Easy Marine Traffic AIS sharing from your boat, FloatHub is first

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

14 Responses

  1. Christopher says:

    I use FloatHub as soon as I get my first play with Kickstarter.
    From the very beginning, it works nonstop without any problem.
    Next week I will connect AIS Em-Trak B-350.
    I use all 9 ports to control the boat.
    All data is available on the FloatHub website.

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks for the report, Christopher, but I think you mean that use all 9 ports to monitor the boat?
    One thing I’m pretty sure that FloatHub lacks compared to many other monitoring systems is the ability to activate relays.

    Also, FloatHub just sent this update about the cellular model:

    “We should be actually (actually!) selling cellular units in early July. We already shipped all the KickStarter cellular units, plus a couple of other sales/beta testers, but we have shipment of more components for proper inventory due on July 7. “

  3. Christopher says:

    Yes Ben I use to monitor the boat, sorry but my English is not perfect.
    I am in contact with the FloatHub Support Team, I have sent several proposals for amendments to the module.

  4. An interesting and timely article Ben. My vessel has just become a roaming receiving station for Marine Traffic, but I went a different way. I have been watching the dropping prices of cheap mini-Win 10 Pc’s with built-in Wi-Fi. I purchased one from China for AUD $130 (approx. US$100) including delivery. Marine Traffic provide a freeware application that runs as a service on Win 10. I simply plugged a USB lead from my Vesper Watchmate 850 to the PC, configured the Serial port and the app with the port details provided by Marine Traffic … the PC uses Wi-Fi to connect to my 4G router …and I was online …It’s been running for over a week now, no hassles. Totally agree about the benefits of being monitored by Marine Traffic full time regardless of the location of land based receiving stations … and all my nearby cruising mates are automatically monitored as well!

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Hi, Ian, and thanks for your AIS volunteer service. I think that most of the MT roaming stations already out there are using PC’s. Here are some examples doing good work in my area right now:



      But using a PC seems like overkill for simply converting AIS info into IP format and sending it to a server, and a possible point of failure in many cases.

      Actually I think it may be possible for Vesper or otherr AIS transciever manufacturers to built the function right in, and I like to think that at least Vesper has it on their road map 😉

      • Hi Ben, Yes, I used to think that about a PC as well, but these new mini-PCs are changing my mind. They are only 5 x 5 x 1 inch in size, they are fanless and diskless – so no moving parts. I have it operating without a screen as I can remote control into it from my iPad … so at a price below most task specific devices, I can setup a generic ‘processor’, and run the app of my choice to perform the task as required. In the future, I am in control of updates…. I can even change it’s task in the future …
        Totally agree that the obvious way forward for Vesper is to include this functionality in their wifi enabled AIS units … I keep looking at updating my Watchmate 850 to a new Vision. The watchmate has been ‘handsdown’ the best, most useful, piece of equipment I ever installed on my boat. Their anchor-watch functionality is tremendous.

  5. Christopher says:

    Ben, I’m sorry, it’s my fault.
    When writing about boat monitoring, I also use the Victron VRM online system.
    GSM / LTE communication is by Teletronica RUT240 and has been working for over a year without any problem.
    It’s the same router that Digital Yacht uses in the 4G Connect system.

  6. Just got mine – awesome – only have the AIS connected at the moment – but as far as setting up marinetraffic without the pass thru, it was as easy as clicking signup, and then opening a ticket with floathub who had it configured within 3 minutes!

  7. Larry Brandt says:

    Sharing AIS traffic over the internet seems a generous thing to do, and meanwhile there’s no harm to you and your vessel because you benefit from your live AIS display. But for the internet “downloadees” relying on internet AIS could be a different story entirely.

    I believe that internet AIS can be quite helpful as long as its limitations are respected. A couple years ago in the Puget Sound area I experienced (and documented) two major faults in internet AIS coverage that I experienced within a one-week period. I now use those examples in my AIS presentations to advise *strongly* against relying on internet AIS for collision avoidance, For general situational awareness, OK; but when your life is on the line in restricted viz, No Way. In both my examples I was receiving Marine Traffic via T-Mobile cellular data, which probably added to the latency I experienced; and the 30 second transmission cycle of Class-B was in one case partly to blame. But in one instance it was a Washington State Ferry’s Class A that was considerably delayed. In fact, I had already driven onto the ferry, but Marine Traffic showed my very vessel still about a mile out from docking. In restricted visibility such errors could very well contribute to collision and loss of life.

  1. August 30, 2018

    […] The biggest challenge I’ve encountered while using Nebo is remembering to start it when I begin my voyage and end it when I’m done.  A problem I’ve had with other tracking functions as well, though as I’ve used them longer I’ve built them into my routines.  Nebo has a feature where once it notices you’ve stopped moving it asks if your voyage is over and tracking should be shut off.  It’s harder for Nebo to figure out when your trip starts.  Stephen Winter says they are currently evaluating relatively inexpensive hardware that could be installed on the boat solely for the purpose of transmitting tracking data.  Nebo is also evaluating working with existing hardware like FloatHub and building off their ability to send data to AIS tracking services. […]

  2. September 4, 2018

    […] and then monitoring enjoyment (onboard too). Seen above are voltage screens from Gizmo’s test FloatHub and Nautic Alert systems, but similar are available from Siren Marine, Boat Command, Maretron and […]

  3. September 12, 2019

    […] station only includes 90 days of tracking — and both are good reasons why you should consider setting up a station at your home, business, or […]

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published.