SART (Search and Rescue Radar Transponder) represents an essential part of the safety GMDSS equipment that is used as a homing device on the rescue boat/raft. In simple words, after abandoning the vessel, the crew in the rescue boat would activate the SART by holding it up, as high as possible, towards the sky. The reach of a SART is about 10nm, but grows proportionally to the sea level altitude.
AIS SART (Automatic Identification System Search and Rescue Transmitter), a homing device that leads you to the rescue boat or raft represents a novelty on the market, and after several years of successful usage the AIS Transmitter should replace the classical SART Radar Transponder. Moreover, knowing that recently McMurdo’s AIS SART got Wheelmark approved, we had more than abundant reasons to conduct this test.
Therefore, we agreed to perform a test activation in the vicinity of Punat on the Island of Krk in the cooperation with the MRCC Center and media coverage by the nautical magazine Burza Nautike. The plan was to head towards the open sea and activate the AIS SART. Once activated, the Transmitter would be seen on all screens of vessels within range. An advantage of the AIS SART in comparison to the standard Radar Transponder is that it is visible to a much larger number of vessels, whose AIS receivers would than immediately alert skippers about the distress situation in their vicinity.
A part of our team, in charge of photographing and reporting, was left on the boat, in front of an AIS receiver’s screen, while we headed towards the open sea. Not even 5 seconds passed from our activation when, through our VHF, we heard a joyful: We see you!” Besides the information on the exact geographic location, on the AIS receiver’s screen, the route a boat should take to reach the distress party is also visible. We are confident that McMurdo’s AIS SART will continue where the standard SART paused and offer to its customers safety at a reasonable and acceptable price.