New legislation affecting AIS electronic safety devices will make existing AIS MOBs non-compliant to use in the waters of a number of European countries.
The legislation – first introduced in 2022 – will come into effect on January 1 2025 and will mean only Class-M digital selective calling (DSC) man over-board (MOB) devices and mobile aids to navigation will be able to use AIS Channels 1 and 2.
The regulation applies to all devices that are not part of or fitted to a vessel – known as ARMRDs.
Instead, these devices will have to be phased out of use or moved to Channel 2006, however this channel is not monitored.
“The regulation is designed to protect AIS from being overloaded with irrelevant off-ship devices such as fishing net markers,” explained Sean McCrystal, marketing director, Wescom Group.
“The legislation is relevant to all 46 countries in the Electronics Communications Committee (ECC) but adoption is managed at a national level.”
So far only four countries have adopted the legislation – Germany, Italy, Belgium and Denmark – with further national implementations under review.
“Across Europe, regulatory authorities want to clear up and improve the efficiency of AIS Channels 1 and 2, removing irrelevant traffic that can impact the navigation or collision avoidance effectiveness of AIS,” added Sean.
“They also want to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of AMRD such as AIS MOBs.”
The ECC is currently reviewing whether personal locator beacons (PLBs) with AIS are captured by the regulation.