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Radionavigation - AIS - Virtual AtoN

Virtual AtoNs make mariners aware of an incident or hazard by marks presented on an electronic display, providing a timely warning of an incident before physical aids are deployed.

  • Not a physical AtoN
  • AIS broadcast by Base Station or other AIS equipped AtoN
    Message 21: Aids-to-Navigation Report (carries AtoN position information) with virtual flag
  • Appears at specified location on the vessel's ECDIS, radar or other navigation display
  • Clearly marked as Virtual AtoN

Incidents can be marked in a timely manner before physical AtoNs are deployed

Virtual AtoNs Applications:

  • New wreck
  • Uncharted hazard
  • Virtual shipping lanes
  • Floating debris

Duration until:

  • replaced by real buoy;
  • charted;
  • wreck removed or dispersed

The figure shows an AIS base station which transmits information about
virtually marked hazards to a vessel. The bubble gives an indication of how
the information received will be displayed on a ship's ECDIS.