Why the vessel tracking system is important?

AIS Tracking

The vessel tracking system is an important tool for monitoring the position and movement of ships at sea. This system allows shipping companies, port authorities, and other stakeholders to track the location and status of vessels in real-time, ensuring the safety and efficiency of maritime operations. By providing up-to-date information on vessel position, the vessel tracking system helps to prevent collisions, avoid congestion in busy shipping lanes, and facilitate the timely arrival and departure of ships at ports.

Now you can effectively track and monitor in real-time all the AIS data related to vessel position in the sea thanks to the vessel tracking system.

We will go more in-depth about the vessel tracking system, what role it plays and why we need it in the first place.

What is a vessel Tracking system?


A vessel tracking system is a collection of equipment that enable mariners to track, identify and monitor a ship’s position, location, and any other detail that might be important in maneuvering and stabilizing a ship’s route and course.

A wide variety of vessel tracking systems are available in the maritime market. 

The most common is the Global Positioning System or common as (GPS).

The GPS works on satellite transmissions. It was proven that the GPS delivers clear positions and locations of the vessel in the water which counts as a piece of really handy information when an inappropriate situation crops up.

However, there are other tracking systems that incorporate the facilities provided by GPS like the AIS.



How vessel tracking system works

The AIS was, in the beginning, developed to function as a simple collision avoidance tool. It is now a proven source of information for maritime businesses that leverage its data to force their growth, to researchers and analysts surveying the supply chain industry.

AIS transponders help of transmuting every unique identifier of each vessel. As well as, the vessel position and the voyage information with a fixed frequency per minute. Consequently, it helps with vessel tracking across the sea.

Not to forget to mention also, that the AIS system allows ships to show on the screens of other vessels in the environs. If the AIS is not switched on, no exchange of information will happen between the ships.

How does a ship tracking system work?

Ship trackers detect position and movement through the vessel’s GPS system or through sensors built into the AIS unit. This information connects to the programmable information of the AIS unit [number, vessel name, destination, vessel type] and gets transmitted, while also receiving AIS data from other ships. 

AIS data provides an overview of all significant and potential hazards related to your own ship’s location. This is later will either be displayed on a Chartplotter with other vessel positions or on a radar display.

Why the vessel tracking system is important?

The main focus of the vessel tracking system is the Safety of vessels. Moreover, information on the ship i.e., ship’s position, course, navigational status, speed, and destination position. 

Vessel tracking system helps not only track the position of the ship but also:

  • Helps in preventing the collision of ships.
  • Helps in following the trading status of each vessel and its cargo
  • Eliminates the necessity to directly call a vessel on VHF with a message seeking to spot another vessel.
  • Eliminate the hazard of creating collision avoidance arrangements with the near vessel.

How can you benefit from vessel tracking?

You’re probably wondering now if the vessel tracking system serves for transmuting detailed information about vessel voyages then how can I access this real-time vessel data? How can I track the vessel in the sea? How can I find vessel data?

You can access detailed vessel data through those methods, either through a visual map where you can see all the vessels in a specific area and search for your required one or through API services where you can get organized and well-structured data.

Tracking vessels using visual maps: 

Some website provides an online platform/map where you can track vessels using the search option or through an interactive map. Tracking vessels online through a visual map can be challenging, it’s an easy and fast method to get instant data but it cannot be an accurate source of information, especially in the long run as you may encounter issues such as slow updates and no guarantees about the timeliness.

Vessel Tracking using API:

Datalastic REST API web services store historical maritime information, real-time maritime traffic overviews, and future ships’ maritime traffic forecast. You can receive your API key in under 5 minutes and 4 clicks!  

Moreover, we allow developers to access the vessel position and ship data themselves and manually. They have open access to global maritime information with global coverage that is updated almost every minute, of course, not to forget the possibility of adding your custom parameters to source data that match your requirements from our multiple endpoints.


The API key returns a well-structured response, with a list of detailed information:

  • Vessel name: vessel name
  • IMO: European Number of Identification
  • MMSI: International Maritime Organization 7 digits number for a ship identification
  • UUID 
  • Call Sign: vessels number for vessel identification
  • Country: country of the vessel
  • Type: vessel Type
  • Subtype: vessel subtype
  • TEU unit of cargo capacity: ship capacity is measured in twenty-foot equivalent units
  • Deadweight: a measure of how much weight a ship can carry in tonnage
  • Liquid gas capacity: Ship liquid gas capacity
  • Length: vessel length in meters
  • Breadth: vessel breadth in meters
  • Average draught: current reported draught of the vessel
  • Maximum draught: maximum draught of the vessel
  • Average speed: current reported speed of the vessel
  • Maximum speed: maximum draught of the vessel
  • Year built: year the vessel was built
  • Homeport: 
  • Activity status.

You might also like to read: Your full guide to AIS maritime data 

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