Counting Down to USCG AIS Mandate Deadline - Top Tip #1

With less than two months remaining, count down to the USCG AIS mandate deadline with’s TOP TEN TIPS

The US Coast Guard AIS mandate deadline of March 1 2016 is approaching fast.

By this date, owners and operators of most US-flag and foreign-flag commercial vessels operating in US waters are required to install and use Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).

Vessels which are newly required to install a Class A or Class B transceiver must be outfitted with a USCG type-approved and operational AIS no later than March 1, 2016 to legally operate within US national waters and avoid a possible financial penalty.

In the next few weeks, we will provide 10 tips to help you prepare for the new rule and ensure you are in compliance.

Read on for advice and information about AIS, relevant products, installation issues and costs.

Alternatively, send us your questions to or join LinkedIn group ‘Marine AIS Mandate’ and start a discussion.



The new United States Coast Guard (USCG) AIS mandate affects a wide range of vessels, including certain categories of freight ships, research vessels, work boats, dredges, tugs, fishing boats, ferries and other passenger ships.

In general, owners and operators affected include those who are an existing AIS user or who operate vessels including:

  • Commercial self-propelled vessels of 65 feet or more in length
  • Towing vessels of 26 feet or more in length
  • Passenger vessels certificated to carry more than 150 passengers
  • Vessels that move or carry hazardous cargo
  • Vessels that engage in dredging in or near a commercial channel

All these vessels are now required to install either a fully-certified USCG Class A or Class B AIS transceiver in order to operate legally within US national waters. The transceiver must be operational by March 1 for the vessel to operate legally in US waters.

For more information, see this infographic and table here:

The new US Coast Guard AIS mandate has taken many years to finalise. The regulations are part of efforts to enhance the safety and security of maritime transportation.

Already a legal requirement in Europe, the installation of AIS transceivers will provide a huge range of far-reaching benefits. Improving situational awareness and maritime domain awareness, AIS enables the identification of previously unknown radar and visual targets, providing information like the vessel’s identity, type, position, course, speed and navigational status. Equally pertinent for many people and companies affected by the new rule, AIS has been proved to reduce operating costs.

The Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) regulations can be found in Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations (33 CFR 164.46) at

Owners and operators of affected vessels working along US coasts, in ports, rivers, lakes and seas must take action now in order to meet the new requirements or risk a fine.