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Current Conditions > Ship Tracking

Automatic Identification System (AIS) Ship Traffic Map

This Google Map shows positions of vessels equipped with radio transmitters (generally large ships). Ship positions are determined by a series of receiver stations along the California coast. Each vessel's unique signal allows its name and type as well as speed and direction to be reported on our website. The red balloon marker shows the most recent position of the ship, with the previous trackline indicated by a line extending from marker. The map updates on every hour and at 20 minutes past each hour, showing the location of ships for the nearshore marine area from Pt. Arena to Pt. Conception as of those times. See further instructions below map if needed.


All Ships Fishing Tugs Pilot Military/Law enforcement Passenger Cargo Tankers Pleasure craft Research or Dredging
All other/unknown ship tracks are white.

To use this map:

  • Narrow down the ship types shown on the map by clicking one (or more) checkboxes next to ship types at top of page (default is all ship types)
  • Click on red map markers to view information on ship of interest
  • Or scroll down vessel information column on right and click vessel of interest to be taken to the ship location on the map
  • The trackline color corresponds to the type of ship being tracked, defined by the text color of the vessel type in the checkbox menu
  • Use map zoom bar to view more or less of the region, and change level of detail for ship tracks
  • The National Marine Sanctuary borders are shown in bright green, click within a border to view the sanctuary name.
  • The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary recommended shipping lanes for ships over 300 tons not carrying hazardous waste are the two cyan lines just seaward of the Monterey Bay. The thicker line is for southbound traffic and the thinner line is for northbound traffic.
  • The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary recommended shipping lanes for ships over 300 tons carrying hazardous waste are the two cyan lines the furthest offshore from Monterey Bay. The thicker line is for southbound traffic and the thinner line is for northbound traffic.
  • The pink/purple lines off of the mouth of the San Francisco Bay are the new Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) for San Francisco Bay.

    AIS data courtesy of the Naval Postgraduate School, Department of Oceanography