When out on the water, even mariners with lots of familiarity with the local area should use tools to ensure the safety of their vessels. Tides, storms, and the natural daily movement of the water can create drastic changes in depth that could threaten a vessel if a mariner is unaware of the change.
Thankfully, modern technology makes it easy to get real-time information about what lies beneath the surface, whether you’re looking for fish or just trying to avoid that sandbar near your marina that always seems to shift. Two tools mariners need for safety are chartplotters and a marine transponder.
Chartplotters like the Seiwa Marlin 15 are great additions to any well-equipped dash. These devices partner with trusted marine map-makers like C-MAP to provide trustworthy information about depths, tides, and currents to help you plot a safe course for your day out on the water. This information allows the Marlin 15 to alert you if any part of your planned course goes through an area too shallow for your boat to navigate without running aground thanks to depth graphs and anti-grounding features.
A marine transponder is an important piece of safety equipment, especially for those navigating large or heavily trafficked bodies of water. When paired with chart plotters and automatic identification system-enabled radar, AIS for short, transponders make your vessel visible to any other AIS-enabled vessel and to coastal monitoring stations within range of VHF.
The same equipment that transmits the signal for your vessels helps pick up the signals of others, which can help prevent collisions. AIS-equipped chart plotters and navigation tools make it possible to “see” other vessels in your area, even when weather conditions or other obstacles block them from view. AIS can be especially helpful since vessels behind other things won’t show up on radar, since the thing in front of them hides them on radar.
Whether you’re a maritime professional or someone who takes their leisure time out on the water, making sure your vessel is equipped with the proper navigation equipment like a marine transponder and a chartplotter is important to being a responsible mariner.