Automatic Identification System (AIS)

Photo credit IMO
Photo credit IMO
  • Automatic Identification System (AIS) uses a global positioning system (GPS) that automatically captures signals from small transponders installed on vessels.
  • The system functions by using satellites to then share navigational and positioning information with other ships and shore stations equipped with AIS receptors.
  • AIS permits navigators to see other ships operating in their proximity in order to prevent collisions.
  • Due to improvements in technology, these signals are also captured by low orbiting satellites, thus providing AIS with a global reach. This characteristic offers its users the capability to locate all AIS equipped ships operating around the world.
  • Although primarily used for navigational safety, AIS also holds valuable data which is also useful for business intelligence and analysis purposes.

Hands-Free Mooring:

  • The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation’s (SMLC) hands-free mooring (HFM) program is the first of its kind in the industry, meriting receipt of the International Transport
    Photo credit: SLSMC
    Photo credit: SLSMC
  • Without a HFM system, ships that travel through the Seaway locks must be moored manually with the assistance of large cables that can present risks to the safety of the Seaway’s personnel and ship’s crew.
  • With the Seaway’s innovative HFM units, the mooring process is faster and more efficient because it is mechanized and automated.
  • The new HFM system works as follows: once the ship enters and stops within the lock, each HFM unit vertically positions and attaches itself to the hull’s surface using suction. The units ensure that the ship rests in a stable position. The HFM units then move up or down with the ship as the lock fills or empties itself of water.
  • As of March 2018, all of the Seaway’s locks will be equipped with HFM systems.

Electronic Navigation: Draught Information System (DIS)

  • Photo credit: SLSMC
    Photo credit: SLSMC

    The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation created the Draught Information System, an electronic navigational resource that displays draught information. This allows ships to maximize their cargo lift while also ensuring safety throughout their transit of the Seaway.

  • DIS uses satellites and hydrographic maps in order to provide a 3D model of the bottom of the Seaway’s channel.
  • By providing navigators with a colour coded map of the channel, DIS allows ships to transit the Seaway without danger while also benefitting from 3 additional inches of draught.
  • With the assistance of this electronic system, the navigator ensures that every segment of the Seaway, including the shallowest, is transited safely.