The AIS is an automatic tracking system that uses transponders on ships and is used by vessel traffic services. Through AIS, ships broadcast information such as identification, position, course, and speed, which can be picked up by other nearby vessels or AIS receivers. This data exchange bolsters maritime safety helpfully, preventing collisions and fostering efficient traffic management in busy sea lanes.

AIS solutions are indispensable for seafarers aiming at a collision-free and well-informed journey. With the dynamic marine environment, quick decision-making is often required, and AIS apps provide actual data to make those decisions accurate and timely. With many regions mandating the use of AIS for certain vessel types, compliance with local and international maritime regulations is another compelling reason to use these technologies.


Criteria for Selection

Maritime operations often span across various oceans and seas. The AIS software must have comprehensive coverage of the areas you navigate. Inadequate coverage can result in blind spots, which are particularly risky in high-traffic or challenging navigational territories.

AIS Apps Software SolutionsAn AIS application should furnish a level of detail that is conducive to understanding the maritime picture around you fully. This includes information on vessel type, speed, course, and destination. The quality of data, such as the reliability of vessel positions and the frequency of updates, is equally important to making informed navigational decisions.

Applications must be intuitive to navigate and present information in a clear and easily digestible manner. This minimizes the cognitive load on the seafarer and allows for quick access to necessary data.

AIS software should be capable of alerting users to situations that require immediate attention, such as the close approach of another vessel or changes in a vessel’s course or speed that may indicate potential danger. The capability to customize these alerts based on individual needs and preferences is highly beneficial.

The chosen AIS solution must be compatible with other navigational tools and systems available on the vessel. AIS applications should integrate smoothly with existing hardware and software, allowing for a cohesive and efficient navigational experience.

The AIS app or software must demonstrate reliability, maintaining functionality in various conditions, including poor weather and harsh marine environments. A solution that fails under challenging conditions is unsuitable for a critical safety system like AIS.

Providers should offer timely and helpful assistance for any technical issues encountered. Frequent updates to the software are necessary to address bugs, improve functionality, and incorporate the latest AIS features and advancements.

Ensure that the AIS software adheres to the standards set by maritime authorities and effectively communicates with other AIS-equipped vessels and stations.


Top AIS Apps and Software Solutions



The platform offers an extensive array of features that make it possible for users to obtain live shipping data and historical information on vessel movements globally. The interactive map interface presents the real-time location of ships, allowing seafarers to visualize the traffic in a specific area, which is particularly useful for route planning and avoiding potential collisions. Users can also access port activity, which becomes a vital resource for shipping companies and logistics managers.

The application provides important services for those engaged in the shipping industry at large, such as charterers, agents, or even enthusiasts. The capability to search for individual vessel details, such as tonnage, draft, and ownership, paves the way for comprehensive maritime surveillance. With MarineTraffic, maritime professionals can monitor and manage vessel operations, ensuring timely and efficient transits.

The depth and breadth of data provided by MarineTraffic may require a subscription for full functionality. Users who need to access historical voyage data or seek advanced vessel tracking features will find the subscription service indispensable. The potential benefits in terms of enhanced maritime operational efficiency and safety often justify the investment.


Ship Finder

Ship Finder has a current-time view of ships around the world, complemented by an appealing visual interface that makes it straightforward to use. Users can quickly identify vessels in their vicinity and access details on ship dimensions, current voyage status, and even photos of the vessels.

Augmented Reality (AR) users can point their smartphone or tablet’s camera toward the horizon, and on-screen overlays will display information about the ships in view. This innovative use of technology brings a new dimension to AIS tracking and provides additional context and understanding of the marine environment.

While some professionals may seek more detailed voyage and historical data, the straightforward design and features tailored to casual observers make Ship Finder a robust option for those who require instant maritime awareness without the complexity or cost barriers present in more professional-grade tools.



Targeting the professional sector of the maritime industry, this software is tailored to deliver precision and meticulous data for fleet monitoring and operational management. The platform’s strength lies in the accuracy of its AIS data, ensuring that users have a reliable source of information for navigation decision-making, and strategic planning.

The user interface of VesselFinder is designed to accommodate the needs of shipping professionals who require a hassle-free and swift way to access precise information. The advanced search functionality and customizable alerts make it a practical option for fleet managers and maritime operators who need to stay informed about their vessels’ movements. Historical data and voyage information provided by VesselFinder serve as a significant asset for planning and analysis, thereby optimizing vessel routes and improving turnaround times.

While VesselFinder offers many advanced features that are centered around the needs of professional users, it might be perceived as overly technical for those who do not require such a high level of maritime operational insight. For users who value data accuracy, detailed analytics, and effective fleet management, VesselFinder presents a compelling solution that can significantly contribute to the efficacy and safety of maritime operations.



Users can track vessels across the globe in real-time, gleaning information such as course, speed, and current location alongside a variety of ship details. Seafarers and enthusiasts alike can upload photos and videos of ships, share experiences, and even engage in discussions. The app effectively creates an interactive environment where information sharing extends beyond functional data.

MyShipTracking provides supplementary navigational information that includes expected port arrivals and departures, alongside weather reports. This additional information can be paramount for seafarers in preparing for upcoming conditions and adjusting their plans accordingly. 

Potential users must consider the app’s focus on community engagement and whether this aligns with their preferences. Professional seafarers requiring a more focused and data-heavy approach to ship tracking might find these features less pertinent. 



Renowned for its advanced chart plotting capabilities, the application provides a seamless experience that translates the functionality of a full-scale navigation system into a portable format suitable for handheld devices. By offering AIS data overlays on high-quality marine charts, iNavX provides a detailed, dynamic navigational aid that caters to rigorous maritime navigation requirements.

The application hosts an extensive selection of navigational charts from prominent global and regional hydrographic offices, which users can purchase and download directly onto their devices. These charts, coupled with iNavX’s suite of navigational tools, allow users to plot courses and waypoints, measure distances, and obtain important navigational warnings, making it an indispensable tool for serious navigators. The software’s ability to integrate with other onboard navigation equipment affords a comprehensive and synchronized navigation system that promotes well-informed decision-making at sea.

Prospective users should be mindful of the investment required, both financially and in terms of time to master the intricate functionalities of iNavX. Casual users or those in need of a more straightforward AIS tracking system might find it too complex. The professional-grade features and thorough integration capabilities make iNavX a top recommendation for anyone in search of a powerful marine navigation app.



The app excels in combining current-time AIS information with advanced meteorological data, providing a dual advantage for seafarers looking to optimize their voyages based on current conditions and forecasted weather. This approach is ideal for long-range planning and weather routing for vessels, especially for those engaged in sailing where meteorological data is as important as AIS information.

SailGrib offers features that cater to the specific requirements of sailboats, such as importing GRIB files for detailed wind and ocean current forecasts. This capability allows users to conduct thorough planning and choose the most efficient routes based on wind patterns and tidal streams—necessary  aspects for maximizing sailing performance. The app’s customizable maps and charts are tailored to address the particular preferences of individual sailors, ensuring that the display of information is pertinent and easily interpretable.

Users should gauge their comfort level with employing advanced navigational and meteorological data before adopting SailGrib. For seafarers who value an analytical approach to sailing and the meticulous planning of sea journeys, SailGrib is a robust, data-focused solution that delivers accurate forecasting and navigational precision.


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