While today’s technology from GPS to AIS to cellular communication makes this the safest time to be a recreational boater, all that pinpoint tracking does mean that we give up some personal information in order to be safer. Take AIS, for example, which stands for Automatic Identification System. International maritime law requires large commercial ships and vessels engaged in commercial activity to be equipped with AIS transponders that automatically provide position, identification, and other information to other ships and coastal authorities. When it comes to identifying nearby ships to avoid collisions, assisting in search-and-rescue operations, and simplifying information exchange, AIS has been a boon in maritime safety development akin to radar.
One concern in having authorities (potentially) knowing your location anywhere on the planet is that those authorities could also see when boaters equipped with AIS are speeding in designated zones meant to be crossed at lower speeds, or anchored in protected restricted areas, and use AIS as a primary way of enforcing regulations.