"If this interim rule affects you, please submit your comments before the rule is finalized."
- Rep. Seaton
(Homer) - Many fisherman and vessel owners may not be aware that the United States Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security have issued an interim rule requiring certain vessel owners to purchase and install Automatic Information Systems (AIS) on their boats, at their own expense. If you are a commercial vessel owner and your boat meets any of the following descriptions, you will be required to install an AIS:
Vessels longer than 65 feet.
Towing vessels longer than 26 feet with more than 600 horsepower.
Vessels weighing more than 100 gross tons and carrying one or more passengers.
Vessels licensed to carry more than 50 passengers.
Vessels subject to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), such as tankers or passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people in International waters.
AIS devices cost approximately $7,000 and do require maintenance, training and eventual replacement. Estimated first year cost is $9,330 with annual maintenance estimated at $250. The device will need to be replaced approximately every 8 years. If this interim rule affects you, please submit your comments before the rule is finalized. Under this rule, these devices must now be installed as early as July 1, 2004 for vessels operating in Prince William Sound.