Vesper Marine Virtual AIS Beacon™ wins in ‘Equipment’ category

Vesper Marine, a leading manufacturer of innovative marine safety products, has been awarded an IHS Safety at Sea Award 2012 in the ‘Equipment’ category for its Virtual AIS Beacon, a system that creates, transmits and manages electronic Aids to Navigation (AtoN). The Virtual AIS Beacon electronically marks maritime hazards in a low cost, environmentally conscious and easily deployable way to enhance safety at sea and help protect coastal environments.

Mike Ogle, General Manager of Sales & Marketing at Vesper Marine is delighted with the Award win: “The Virtual AIS Beacon offers a new way to enhance safety at sea, for vessels, terminals and port authorities while also offering private companies an easy way to mark critical marine based assets. This award is another fantastic endorsement of our ability to offer innovative products to our customers using AIS technologies.”

The Virtual AIS Beacon is based on the standardised marine AIS (Automatic Identification System) and complies with the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) recommendations. The Virtual AIS Beacon system allows multiple virtual marker signals to be transmitted and displayed as navigational hazards on a vessel’s chart plotter, AIS display or other receivers when in range of the transmitting equipment. A ship’s on-board equipment will proactively alert the crew if they are on a collision course with the marked navigational hazard, giving them advance warning to change course. The system is capable of transmitting electronic marks for visible and invisible hazards such as bridges, piers and reefs as well as moving hazards such as sandbars.

The Virtual AIS Beacon is simple to deploy and easy to maintain, offering a low cost system, especially when it is not suitable or appropriate to deploy a physical marker. The markers have the advantage of having no environmental impact and do not require a physical location to be mounted or powered.

The Safety at Sea Awards 2012 recognise and reward excellence in maritime safety. On presenting the Award to Vesper Marine, Executive Editor of Safety at Sea magazine, Paul Gunton said: “The Virtual AIS Beacon is able to mark hazards at sea remotely and its main users will be such organisations as port authorities, oil and gas companies, marinas, offshore wind farms – in fact any organisation that needs to make shipping hazards visible on ships’ chart plotters and AIS displays at short notice.”

This year, Vesper Marine has also received the Professional Mariner Samuel Plimsoll Award for Innovation, for the Virtual AIS Beacon. In addition, the product was recognised at the New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards 2012, receiving a Special Commendation in the ‘State Government of Victoria, Australia Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Product’ category.