What is Thames AIS?
Thames AIS was introduced in 2007 as a key navigational safety tool to improve the situational awareness of vessels navigating on the River Thames and to provide additional safety critical information to London VTS.
Thames AIS consists of a class ‘A’ transponder with, for certain categories of vessel, additional elements including a geographic display unit and the ability to transmit the number of passengers and crew onboard.
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The main aim of Thames AIS is to provide the crew of vessels navigating on the River Thames with enhanced situational awareness of the presence and intentions of other vessels navigating in the area. This is of particular benefit in the more constrained areas of Central London where visibility is often obscured by bridges and other obstructions. Elsewhere on the River, Thames AIS ensures that the majority of commercial craft are visible to each other through the presence of an AIS signal thereby increasing navigational safety.
The carriage of Thames AIS is mandatory for certain categories of vessel under PLA Byelaw 12, in summary:
The following categories of vessel must carry Thames AIS if they intend to navigate between Denton and Richmond Lock:
- Class IV, V and VI passenger vessels.
The following categories of vessel must carry Thames AIS if they intend to navigate between Margaretness and Richmond Lock:
- Vessels of more than 40m in length overall
- Vessels having a gross tonnage of over 50 tons
- Vessels engaged in towing or pushing operations
- Specified vessels or vessels carrying marine pollutants in bulk
- Vessels holding a Certificate of Compliance under Byelaw 16.3
For full details on the mandatory carriage and technical requirements for Thames AIS please click here.
Thames AIS - Initial Set Up
Vessels fitted with Thames AIS for the first time should ensure that they equipment they are intending to purchase complies with the current technical specification. Particular care should be taken when selecting equipment to ensure that it complies with the current technical requirements to transmit persons onboard (POB) data. Care should also be taken to ensure that the geographic display unit is also compliant with the current technical requirements with regards to the presentation of data and the ability to transmit an emergency message.
Please contact us if assistance is required.
Thames AIS - Transponder Hire
Vessels visiting the Thames temporarily that fall within the mandatory carriage requirements identified in Byelaw 12 may hire a portable Thames AIS transponder from the PLA.
Vessels seeking the use of a portable Thames AIS transponder should note that a minimum of 14 days notice is required to configure the equipment and arrange an installation visit. Equipment may be available at shorter notice but surcharges will apply.