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Old 17-01-2015, 22:50   #1
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Free AIS Ship Plotters

I've been using marinetraffic.com for some time to view ship positions, but it now tells me I have to upgrade.

Any recommendations for a good alternative??

ta, lockie
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Old 17-01-2015, 23:14   #2
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

I use Vesselfinder Pro on my tablet and phone.
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Old 18-01-2015, 01:29   #3
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

I've just fired up Marinetraffic after a few months and it seems to be working ok... lots of suggestions that my life would improve no end if I sent them money but the basic stuff still appears to be free.
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Old 18-01-2015, 06:17   #4
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

One thing I've found is that the different products seem to use different networks of receiving stations. In other words, ships in any given area might show up on one, but not the others. I have the free versions of FindShip, Fleetmon and VesselFinder.

The vendors seem very cagey about their receiving station network. It would be nice to see a coverage map or something, before shelling out money for the paid version.

The paid versions all have great features that I'd be happy to pay for, but I won't pay for all three without knowing what I'm getting.
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Old 18-01-2015, 08:18   #5
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockie View Post
I've been using marinetraffic.com for some time to view ship positions, ...............
That's fine if you're at home in the living room wondering where the ships are. It's not much use if you are travelling in a boat and wondering if you're about to encounter a large tanker. That site (and probably all of them) rely on land based receivers. If you or the ship is out of range of these receivers, there is no coverage and one could take you by surprise.

If you want AIS for serious reasons, buy an AIS receiver and install it on your boat.
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Old 18-01-2015, 08:29   #6
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockie View Post
I've been using marinetraffic.com for some time to view ship positions, but it now tells me I have to upgrade.

Any recommendations for a good alternative??

ta, lockie
A different hobby?
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Old 18-01-2015, 08:39   #7
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockie View Post
I've been using marinetraffic.com for some time to view ship positions, but it now tells me I have to upgrade.

Any recommendations for a good alternative??

ta, lockie
1. Where do you use the AIS? At home or while sailing?
2. If sailing, are you always in cellular cover?
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Old 18-01-2015, 08:57   #8
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
That's fine if you're at home in the living room wondering where the ships are. It's not much use if you are travelling in a boat and wondering if you're about to encounter a large tanker. That site (and probably all of them) rely on land based receivers. If you or the ship is out of range of these receivers, there is no coverage and one could take you by surprise.

If you want AIS for serious reasons, buy an AIS receiver and install it on your boat.
Exactly... Amazing how many folks appear to be under the impression that these services are necessarily reporting in 'Real Time'...

From Marinetraffic's FAQ page:

Quote:
Can the web-published information be used to enhance safety at sea?

This is not the intention of this system. Data provided can only be used by Internet users for informational reasons only and they are by no means related to safety of navigation. Information provided may be incomplete, obsolete or contain errors and cannot substitute the on-board safety equipment and of course the good seamanship.



Frequently Asked Questions about AIS and MarineTraffic features - AIS Marine Traffic

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Old 18-01-2015, 09:27   #9
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

BTW: marinetraffic.com is working just fine for me on my laptop at home as of right now.
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Old 18-01-2015, 09:41   #10
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

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The vendors seem very cagey about their receiving station network. It would be nice to see a coverage map or something, before shelling out money for the paid version.
The free MarineTraffic site will display the receiving stations, and their status, on the charts if you enable them. There are options for other features such as current or historic wind speeds at any locations, ports, and pictures. The controls for it are on a pull down menu on the upper left part of the screen. Select "Layers" to see the features that can be added by checking them in this window. The operating stations appear as a green antenna symbol where station's antenna is located. Clicking on its symbol will pop up a map of its coverage area, and other deails of each station.
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Old 18-01-2015, 10:25   #11
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cap Erict3 View Post
I use Vesselfinder Pro on my tablet and phone.

Update: While I have used Vessel Finder for quite a while to keep up with friends, I noted last
year that AIS coverage of western Florida seemed to stop from Naples to Marathon. A buddy's boat didn't continue beyond Shark River.

I just checked Marine Traffic and his boat is accurately displayed in Boot Key harbor.

Looks like I will retire Vessel Finder until their coverage expands.

Btw. This is just for dockside review. My Vesper transponder being on helps me relax when under way.
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Old 18-01-2015, 13:29   #12
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockie View Post
I've been using marinetraffic.com for some time to view ship positions, but it now tells me I have to upgrade.

Any recommendations for a good alternative??

ta, lockie
Marine Traffic is just a fun toy for keeping track of your mates boats. Spend $600 and get a transmitter/ Receiver Class B AIS.
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Old 18-01-2015, 14:26   #13
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

The Marinetraffic.com webpage has a link to a iPhone and android app which on my android phone works very well and with no ads.
I don't think I bought it, it came free.
There was also an app which generated an AIS identity which would appear on marine traffic, but it might have dropped off the market now.
These phone based AIS systems will only work as long as you have a data phone connection and I wouldn't like to rely on that when at sea.
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Old 18-01-2015, 15:40   #14
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

You can use the free one on my webiste. Our Life At Sea - Current World wide Ship Positions AIS Locations

But I just checked Marinetraffic.com and theres is still working for free.
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Old 19-01-2015, 10:13   #15
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Re: Free AIS Ship Plotters

Quote:
Originally Posted by FilBrown View Post
There was also an app which generated an AIS identity which would appear on marine traffic, but it might have dropped off the market now.
These phone based AIS systems will only work as long as you have a data phone connection and I wouldn't like to rely on that when at sea.
True. I think most CF'ers know this, but just to be complete, understand that the apps that put a virtual AIS postion on the web site ONLY work for others using that web site. Ships and boats will NOT see you.
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