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Five ways to report your own position to MarineTraffic

Why to report my vessel’s position to MarineTraffic?

Visibility: Real-time vessels positions published in proved to be extremely useful for a huge number of users related to the shipping industry. Ship owners, agents, pilots, tug operators, port Authorities, crew families and friends, passengers, cargo handlers, cargo recipients, brokers, leisure boaters, sailing racers, ship chandlers, bunkering companies, yacht charterers-brokers, etc. have probably a reason to follow the positions of your vessel. The list of interested parties is unlimited and this has been proven by the visibility of the web site which exceeds the number of 15 million visitors monthly.

Safety: Although is not intended to be used as a safety tool, there are many cases where making your position widely known could enhance your safety at sea. Making your position known to the public may be complementary to the official means of distress reporting such as EPIRB or DSC radio and may help in Search & Rescue procedures where the position of the vessel cannot be acquired by other means.

Historical data: MarineTraffic keeps a database of historical data. Historical data of the movements of your vessel could be accessed for many reasons, such as just for fun or recollection, for statistical reasons, for analyzing tracks in comparison to weather conditions, for accident investigation etc.

There are at least 5 alternative methods to enable position reporting for your vessel:

1. AIS Transponder

The positions of the majority of the ships displayed on are based on the collection of AIS (Automatic Identification System) signals transmitted by AIS transponders installed on board vessels. All vessels over 299GT are required 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. Smaller vessels may optionally use the lower cost ‘Class B’ AIS Transponders to transmit AIS signals.

AIS transponders transmit periodically this information on VHF radio-frequencies and make this data available to the public domain. Our network of AIS receivers collects this information and publishes it on our web site.

The limitation of this method is that a ship must be within the range of one of our AIS receivers (i.e. at a distance smaller than 30 nautical miles from a receiving station on average) in order to collect and display her position.

Read more at Frequently Asked Questions...

2. mAIS: iPhone and Android self-reporting app

mAIS is a mobile application that makes possible to use your mobile device to report the positions of a vessel to MarineTraffic. GPS-enabled devices (iPhone/iPad and Android) can be used to report the position, the details and the status of a vessel in case an AIS transponder is not available or the vessel is out of the range of MarineTraffic's AIS receivers.

iPhone/iPad: Open the App Store and search for 'mAIS marinetraffic' or just follow the link:

Android: Open the Android Market on your mobile device and search for 'mAIS'. Alternatively, open the current page in the web browser of your mobile device and click on the following link:

The positions of a vessel will be reported if the application is started on the mobile device and whenever Internet connectivity is available. The position reporting will continue even if the app is running at the background on the device.

Read more on mAIS app...

3. Email position reports

We are accepting position reports by email messages sent to If you have either an established automated procedure to send email position reports or you wish to manually send your position to MarineTraffic, you may consider including the above email address to the recipients of your position messages.

Email position messages must be sent on regular intervals to in order to be able to display a continuous track of your vessel. Ideally, the message interval should be less than 15 minutes, but an interval of one hour or more is acceptable.

In order for us to be able to parse your report, the message should be preferably written in a standard format like the following:

TIMESTAMP=2012-03-03 02:13

(Latitude and Longitude in decimal degrees – negative values for South or West coordinates. Speed in knots. Timestamp in UTC time)

Many other formats are acceptable, e.g.:

GPS location Date/Time:03/03/2012 10:52:03 EST

The standard format send via Inmarsat is also acceptable.

Since there is no identification of the vessel within the message, we identify the vessel by the email address of the sender, which looks like this:

You may configure your Inmarsat device to send standard email position reports, like the following, at fixed time intervals to

GPS fix

Lat: S 33 28' 55''
Long: E 151 38' 50''
Time: 02:13:10 UTC
Date: 03-03-2012
Velocity: 12 km/h
Course: 187

Horiz: +/- 8 m
Vert: +/- 16 m

If you intend to start sending your position reports by email, please send us a message expressing your intention to, including the MMSI number of your vessel, the email address of the sender of the reports and a sample of your position report.

4. Satellite or 3G/GSM locator devices

Many boaters are using a personal locator device, which reports their position to public or private networks through satellite or cellular data networks.

A good example of such devices is the SPOT device ( which periodically reports the position of an individual through satellites. This device can be configured to make the position of its owner shared and accessible through a web page like this:

If you decide to use a SPOT device (or other similar) on board your vessel, just configure your position as shared and give us the ‘glid’ code similarly to the above example URL. We will be then able to record your positions and display them on

If you are using any other satellite locator device, let us know of its details. We may be able to record your positions if you are willing to make them available through

5. AIS transponder/receiver on board, connected to the Internet

AIS transponders or receivers already installed on most vessels can be used as ‘mobile’ AIS receiving stations. If your vessel has a satellite Internet connection onboard, then the collected signals can be easily sent to our central server, with no additional cost or equipment. This method will not only enable the position reporting of your own vessel but for all the targets near your vessel.

All you have to do is to connect the serial output of your AIS transponder/receiver to a computer with Internet connectivity and run ‘AIS Dispatcher’ or ‘AIS Logger’ software to forward the data. The bandwidth consumption is minimal and should be not a concern about increasing the cost of satellite Internet subscriptions. Read more...

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