On March 2, 2018, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Juneau released a statement alerting boaters that the Navigation Center (NAVCEN) have observed many violations of the regulations surrounding the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and will begin to issue penalties to vessels found to have inaccurate AIS information. The Coast Guard has determined that correct AIS information is crucial and that the broadcast of incorrect AIS data is a navigation hazard that could lead to accidents, the likelihood of which increases as waters become more crowded. To protect smaller boats from being struck by larger vessels, the Coast Guard is stepping up enforcement.
In order to help comply with AIS requirements, NAVCEN operates the Vessel Information Verification Service (VIVS) at navcen.uscg.gov/vivs. VIVS is a self-help web app boaters can use to validate their AIS information. Performing a similar function is the AIS Encoding Guide, which can be found online at navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/AIS/AISGuide.pdf. To see current AIS discrepancies, go to navcen.uscg.gov/aisSearch/ and enter your vessel’s information. If there is a problem, the NAVCEN AIS search tool will show a red YES under errors. The tool will show you the error if you check the box next to view and double click on the view tab. Common sources of AIS error are incomplete length or measurement data, a recently updated FCC Station License, having multiple Maritime Mobile Service Identity numbers, or formatting errors.
The Coast Guard suggests you check your AIS settings before getting on the water. If any discrepancies are detected, you will receive a letter from the Sector Juneau and possible civil penalties. If you receive one of these letters and update your AIS, be sure to contact the Coast Guard and alert them.