AIS Navigational Status

Apr 12, 2022 | AIS Tracking

In this era, the development of technology has significantly bettered the monitoring and tracking of vessels. In addition, the fast-developing satellite services have made tracking across the world easier now with different data analyses, such as navigational status.

In this article, we will explain the AIS Navigational Status, its values, and its significance in the marine industry.

What’s Navigational Status?

An AIS navigational status is a form of a signal reported by the vessel, which describes the status of the vessel in real-time.

Indeed, you can understand the vessel’s activity by reading the navigational status code. The code can have different values ranging from 0 to 15. 

what's navigational status

Why we employ navigational status?

This navigational status message refers to machinery vessels in motion. It all happens through an automatic Identification System (AIS) which is a system that provides users with real-time information such as tracking vessels and other machines in order to improve safety and usability.

How to interpret the navigational status?

The navigational status takes different values, Below you’ll find the possible values and their significance with meaning to each status:

0 = underway using engine

The vessel is underway using the engine when :

  • It is not aground
  • It is not at anchor
  • It was not attached to a dock, the shore, or any other stationary object.

1 = at anchor

The vessel is considered at anchor when it is in one position held by an anchor so it is prevented from drifting away to another position.

2 = not under command 

The “under command” means that the vessel unable to manoeuvre due to some circumstance.

3 = restricted maneuverability

The term “restricted maneuverability” means that the vessel is unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.

4 = constrained by her draught

The vessel that works with power, is restricted from drifting away from the course due to the draught power.

5 = moored

Limiting the vessel movements by several lines or cables while securing it at a pier.

6 = aground 

The vessel that’s aground onto a strand or underwater.

7 = engaged in fishing

This term refers to that the vessel used for fishing with nets, trawls…

8 = underway sailing

We can say that the vessel is underway sailing when:

  • It is not aground
  • It was not attached to any object such as a shore or a duck.
  • It is not at anchor


9 = reserved for future amendment of navigational status for ships carrying dangerous goods (DG), harmful substances(HS), or IMO hazard or pollutant category C, high-speed craft (HSC).

Those types of vessels are reserved specifically for the ships carrying dangerous good that can be harmful.

10 = reserved for future amendment of navigational status for ships carrying dangerous goods (DG), harmful substances (HS) or marine pollutants (MP), or IMO hazard or pollutant category A, wing in the ground (WIG).

The type of vessels are carrying dangerous good, it can be also marine pollutants.

11 = power-driven vessel towing astern.

A power-driven vessel usually is when the lights are in a vertical line. The towing light is in a vertical line instead if sternlight.

In addition, usually the description applies when the length exceeds 200 meters.

12 = power-driven vessel pushing ahead or towing alongside.

A power-driven vessel when pushing ahead or towing alongside, usually consist:

two masthead lights in a vertical line, sidelights and two towing lights in a vertical line.

13 = reserved for future use.

For the vessels whose function is not currently defined, but it will be defined after some future enhancement. It should not be used until the enhancement has been further defined.

14 =AIS-SART Active (Search and Rescue Transmitter), AIS-MOB (Man Overboard), AIS-EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon):

An AIS-SART (Automatic Identification System – Search And Rescue Transmitter) is a device that sends an emergency message with the position based on the Automatic Identification System (AIS) protocol. 

15 = undefined = default (also used by AIS-SART, MOB-AIS, and EPIRB-AIS under test).

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