Captain Greg Mayer and his crew fish in the dangerous waters of the Outer Banks in Fishin’ Frenzy, a 53-foot Custom Carolina Sportfish. Well known for their role on popular National Geographic Channel show ‘Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks’, Greg and his crew spend their time targeting tuna, marlin, sailfish, wahoo, and dolphin.
Experienced fisherman Greg has been fishing professionally for more than 25 years and has been at the helm of the Fishin’ Frenzy since 1999. The 1977-built vessel is well-equipped and maintained to give customers the safest, most comfortable, offshore fishing experience possible. However, they still required an extra level of safety to add to equipment already in place, which includes ACR Electronics GlobalFix™ iPRO Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), HemiLight™3 flashing survival light and C-Strobe™ with C-Clip, plus two VHF radios, satellite telephone, two GPS units, autopilot, radar and depth sounder.
Captain Greg Mayer and the crew of Fishin’ Frenzy
For the past few winters, Captain Greg and his crew have spent many hours on the ocean, often staying out overnight. They frequently have to deal with foggy conditions and poor visibility and usually operate in areas with a high amount of ship traffic in close proximity. Although there is always a crew member on watch and they are often communicating with other boats in the area, they wanted to further enhance their safety measures for added reassurance and peace of mind.
Greg highlights the dangers facing his vessel and others following a very close call in the fog recently. He said: “I identified a radar target as a tug and tow, calculated his heading and slowed down to let him pass. About 20 minutes later, a fellow fisherman was a few miles behind me with no radar. He heard the tug, and narrowly missed running between the tug and tow. Had I had AIS, I could have identified the tug and informed my colleague exactly where the tug was located and direction to avoid any confusion whatsoever.”
Fishin’ Frenzy, now equipped with ACR AIS technology
Greg wanted to make sure he could see other vessels, as well as be seen on the water, in order to increase his navigational safety. Enhancing the information he already receives with radar, the Fishin’ Frenzy captain also wanted to be able to view and track local traffic on a clear graphical interface, identify other boats, check their course and movements and establish whether he is in danger.
Therefore Greg decided to install ACR Electronics’ AISLink CA1 Class A transceiver, which demonstrates the highest AIS transmission power and the most frequent transmission of AIS information. The device enables him to send and receive wireless data to and from nearby AIS-equipped vessels including the vessel’s name, position, course or speed over the ground, heading and rate of turn. It helps the crew to keep the vessel clear of local maritime traffic and provides reassurance that Fishin’ Frenzy is visible to other vessels. Offering high reliability, performance, and compliance with regulations at a competitive price, the AISLink CA1 facilitates faster communication and navigational planning especially when vessels are hidden or obstructed from radar.
Installation was a straightforward process as the Class A device is a ‘one box’ design containing both the transceiver and display, with an external junction box provided to simplify connection of sensor and display data wiring. Greg opted to interface the AIS with his chart plotter, enabling him to view the data in a convenient, clear format. Each ship symbol on the display reveals the ship name, course and speed, classification, call sign, registration number and MMSI. Greg can calculate and predict the closest point of approach (CPA), which is the minimum distance his vessel will be from the target according to current speed and course. In this way, he will have the given time of the intercept and the distance. Fishin’ Frenzy now also has the ability to send and receive AIS text messages and set active target-specific AIS system alarms to provide advance warning. In areas of high congestion, Fishin’ Frenzy can filter and prioritize targets so that the navigator is aware of the vessels which pose a collision risk.
Captain Greg commented: “The added visibility provided by AIS is another measure of safety that I feel is invaluable with the amount of ship traffic in the area. It will be very reassuring to have this extra back up. Winter fishing on the Outer Banks is no time to be unprepared for whatever the ocean may throw at you. When my crew’s safety is on the line, I depend on ACR.”
Chart plotter view with AIS installed allowing the captain to view and track local traffic