The Coast Guard’s Nationwide Automatic Identification System enhances maritime domain awareness with a focus on improving security, navigational safety, search and rescue, and environmental protection services. NAIS is based on the Automatic Identification System, a technology sanctioned by the International Maritime Organization as a global standard for ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship communications. NAIS uses digital VHF wave forms to continually transmit and receive voiceless data.
The NAIS program was initiated in response to the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002. NAIS enhances maritime domain awareness with a focus on improving security, navigational safety, search and rescue, and environmental protection services.
The system combines AIS data — such as vessel location, source and speed — with other government information and sensor data to form a holistic view of maritime vessel traffic near the continental U.S. and its territorial waters.
Informed by a comprehensive view of traffic on the nation’s waterways, decision makers are better positioned to respond to safety and security risks. NAIS improves the safety of vessels and ports through collision avoidance and strengthens national security through detection, identification and classification of potential threats while they are still offshore.
The NAIS program is implemented in increments. Implementing NAIS in increments will help to address technical, logistical and budgetary risks that would be more difficult to manage in a single step approach.