Marine traffic is a site that provides a live location for maritime shipping. At the home page, a map of the world will come up with grid number blocks. Click on the block of the area of the world that you are looking for. Within the grid, a map of passenger vessels, tankers, yachts, fishing boats, and navigational aids will come up. The left side of the page has a filter that will show the symbols for each vessel. Place the mouse over the vessel and it will give the name of the boat and its destination. Click on the vessel and it will give a picture of it, along with its specifications and itinerary history.
A listing of ports is also on the website. The port listing shows the number of vessels in port now, the departures, arrivals, and other information. Click on the vessels button and it provides where the ship is at that moment, the size of the ship, the area it is in, along with the flag it flies under. A maritime business directory is also provided by some of the companies.
The marine traffic is tracked by AIS. From the site, “The system is based on AIS (Automatic Identification System). As from December 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires all vessels over 299GT to carry an AIS transponder on board, which transmits their position, speed and course, among some other static information, such as vessel’s name, dimensions and voyage details.” The AIS acts as a GPS for vessels, to help control boat movements and to avoid collisions.