Live Ships on San Francisco Bay

The animation below shows the most recent one hour of ship movements on San Francisco Bay, compressed to one minute. You will observe container ships, oil tankers, ferries, pilot boats, tugs, and more, as they travel the SF Bay Area. These ship positions come from the AIS transponders that all commercial ships over 60 feet are required to have.

The Exploratorium is a public learning laboratory in San Francisco exploring the world through science, art, and human perception.

About AIS Ship Tracking

The animation above uses ship position, speed, and destination information received by radio from AIS (Automatic Identification System) transmitters that are required on most commercial ships.

We collect this data through the courtesy of Hi-Def San Francisco, which operates receivers in Sausalito and Berkeley.

Note: We have no control over any of this information; we are simply reporting what the ships transmit. Often, the information beyond position, speed, and direction is not correctly entered by the ship’s officers, and thus incorrect information may be reported here.