ACR Electronics, the Fort Lauderdale-based beacon maker, was advising vessel operators who will be required to carry AIS transponders come March to buy and install the safety gear early and avoid the rush to comply.
There will be a big push at the last minute for AIS products and for technicians to install the Class A devices, ACR marketing director Mikele D’Arcangelo said.
Commercial self-propelled vessels 65 feet or larger, towing vessels 26 feet or larger, vessels certified to carry more than 150 passengers, dredges operating near shipping channels and vessels carrying hazardous materials must comply with the new Coast Guard requirement.
“If you own a boat 65 feet or larger and you charter it out, you’ll be required to have AIS,” D‘Arcangelo said.
AIS is a VHF-based tracking system that enables vessels to identify, locate and communicate with each other electronically to avoid collisions.
ACR has set up a website, www.AISmandate.com, to guide mariners through the regulation.
“We had a hard time figuring out the regulation, so we knew our customers would, too,” he said.