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Apr 3, 2016

Vesper Marine has announced that its XB-8000 Class B AIS, has a software update available for all new and existing owners. Vesper Marine’s consistent and storied history of AIS innovation and product development is evident in the new version, which incorporates important features that provide even more capabilities to enhance marine safety.

The XB-8000 is an upgradeable AIS platform, designed to be compatible with a continuous stream of feature updates, adding a host of new and unique capabilities. The most recent update makes it the first AIS transponder to allow users to connect an external buzzer to enable an audible alarm for AIS Man Overboard (MOB), Search and Rescue Transponder (SART) or Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon (EPIRB). A constant watch keeper that is always on, the safety alarm is triggered directly by the XB-8000 when it detects one of these AIS devices and does not require any additional equipment such as a multi-function display (MFD), plotter or mobile device to function.

“We designed the XB-8000 as a platform with an eco-system of features that is capable of constant evolution, adapting to new technologies and the ever-changing needs of boaters,” said Jeff Robbins, CEO, Vesper Marine. “We encourage suggestions and feedback from customers and our newest XB-8000 update builds upon the unit’s designed-in expansion capabilities and exemplifies the ongoing enhancements we will continue to provide owners of all our AIS solutions.” 

Another first for an AIS transponder is the new Anchor Watch feature, which can be activated, configured and monitored remotely using the WatchMate app on Android or Apple mobile devices. Anchor Watch monitors the XB-8000’s highly accurate GPS position and if it breaks a circular geo-fence configured around the vessel, the external alarm will trigger regardless of the mobile device’s status. If the smartphone or tablet powers off or the WatchMate app is closed, the XB-8000 Anchor Watch will continue to monitor the situation and sound a warning alarm. A simple switch can also be used to activate the anchor watch or reset alarms without using a mobile device.

“Man Overboard and Anchor Watch alarms are groundbreaking new safety features for an AIS transponder,” added Robbins. “In the past, a compatible MFD also had to be powered-on and configured properly to activate an AIS MOB or Anchor Watch alarm. With the Vesper Marine XB-8000, even a small vessel that isn’t equipped with an MFD or offshore sailors concerned about battery life can take advantage of these features. If a crewmember falls overboard or the anchor drags on a stormy night, the AIS transponder immediately sounds the alarm. That is safety!”

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The XB-8000’s instant-target-acquisition function, working in conjunction with the WatchMate app has also been enhanced. It provides vital up-to-date real-time AIS target data immediately to the WatchMate App whenever the app is started. Unlike MFD’s and other mobile apps on the market, it eliminates the need to wait for any vessel within range to re-transmit AIS data before its positions can be identified. Boaters can turn on the WatchMate app and immediately view the complete situation without needing to wait for it to incrementally appear over a period of several minutes. This significantly decreases response time and increases situational awareness which is particularly useful in heavy traffic situations.

The upgrade is performed over WiFi on-board without the need to uninstall anything. All existing owners may upgrade by visiting and all new products now being shipped by Vesper Marine already have the upgrade installed. New companion versions of the free WatchMate app are available now on the Apple App Store and Google Play. For more information on Vesper Marine, the XB-8000, or its entire product line, please visit


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