Category Archives: AIS

Free GPS tracking nautical app for Android: Oruxmaps Blue

The best free GPS tracking app for Android that we are aware of, OruxMaps, is currently preparing the launch of a new nautical version, that works with AIS

As you can read in this forum post there is a new version of OruxMaps that is focused on sailing requirements.

It has a list of on-line maps (OpenSea maps) and you can load your own, as explained in this manual.

Plus you can convert the on-line maps into off-line.

The most interesting part is that it decodes the AIS NMEA sentences that can be received via IP, USB or Bluetooth.

Oruxmaps Android App to decode AIS

Oruxmaps Android App to decode AIS

We are sure that this program will become a reference in the category of nautical mobile apps, since it has already become the best free app for trekking.

AIS targets displayed on Oruxmaps Android app

AIS targets displayed on Oruxmaps Android app

We are currently testing this app, that is currently in beta if you would like to get in touch with us please make use of the comments section below.

Silent mode for AIS transponder

Is it possible to turn off an AIS transponder emission and use it just as a receiver?

Yes, it is possible, our new AIS class A and AIS class B transponders incorporate this feature. Just get in touch with us and we will advice you on the best model, or check out our on-line store:

Buy AIS receiver and AIS transponder

Buy your marine electronics equipment in the on-line shop selling AIS receivers and AIS transponders

Change MMSI and yacht name in AIS transponder

<h3>If you change the name or MMSI of your boat, or you acquire an AIS transponder from someone else, you will have to reprogram the transponder with the new data</h3>

The AIS system is based on confidence and accuracy. Data provided by the vessels using this system has to be accurate. Therefore, it is not possible to carry an AIS transponder with the wrong information. You may put at risk your safety and other ships’ safety as well, disregarding that you may be breaching the law.

We can reprogram your TrueHeading transponder, just get in touch with us and send us the new data that you need to be put in the AIS equipment:

- Name
- Type of vessel (pleasure craft or sailing vessel)
- Call sign
- Dimensions of ship – to nearest meter
- Location of positioning system’s (e.g., GPS) antenna on board the vessel – in meters aft of bow and meters port or starboard

(this is the standard static data for AIS class B transmission)

We hope this information was useful. Please get in touch with us if you have a further interest on this matter.

All is Lost, Robert Redford’s movie or how to save your life on a boat

How would everything have happened if the skipper (the actor Robert Redford) had taken the best-in-breed measures to avoid the problems he found himself drawn into

I have just watched All is Lost (2013), the latest film from Robert Redford.

It is amazing how a simple accident that really could happen to anybody while sailing, can turn into a dreadful experience. In this case, the context was harder since the sailor Robert Redford was during a solo (singlehanded) navigation. But I believe that the initial problem, crashing with a floating container lost in the middle of the sea, is something that can happen also with a crew, but under low visibility conditions such as night navigation or under a storm.

All is Lost - 203 movie by Robert Redford

All is Lost, movie about a sailor that breaks into a container and has to fight for survival

What strikes me most is how vulnerable this sailor is when the little accident takes place. The radio stops working, and you wonder if there is no simple solution to it like carrying a simple handy vhf radio that is water resistant. Well, everything should be water resistant in a Yacht, shouldn’t it.

Also, I don’t understand why he is not carrying a Distress RadioBeacon. This is a very simple piece of equipment that as soon as taken out of its craddle, it will start transmitting. In many countries, this is a compulsory equipment for the yacht that is in open seas.

Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon

Distress Radio Beacon – Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon

They are making a very little favour to those people who are navigating seriously. I mean, after watching this movie, somebody who is not knowledgeable or experienced in the matter could think that sailing is an extremely risky activity to undertake. And it is not true. It is risky, but not that risky. Moreover when you are taking the measures to minimize risk, and when you are equipped to face these types of situations, they should have an easy solution.

Equipment I recommend to the All is Lost captain:

- Handy VHF radio
- Distress Radio Beacon
- AIS transmitter and AIS Beacon

Also, next time, please do notify your friends and family about your plans, if you spend 8 days in open seas they would search for you. You can use a GPS satellite tracking solution such as AtPosition to let the people know the position of your yacht, or even Spot.

Even the first problem of the collision with the container could be solved with a navigation radar system programmed with an alarm while the sailor is sleeping.

iPhone, iPad and Android apps to receive AIS info via WIFI

If you are looking for applications that you can use in your mobile or tablet in order to see AIS data coming from your installed transponder,

With the Vesper XB-8000 AIS transponder here is the official Vesper list of compatible applications:


There is also this good article explaining how it works

Lastly, if you want to see how simple it is to configure the iNavX app with this transponder, nothing better than watching this short video:

Share maritime traffic data with your AIS base station

AIS information is shared among many users that have built a pretty good global coverage of the coastal maritime traffic in real-time

In order to share, normally you just need to have your own base station:

In order to have your base station, we recommend using a simple but powerful AIS receiver with USB port, that will allow you to simply plug it to your computer using the USB port, and plot the AIS messages in any of these free AIS decoder programs.

As additional software, you would need a basic VHF antenna that you will have to secure in a place with good visibility towards the coastline that you would like to cover.

These are some of such networks that will accept your feed:

Good luck! and enjoy sharing your AIS data!

How to decode AIS sentences !AVDM !AVDO

So you would like to decode NMEA AIS sentences of the type !AVDM and !AVDO


The best thing is to use one of the free available programs to decode AIS messages we listed here.

But if you want to do this on-line, you have some on-line tools where you can paste the messages that you would like to decode. These are NMEA 0183 messages:

And if you would like to dig in further and build your own decoder, there is available information here:

AIS receiver (AIS decoder hardware) Simple to install and connect with a USB cable

AIS decoder hardware. Simple to install and connect with a USB cable