AIS: ship positions in the Netherlands

How busy are the Dutch waterways? Thanks to the Automatic Identification System (AIS), many ships know where they sail and how busy certain places are. Use the map below to find out how busy the regions are.


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NOTE: It is important to know that AIS software, such as in these apps and on the Water Map, is not 100% real time. After all, the data must be collected, processed and displayed and can therefore reflect the situation of a few minutes ago. You can therefore only use this data for information purposes, for navigation you really rely on your own AIS transponder on board. Only with this can you see the real-time ship movements in your immediate vicinity.




What is AIS?

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) was invented to increase safety on the water.

It works with a transponder mounted on board a ship and broadcasts the basic data of a ship. You can then think of the name, size, ship type and destination. But also things like sailing speed, course and especially the position. This makes it an supplement to the radar that many ships have on board. Because AIS is hardly hindered by tall buildings, trees and bridges. Thanks to the course and position data, it is immediately clear where a ship is sailing.

In 2003, the system was therefore introduced worldwide and made mandatory in the Netherlands for all commercial shipping. But because AIS requires a relatively simple transponder costing a few hundred euros and which can easily be connected to the antennas that many boats already have on board, the system is becoming increasingly popular among water sports enthusiasts. There are already around fourteen thousand ships sailing around the Netherlands with an AIS transponder on board.

Thanks to apps such as Marinetraffic or Waterkaart Live you can see the AIS positions of all those ships on your mobile phone. The data in those apps comes from the owners of so-called terrestrial AIS stations: equipped with only an AIS receiver - so no transponder - and an internet connection.



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Water Map Live is the water website and app of the Netherlands. Here you will find the most important information that you need as a nautical professional, water sports enthusiast, swimmer, water lover or weather enthusiast. Fast and complete.

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