By: Blonde Two

Have you ever been on a coast path walk (perhaps the South West Coast Path) and wondered about the names of boats and ships you see along the way? Well help is at hand in the form of the Marine Traffic website. It’s really easy to use and offers hours of family outdoor entertainment. All you do is zoom the map in on your location and use your directional knowledge to pinpoint the vessel you’re looking at.

Marine traffic in Tor Bay

Brixham is home to one of the UK’s largest fishing ports so we’re used to seeing the trawlers coming and going (especially those of us who like to bivvy along the coast). During more usual times we are occasionally visited by one of the big cruise ships. These aren’t normal times however so the cruise ships are arriving and staying in our gentle waters. We have several visitors at the moment. Like giant guardians of the Bay, they have been watching over my morning sea swims for a while now.

Cruise ship Top Trumps

Not only does the Marine Traffic app tell you the names vessels, it also gives you some interesting information about each one (perfect for a game of Top Trumps). Right now (Wednesday) for example, I can tell that the Zandamm (237 metres and 20 years old) is sending a tender into Torquay Harbour on a course of 3 degrees and at a speed of 3 knots. The Queen Mary II on the other hand (345 metres and 17 years old) is anchored about 3 kilometres off Maidencombe, where I am hoping to take a photo of her when I go to meet Blonde One later.

Inland boats

It’s easy to forget boats also travel on inland waterways. By zooming out on the maritime map you can see evidence of this. This might be useful for boat spotting if you’re walking the Thames Path or even wandering around Edinburgh. Zoom out even further and you might be surprised to see how far inland Europe’s waterways go. Russia offers the most surprises with waterways extending right into Siberia. It is also fascinating to see how far up some of Norway’s fjords boat traffic can pass.

You might be pleased to know there aren’t currently any big ships sailing across Dartmoor!