Actisense is supporting the National Coastwatch Institution by donating its product, the NGW-1 NMEA 2000 Conversion Gateway, helping it to accurately plot the position of ships and keep local seafarers safe. Keeping a close eye on the Dorset coast, the local National Coastwatch Institution (NCI), a registered charity set up in 1994, provides a visual watch and monitors marine radio channels, sea conditions and weather. Following a recommendation from the NCI’s radio supplier, Ed Essery, local NCI Deputy Station Manager and Treasurer (pictured here with the Actisense team), approached Actisense to inquire about purchasing an NGW-1 NMEA 2000 Conversion Gateway. The NGW-1 is used to link old and new boat data networks, converting NMEA 0183 data into NMEA 2000 data and vice versa. Actisense, in turn, donated the NGW-1 to the locally-based NCI Watch Keepers. “As a charity organisation run by volunteers, we were delighted by Actisense’s decision to donate an NGW-1. We found setting it up very simple and it was almost ready to go straight from the box,’’ said Ed Essery. Fully utilising the product, the NGW-1 allows the NCI to convert NMEA 2000 AIS (Automatic Identification System) data provided by the VHF radio to its equivalent in NMEA 0183 format required by the PC-based chart plotting software. As a result, the NCI can now accurately plot the location, course and speed of vessels, who are using AIS in Poole and Christchurch Bays on their computer. This includes both leisure and commercial vessels. To date, the product has also assisted with the training of new NCI Watch Keepers. “Judging distance is one of the hardest skills to learn in the NCI. In the surrounding waters of Poole Bay, there are no reference points to help new Watch Keepers work out the position of vessels. However using the converted data from the NGW-1, our new Watch Keepers have been able to plot the exact position of vessels on our computer. This helps them to gain experience, accurately work out distance and in some cases work out the position of other ships or boats nearby that do not have AIS,’' said Essery. The NGW-1 has also improved the NCI ability to communicate vital information to other maritime organisations including the RNLI or Coastguard. Actisense specialises in marine electronics, with its award-winning NMEA products being exported worldwide.