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Dick Stevenson

Hi John and all,
We extend this “instruments on when needed” to our time offshore: once in open water and clear of obstructions, and with days of open water in front of us, instruments are turned off except AIS and wind instruments and, of course, the VHF radio which gives us a constant lat/lon read-out for transmitting with a distress signal. We turn on the chartplotter every day or so to keep up with itself.
Where instruments-left-on is a bit crazy-making are those who leave their AIS on 24-7-365, even often when tied up in the marina. Transmitting un-necessary data, I suspect, can be confusing and certainly clutters the airwaves, but may be a safety issue in some instances.
When sailing in the Solent on a beautiful clear sunny weekend, almost every recreational boat had AIS transmitting, our chart plotter was almost unreadable for the clutter: using AIS was completely un-necessary for safe piloting where careful eyeball navigation was called in these very very crowded waters. In addition, our chart plotter seized up from an over-abundance of AIS returns: not a big deal, but unsettling. I am sure the same happens in the Chesapeake and on Long Island Sound.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy