Where are we ???

One of the most often asked questions we hear is “where are you?” Most of the time we know the answer. Most blog posts are geo-coded, meaning they are associated with a lat/lon that will show the location that corresponds with the posting on a google map. There may however, be a gap between postings, and if you’re curious about our location “right now” there’s a way to find out.


Coastal Explorer Chartplotter screenshot

Maerin is equipped with an AIS (Automatic Identification System) transponder. This transponder transmits a VHF signal that includes data packets that show our lat/lon position, course, speed, MMSI number, vessel name, classification, and dimensions. It also receives signals from other vessels with AIS transponders, and that data is incorporated into the onboard electronics data network, appearing on our computer chartplotter, radar

¬†and our wifi network, showing all the vessels within a range of up to about 20 nm along with the data they transmit. This enables us to “see” vessels that may be out of our visual or radar sight line, thus showing vessels that are around bends or corners. The chartplotters also use that data to warn of collision courses, calculating CPA (closest point of approach) and TCPA (time to CPA) of vessels within range. It gives us time to adjust our course to keep a prudent distance between our vessel and others. It also displays the name of other vessels, a significant advantage when contacting other vessels by VHF to negotiate crossing situations and avoid last minute or confusing course changes.

Marine Traffic

Marine Traffic

Armchair cruisers can also make use of AIS technology through MarineTraffic.com, a website that displays AIS data on a map. By searching for a vessel name, or port, or simply a general location, you can view an area and see all the received data within range. Land-based receivers receive AIS/VHF signals, extract the AIS data and port the data to the internet where it is combined with data from other land-based stations then displayed on a chart or map that’s viewable on their website in real time. So, by going to the MarineTraffic.com website, one can simply enter the name of the vessel you’d like to locate, and if it’s currently transmitting AIS data within range of a land-based receiving station, it should show up on the map! You can run, but you can’t hide! Well, you can hide; we can turn the AIS off, but we typically have it on anytime we’re under way.

So, you can check on our whereabouts in real time by following the link to Marine Traffic. It’s interesting to see, check it out!

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