Phone APP - On course

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  • Mo
    Afourian MVP
    • Jun 2007
    • 4519

    Phone APP - On course

    There is a phone app out there called " OnCourse-boating and sailing". It is parented by " Marine Traffic" , perhaps the best ship tracking in the world.

    The app is free and once you are signed up and registered you can have your boat tracked as long as you are in cellular range. By tracked I mean ' YOU BOAT SHOWS UP ON AIS LIKE A TRANSPONDER". That just amazes me.

    I have a boat next to me on the marina and I see him all the time on my AIS when he's out. I asked when he got an AIS transponder and he says he didn't. He uses this app called " On course". You register, you register your boat in there, location on for the phone and viola, YOUR BOAT IS VISABLE.

    For those of us operating in busy ports this is absolutely amazing...no need to drop $1000 on a transponder package....it's free. Just this past winter threw down to put an AIS transponder on my boat. This app provides a level of safety and visibility to other ships and boats with and AIS receiver within cellular range without the expense of having an AIS tranceiver or transponder. It works from the phone. What's more, you see them on your phone display as well. OK, they finally baffled me.

    Play safe out there.
    Last edited by Mo; 08-25-2021, 01:23 PM.
    Mo

    "Odyssey"
    1976 C&C 30 MKI

    The pessimist complains about the wind.
    The optimist expects it to change.
    The realist adjusts the sails.
    ...Sir William Arthur Ward.
  • joe_db
    Afourian MVP
    • May 2009
    • 4535

    #2
    Originally posted by Mo View Post
    There is a phone app out there called " OnCourse-boating and sailing". It is parented by " Marine Traffic" , perhaps the best ship tracking in the world.

    The app is free and once you are signed up and registered you can have your boat tracked as long as you are in cellular range. By tracked I mean ' YOU BOAT SHOWS UP ON AIS LIKE A TRANSPONDER". That just amazes me.

    I have a boat next to me on the marina and I see him all the time on my AIS when he's out. I asked when he got an AIS transponder and he says he didn't. He uses this app called " On course". You register, you register your boat in there, location on for the phone and viola, YOUR BOAT IS VISABLE.

    For those of us operating in busy ports this is absolutely amazing...no need to drop $1000 on a transponder package....it's free. Just this past winter threw down to put an AIS transponder on my boat. This app provides a level of safety and visibility to other ships and boats with and AIS receiver within cellular range without the expense of having an AIS tranceiver or transponder. It works from the phone. What's more, you see them on your phone display as well. OK, they finally baffled me.

    Play safe out there.
    That is a really old idea - I had something like that many years ago.
    WARNING
    This is not even close to being good enough to use like a real onboard AIS. The traffic you see has to be able to get a signal one way or the other to the server and then back to you and vice versa. There is a time lag involved!

    Not only that, but boats that are not being picked up by the shoreside monitor stations that feed this system and/or have cell phone apps themselves are totally invisible to you. You are totally invisible to AIS users who also don't have cell phone apps. I run one of these shore stations to feed the system, I know how the back end of this all works. If you were headed up the Chester in the fog, you would not see me once I got out of range of my house, which is most of the river, and I would never see you.
    Joe Della Barba
    Coquina
    C&C 35 MK I
    Maryland USA

    Comment

    • Mo
      Afourian MVP
      • Jun 2007
      • 4519

      #3
      I have an AIS transponder. I see these guys and so do the ships. If you don't have AIS this is indeed an option. Marine Traffic didn't put this out because it wasn't of use to them and major commercial shipping. I'm sure the day will come when the VHF has a built in transponder at the cost of what we call a normal radio today.

      Halifax harbour is 18 nautical miles from one end to the other with full cell coverage from every provider. The approaches have cell coverage as well. I was thinking that a lot of people put a class B transponder on their boat when they didn't. Everyone can see them out there though.

      As for the time lag, there is a setting thing on the app. The shortest time is 1 minute. One also has to activate the app when on the water as well. Of course, where there is major shipping and numerous small craft around it is an option. Major Shipping is paying for this, no doubt in my mind because the more traffic info they have the better they can protect their own interests.

      Joe, Agree with you 100 percent on the limitations of it once out of cell range and of course the proper use by the boat operator. But again, I think it's better than nothing...I see these guys all the time.

      A month back, when I headed up the Eastern Shore to the Bra Dor Lakes my oldest son registered with Marine Traffic to track Odyssey and her Class B SOTDMA. I think he paid 10 bucks or something and signed the boat in as his fleet. He had access to Odyssey, course, speed, etc although he'd call me on the cell later in the day to ask where we would make it to that night. Then he'd check if the boat was there.

      There were lots of areas both in the Bra Dor Lakes and along the Eastern Shore of NS where there was no cell coverage and the cell app wouldn't have worked there at all.
      Last edited by Mo; 08-26-2021, 06:39 AM.
      Mo

      "Odyssey"
      1976 C&C 30 MKI

      The pessimist complains about the wind.
      The optimist expects it to change.
      The realist adjusts the sails.
      ...Sir William Arthur Ward.

      Comment

      • joe_db
        Afourian MVP
        • May 2009
        • 4535

        #4


        This link is my shore station.

        I haven't got it set up yet, but there is a way to go the other direction and if I link my phone to my AIS, I can feed what I see underway back to Marine Traffic.
        Joe Della Barba
        Coquina
        C&C 35 MK I
        Maryland USA

        Comment

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