In the safety category of the Pittman Innovations Awards at this year’s Miami show, there was an AIS shoot-out between Vesper Marine’s new WatchMate and Kannad Marine's SafeLink R10. Why should you care? Because safety at sea should always come first—and AIS has been a hotbed of innovation lately, from sea to shining sea and beyond. The European DAME award for 2012 went to a new and unexpected AIS product, iAIS from Digital Yacht. And now in Miami, AIS is once again creating safety headlines.

The Vesper AIS WatchMate won the safety category of the Innovation Awards at the 2012 Miami Boat Show.

The Vesper AIS WatchMate won the safety category of the Pittman Innovation Awards at the 2012 Miami Boat Show.

Vesper’s WatchMate came out on top, winning the Innovations award with its color touch-screen interface. It allows you to cull out targets you don’t need to see, or it can cull them out for you—either way, it de-clutters the screen and makes it easy to ID targets that pose a threat. Meanwhile, an easy-to-use interface makes mastering the Vesper a piece of cake.

The Vesper victory didn’t come easily. Kannad’s Safelink R10 also made a strong showing, since this pocket-sized unit is sure to save lives. It clips to a life jacket, and when activated will broadcast the exact location of any crewmember who goes overboard. Not only will this location show up on your AIS screen, it will also show up on the screens of nearby boats equipped with AIS receivers.

It was a close vote, but eventually the Vesper won out. And since AIS is one of the fastest-growing marine electronics items on the water, these products are sure to have a significant impact on the marketplace.

So if you want to run a safer boat, install a Vesper WatchMate. Then double-down with the Safelink R10. One thing’s for sure—with AIS, lives are going to be saved… maybe even those of you or your crew.

Watch our short take video of the Vesper Marine AIS Watchmate