What Our Customers Are Saying...

During the 17 years we've been cruising we've seen several important technological breakthroughs, including gps, 406 epirbs, and radio-based email, and the advent of the AIS system certainly equals the others, especially coupled with the WatchMate from Vesper Marine. With it one of our underlying fears, that of collision with a ship, has become a very minor concern. The WatchMate is not only a great piece of safety gear for any offshore boat, and in our view mandatory for those short-handed, but has also proven to be simple and intuitive to use, even for those of us who are a bit technically-challenged.

Bob Wright, "Shearwater", Fiji

There are two other boats cruising with us that also have an AISWatchMate. All are of the same opinion, it's the best way of keeping a lookout for shipping, bar none.

John Martin, "Windflower", Island Cruising Association

I can't thank you enough for expediting the WatchMate System to me in time for the St. Petersburg, Fl. to Isla Mujueres, Mexico race that started in April 2008. The race is approximately 500 miles leaving the Gulf of Mexico and entering the Yucatan Channel. I combined the WatchMate with the Milltech Marine SR161 receiver and a Garmin 376C gps. The system was very simple to install and worked flawlessly! I actually installed it the night before the race! My J-92, at 30', was the smallest boat in the fleet. With limited space and being weight conscious, I used your AISWatchMate in place of a radar system. It proved to be a lifesaver on several occasions. Literally!

Ship traffic exiting the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal heading north to the United States generally travels between the western tip of Cuba and Mexico. We had three instances during the race in which the CPA was less than 1/2 mile, one of which was actually a -0- CPA. The WatchMate alerted us to these situations well in advance and allowed us to contact the ships' Captains to discuss the situation. These ships were 900'+ tankers heading North at 15 knots. Each Captain that I spoke with was more than accomodating, friendly and wished us well on our adventure. I was surprised to find that I was able to see ships that were 24 miles away with the 4' stainless steel antenna mounted on my stern rail. The WatchMate was often times tracking 6-7 ships at a time.

The return trip was not without excitement either. I had to contact a cruise ship steaming at 20 knots at 2 am that was going to cross us at less than a 1/4 mile. Again, this ship altered course to accomodate us, asking if it was ok with us if they changed course to pass us port to port giving us a mile clearance. The information provided by the WatchMate was a huge navigational aide.

As I mentioned, this is the only race this year that I will be in the shipping lanes that would require an AIS system. A friend of mine is racing in the singlehanded transpac this year and I thought I would offer the system to any of the racers that had not installed an AIS system yet. I would replace it before next year's offshore race. I will certainly be installing another WatchMate AIS system. It exceeded all my expectations!

Thanks for producing such a fine product!

Bob Armstrong, "Mischief", Florida

What a little gem. First target was a ship coming through the Colville Channel towards Auckland. We knew about him well before he was in view. Next was a tanker Kakariki, destination Marsden Point, which we met near Cuvier Island. We were on a near reciprocal course with less than 0.4 mile CPA. I called him up and confirmed he had us in view which he did, and we discussed passing procedure and he confirmed a small course alteration. CPA 0.6 miles. I've never been able to have that sort of interchange before. Very reassuring. The unit is so easy to use and the alarm works too. Well done Vesper Marine.

Chris Cotter, "Samasan", New Zealand

Several years ago, some cruising friends lost their lives on a blustery, dark November night as they closed with the coast of New Zealand and were run down by a Korean log ship. If the Watchmate had been available to them, they would probably be alive today. We think of them on every passage and their deaths remind us to keep proper watches, but even in the best conditions it is nearly impossible to be diligent 100% of the time. The Watchmate performs where our eyes and mind can't and has simplified determining if a collision risk exists with ample warning. The Watchmate has become our most important piece of safety equipment, and indeed seems like an additional, watch-standing crew person. We couldn't be more satisfied with your product. (Unless it did the dishes and made breakfast)

Laura Wright, "Shearwater", New Zealand

The WatchMate reports ten or fifteen targets but my computer only shows 5 or so and is very slow to pick up ship names and details. Any thoughts? In any event, WatchMate runs like a charm and is more than I imagined, hassle free.

Ken Jenkins, "Panche", Australia
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