The sea is a vast area with few geographical limitations; therefore, if you own a ship or a boat it is very important to know its location and trajectory. Nowadays, it has become possible and easy thanks to technology. There are several applications and websites that offer location services for boats equipped with AIS systems: economic, novel and efficient system with a surprising range of coverage. When using AIS positioning services, you can check the location of your vessel or maritime fleet from your PC or smartphone. Also, locating friends´ boats, yachts, fishing vessels and even merchant ships with these applications and websites is now easy. The option to track merchant ships has become very popular among entrepreneurs, since knowing the exact location of the ship that carries their merchandise is essential in order to provide accurate and adequate information to their customers.
Vessel Finder: a free tracker for ships with AIS systems
The site www.vesselfinder.com is one of the most interesting on the Internet. It has a friendly interface, understandable even for the most inexperienced users. On the main page there is a map with a field where you can insert a name of a boat to be tracked, MMSI or IMO number. By boat name you will be shown a lot of suggestions, which is very helpful in finding the indicated boat. If you have precise information, such as MMSI or IMO number, Vessel Finder will quickly show you the ship’s location, trajectory and its basic data. This page allows establishing preferences in the section “My fleet”, so you can quickly and automatically access all the necessary information about your favorite boats. If you are an exigent user, you can choose some paid options and services which provide specific information and statistics about ships.
Vessel Finder has mobile applications compatible with Android and iOS operating systems. In this way you can check boat information at any place and time. Also, if you are a bit inexperienced in the subject, you can enter the forum and interact with hundreds of users of AIS tracking services.
Marine Traffic: a smart option for tracking AIS vessels
The website www.marinetraffic.com (in Spanish) is undoubtedly one of the best sites for tracking vessels with AIS systems. When you enter the home page and find a “live map” showing all the world traffic of ships and boats, you realize the great potential of this website. The Marine Traffic search field is similar to that of Vessel Finder. However, when searching by name and choosing an option among the large number of vessels that it suggests, the page shows complete and detailed information on the tracked vessel. The flag, the type of vessel, its dimensions and identification are displayed on a new page, as well as its location and trajectory according to the latest AIS report. Speed and course are complementary information also shown here, next to a reference photo of the vessel presenting its physical characteristics. Marine Traffic maps are basic, but if you need more visual details of a place, the page provides you with a link to view the location using coordinates in Google maps.
The mobile applications of Marine Traffic are available in the iOS and Android operating systems. We should mention that its two applications are the best valued in the nautical world. The MarineTraffic – Ship Tracking application is downloaded the most and is connected to the largest network of AIS receivers. With this tool designed for smartphones the user can check location of boats anywhere in the world. MarineTraffic – Ship Tracking shows information related to wind speed and forecasts; it creates animations of the boat route and tracks its position, speed and course.
Vessel locator of the Spanish Oceanography Institute
This website provides the location of ships with AIS system through an application that works in conjunction with Google maps. The page www.ieo.es provides the exact location of the IEO (Spanish Oceanography Institute, abbr.from Spanish) vessels. It is a very useful website for people who are interested in tracking ships. It also provides basic information on the location of the main maritime ports and infrastructure objects around the world. However, the IEO vessel locator suggests the services of Marine Traffic to see all the world traffic.
OnCourse – boating & sailing nav (mAIS)
OnCourse – boating & sailing nav (mAIS) is another application designed by Marine Traffic. This application shows maritime traffic around a vessel. It is ideal for planning routes and sharing the position of the boat with friends and family. In addition, you can also share and interact with other boaters.