Calling).  A DSC call makes the specific receiving radio ring like a phone, instead of being hailed on an open channel.  The conversation is mostly open, but can be on a usually un-used channel, so privacy is enhanced.  Also, the called party is more likely to answer the call, especially if they were talking/listening on a less-used channel.

Also, if we choose, our boat will continuously broadcast our position, direction, and speed, as will other participating boats.  The AIS (Automatic Identification System) will then automatically calculate dangerous crossing situations and alert us if a collision is imminent.  We can also make the AIS silent if we need to smuggle drugs or participate in some sort of religious extremism.

You can use this information by going to http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/ and typing “Bright Water” into the ship’s name box.  You’ll see where we are in the world, unless, like now, we’ve gone dark or are possibly participating in some sort of religious extremism.

You can track any other ship, as well.  It’s fun!  AIS brings the privacy-destroying power of the internet to the open sea!  Woot!

Years ago, you may remember that the head of the FAA said that the FAA didn’t have the competence required to administer the technology needed.   He was talking about implementing AIS in commercial aviation, saving billions of dollars and cutting back on air traffic control.  AIS was developed by some guys to do  some stuff, but wildly expanded after 911.  Now, in the USA, if you’re a big ship that shows up on RADAR, but not on AIS, they just launch a cruise missile.  Sometimes two.