I had the good fortune to sail across the North Atlantic in July with my friend Steve and three other crew aboard Steve’s Hanse 505 Maverick. Regular readers of Cruising Compass may have seen the posts we sent while at sea. All of us brought aboard our own inflatable life vests and harnesses and at the skipper’s request, we all attached the new AIS man overboard personal locator beacons to the harnesses. That way, if one of us was to be washed overboard, the person’s beacon would automatically send an AIS signal that would appear on any AIS equipped chartplotter within VHF radio range…the one on Maverick in particular. The on-board AIS would then give the rest of the crew the location, range and bearing of the person in the water, which will make the rescue highly likely to be quick and efficient. Compared to the satellite-based PLBs that have been around for a while, which require hours to relay rescue information back to the boat, the AIS beacons supply the information rescuers need immediately. Luckily we never had to see how well the AIS MOB beacons work. But, we all felt safer knowing we had them on our harnesses.