How to Find Vessels
Looking for someone?
- Want to track your friend's boat that has AIS or want to show your relatives and working friends where your AIS-equiped boat is cruising?
- Want to find out who owns that big boat down the dock but you only know its name?
- How about finding the boat with a HAM radio call sign?
These things can be done on this Boat Locator page. Send your favorite search tools to the firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion.
In the USA, many vessels are documented with the US Coast Guard and in Canada by Transport Canada. In both cases, the registered vessels tend to be the larger ones. For the USA, go to the NOAA Fisheries Vessel Name Search
For a Canadian flagged vessel, try the Transport Canada Vessel Registration Query System
The APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) uses the amateur radio call sign of the vessel's operation to locate boats. Enter the vessel's call sign or the ham call sign of the operator.
ITU Particulars of Ships Station
Search function provided by International Telecommunications Union - Radio Communications Sector (ITU-R) for searching by:
- Call Sign
- EPIRB ID Code
- IMO or National Registration Code
Link to http://www.itu.int/online/mms/mars/ship_search.sh
The functions of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) provide an excellent way to see the underway characteristics of vessels equipped with AIS hardware. Nearly all commercial vessels in the USA have AIS and more and more recreational boat owners are installing consumer-grade AIS systems. More details can be found in Wikipedia
and in marine publications.
The two commercial AIS location sites listed below contain advertising and you will be directed off of the SYC website to view them. The SiiTech site appears to have more vessels in it, but coverage for both can be a bit spotty. Also, not AIS-equiped vessels show up in both sites at the same time. But it kind of fun to watch the boats move around.
is a company in Vancouver, BC, selling AIS products and services. Their public demo site has more receivers in the Pacific Northwest, although coverage for the eastern end of Johnstone Strait and the upper part of Desolation Sound is lacking.
is hosted by the University of the Agean in Greece and has some good features. You can enter your boat's characteristics and photo into the system and send a link to your friends which points their web browsers to your current location. Click on the "Frequently Asked Questions" and the "Services" tabs for more information. A subset of Marine Traffic shows below if you don't want to use the web link at the head of this paragraph. Move your cursor over the map to display the controls. You can scroll the map by pulling the view box in the lower right corner.
Page updated on Sunday, February 03, 2013