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Ship Tracker

Ship Tracking – How does tracking vessels and ships work?

Tracking ships with the button of a mouse click – thanks to the internet, this is reality. But how can you actually track large vessels and ships of all types? How can you use the right platforms to your advantage and how can you determine what type of ship you just selected? Find here all information on ship tracking and finding out as much knowledge as possible about the ship of your choice!

How does a ship tracker work?

Thousands of large ships cruise the oceans every single day. Each and every of these ships uses tracking called “Automatic Identification System”. This ship tracker program helps avoiding collisions and also serves as a way of finding ships fast in emergency situations. A couple of companies have focused on providing accurate real-time ship tracking online. They use ship tracking data and AIS tracking and provide maps online, depicting vessels and ships in real time. AIS is a fascinating technology, that saves lives and make marine transport much easier, but also provides valuable insights on the marine industry worldwide.

What does an AIS message contain?

The “Automatic Identification System” does provide a lot of information. Each and every message shows the GPS location of the sender. Additionally, it contains the Speed Over Ground (“SOG”) – roughly speaking, the actual speed of the ship. Furthermore, the AIS provides the Course Over Ground (“COG”). So you also know the direction in which the vessel is heading. As you receive the unique vessel ID of the ship as well, you can usually find further information on the specific boat you’re looking at. This is why free ship tracker websites are capable of providing such a large amount of data.

What can be easily found on a ship tracker website?

Live ship tracking free is not limited to the current position, as we discussed in the previous paragraph. It actually provides far more than that. As an example, the website MarineTraffic offers a lot of informations. You can find the following data:

  • draught of the ship
  • length and wide
  • “nationality” of the ship – where did the ship get its license?
  • destination
  • average speed in knots
  • maximum speed in knots
  • current course (angular)
  • estimated time of arrival (“ETA”)
  • actual time of departure (“ATD”)
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There is much more data available on the website. For more detailed information, you have to pay in order to receive all insights.

Vesselfinder – An attractive alternative to MarineTraffic

Of course you don’t necessarily want to pay for a premium membership. That’s why the website VesselFinder suits perfectly as an alternative. While both sites have a pretty similar live-map of all commercial ships worldwide, there are a few differences. Mainly, you simply receive a lot more information on every ship right now sailing.

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For example, you can find out where the ship of your choice stayed last. Was it the haven in Hamburg or for example Bremerhaven? You can find out by just clicking on the ship. You find a lot more information just available for free without the requirement of a membership.

How can you take advantage of free ship tracker?

First and foremost, it simply is interesting to many people out there. The maritime industry has been a fascination for centuries and the stark interest persists until today. Therefore, most people are checking a ship tracker as a hobby and interest, as you can find a lot of information on ships. Which is knowledge, that other people, who are not familiar with the idea of a ship tracker, might not have.

But of course you can use a ship tracker also as a practical way of acquiring more knowledge in order to understand daily life better. For example, you can follow the path of merchant ships travelling from China to Europe. You can track their routes and check for yourself, how far they go. This might be interesting for you, if you’re passionate about pollution and climate change.

Practical use of a ship tracker

Obviously ship tracker sites like VesselFinder and MarineTraffic are not just made for people just curious about ships in the ocean. Those ship tracker websites offer practical use for many people worldwide.

For example, you can benefit off ship trackers a lot if you decide to choose to go for maritime studies after your finals. As an example, if you choose to study Maritime Law, you might learn a lot by checking legal data of vessels and ships that sail right now. Under which flags most ships sail in the world? Are all ships worldwide sailing legally or are there ships that do not follow the law – for example when it’s about maximum capacity or ISO standards (general rules for all container ships).

Other ideas on how to use ship trackers

There are lots of options you can use to find out more about your marine environment. For example, you can take example of the “Ports Near Me” option. This enables you to find ports that are close to your hometown, if you live near the sea. Ship tracking websites like MarineTraffic are also very useful when you’re on holiday and might want to spend some time on local harbours. Maritime culture and the environment of harbours usually always have a unique atmosphere. It’s different in every country, so it’ll be a new experience to you – no matter if you’re currently in Shanghai, China or Hamburg, Germany.

How do I find more information on how ship tracker work?

Ship tracker and AIS play a huge role in the maritime world. Therefore, you can find tons of information on the internet. Websites such as provide a variety on articles on various topics that will help you to fully understand the maritime world. They also cover articles and news on AIS and other systems.

Summary – Why ship tracking should be familiar to you

Shipping large quantities of goods over the ocean using huge container ships contributed essentially to our high living standards and wealth. It is an enormously cheap and reliable form of transportation that has been optimized tremendously over the last decades. Using a ship tracker, you can find every vessel and every merchant ship with a unique vessel ID with just a few mouse clicks. It’s not just interesting to check it out – spending time on it will enrich your perspective on world trade and many other aspects.

View all Cruise Ships current location´s. The position of Cruise Ships can be accurately determined by the maps of VesselFinder and MarineTraffic. So you are always well informed, where your favorite ship is currently.