A Marine Traffic Snapshot

What kind of traffic is sailing across our oceans and waterways on planet Earth? Let’s take a look.

This is one snapshot, on one spring day in March (during a Pandemic), taken from Marine Traffic. This is an interesting peek into what’s going on in our oceans one any given day.

Pleasure Craft

These ocean vessels are typical yachts, sailboats, catamarans, speedboats, and/or tourism-based boats.

Fishing Vessels

The data for fishing vessels seems to be much less available than the pleasure craft – types, names, mission and even destinations seem to be kept a little more quiet. One might conclude giving away fishing destination information would be detrimental in the competitive marketplace, or perhaps there are other reasons. We can assume these are standard fishing vessels, trawlers, long liners and gill net, but information is not available as to which or how many.


Tankers appear to create a fair amount of traffic on the oceans these days. Routes appear to be quite direct and established, especially in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, along the Western Pacific Coast of the Americas.

Cargo Vessels

During a worldwide Pandemic, this is the traffic for cargo ships sailing all over the world. Trade, buy, sell, etc. are alive and well today, with purchases made online and worldwide availability.

Why Does Marine Traffic Matter?

From a general interest perspective, you might be surprised to see how many vessels are on the high seas, and particularly which type. More interesting, the pattern of traffic is of interest. Cargo vessels may prove that the world is truly connected and the markets for cargo are strong. Will this change once the pandemic is “over”? Will this be the new normal?

From the Eyes of…

  • An Economist – business appears to be quite busy on cargo, fishing, and tanker traffic. Once gain, did this change much with the pandemic, as in – is traffic higher because many are playing “catch up”?
  • An Environmentalist – the focus of fishing vessels is interesting as to where the focal points of the industry lie. The constant traffic might be of interest to those tracking marine animal migrations, especially Open Ocean pelagic species.
  • A Traveler – if you are looking for an interesting place to visit, the hotspots around the world are pretty clear here. Maybe your next vacation will take you to one of these sailing destination ports.

Whatever your interest, marine traffic is alive and well, and it’s interesting to take a look outside our window and see what’s going on in the greatest source of planet Earth’s resources – the ocean.