What Our Customers Are Saying...

We were bound from Fort Lauderdale to the VI, but had to turn back after just 20 miles due to a jammed port rudder (this was a 51' catamaran), and it was a dark night. The WatchMate was absolutely invaluable in pointing out just what those lights out there were doing, and how close we were going to come to them. I had an experienced captain aboard who had mildly scoffed at the AIS idea when I earlier mentioned it, and he is completely sold, just on that night's experience. It takes all the guesswork out of night time navigation where converging courses and traffic are concerned.

Ron Weinert, British Columbia

We bought a new AIS WatchMate in April 2010 and had it fitted to our yacht in the Algarve, Portugal. We recently sailed to the Azores crossing major shipping lanes and found your unit to be magic and easy to use. Thanks.

Marten Holden, Plymouth England

I have used the WatchMate for a while now and love it. I have used a black box system in the past but grew frustrated and annoyed very quickly regarding the constant alarming on my chartplotter for vessels that weren't affecting me.

That is why I love this little inexpensive unit. I still have it hooked to my chartplotter but with the alarm off and then use the alarm on my WatchMate with the filters on. Much more relaxing and power efficient

James, as posted on www.panbo.com

Our WatchMate saved our bacon on our way up. We were about a day out of Marsden Cove in 4m seas and wet and windy. Very dark. I saw a ship coming directly at us on the WatchMate. It was 35mins away so I gave it 5mins and then contacted him on the VHF and asked if he could make a course adjustment to the right. He did not believe we were out there as he could not see us on radar nor on his AIS. Conditions were rough. I gave him our position and he still did not believe we were out there so I turned on our strobe and he finally found us and made a course adjustment. At this stage we were about 12 mins from contact. He was very concerned he could not see us on his radar and asked for our radar transponder to go on which of course we do not have.

The WatchMate meant I did not have to wake David or get my blood pressure up. And no trying to plot his course and CPA from the radar info. We would not sail without it now and wonder how we did without it.

I'm writing up an article for Boating magazine. A series of the best things we have added to the boat and our Vesper AIS is most assuredly in the list!

Patricia, Yacht Cameleon, Vanuatu

I am very glad with the capabilities of my WatchMate with, as you say, "filtering, alarms, prioritisation, ease of use" + low consumption, alarm profiles. It's very intuitive. Bravo.

Christian Brisou, France

I’ve been using the WatchMate for 6 months now, and have to say it’s a great piece of kit, designed for sailors by sailors. There are two situations where the WatchMate helps me most. One is far offshore where the CPA alarm connected to an external siren jolts me back to reality if I haven’t been paying attention. The other is near and in harbors where the radar-type screen and target list sorted by CPA helps figure out which ships are the biggest threat. That came in very handy a few weeks ago off Miami/Fort Lauderdale when I had 81 AIS targets listed.

Another great feature is the CPA display, which shows where the ship will be AT its closest point of approach. Other AIS systems which only display the CPA distance don’t tell you whether you should turn to starboard, to port, speed up, or slow down to increase the CPA, but its obvious from a glance at the Watchmate’s CPA display.

I just wish that the AIS system and the WatchMate were available years ago—the power drain is a fraction of a radar system, and the range, timeliness and accuracy of the information provided is far superior. I could have avoided a lot of stress and several near-misses, and the ships now answer my radio calls when I identify them by their name.

Don Radcliffe, S/V Klondike, Florida

I have just installed your WatchMate-RX in my sailboat... very cool!

If you ever need a recommendation as to Vesper Marine's customer support, please contact me. You and the company will get whatever is higher than a 5-star/A+!

Chase Coale, Maryland

The WatchMate receiver gives me peace of mind above all else. There is no longer the rising panic, as at a distance, a Panamax “skyscraper” appears to be on an inevitable collision course. “Should I try to call him and ask if he sees us, should I wait, what should I do?” A quick check of the screen shows that I needn’t worry as it is all an optical delusion, and he will pass us with a healthy margin. Monitoring his Rate of Turn and Course on screen confirms the continued safety margin.

The other major bonus is the name of the Panamax displayed on screen. This allows us to call it up by name on the VHF, and there is always an answer. The Captain seems to always be happy for the diversion mid-ocean. This means that we have been able to get local weather information on long passages as we don’t have iridium or weatherfax aboard.

Twice in the South Atlantic, I was able to inform tankers that their AIS transmitter was not functioning. They were able to see my AIS transmissions, but I couldn’t see them on screen. They were both grateful for the information. The WatchMate links us to these big guys as part of their normal navigating and safety network.

The intuitive operating system means that both of my greenhorn crew stepped up to the WatchMate, and were operating it effectively with virtually no formal instruction.

Tony Beks, "Ragin Cajun", North Atlantic heading for Ireland

My WatchMate AIS unit is now installed and I can say that it was one of the most easiest electronic units I have ever fitted on Endless Dream. I switched it on and all the data came up 100%. I feel much happier knowing who and where the ships are, especially in the Mallaca Straits.

I have no hesitation in recommending Vesper Marine to any of the big yachting family for your service and product. Once again, thanks!

Frederick Florian, "Endless Dream", Malaysia
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