The Discovery Channel show “Deadliest Catch” is recorded over several months of crab fishing during the winter and broadcast during the spring every year. By the time the show premieres in April, most of the boats are actually finished crab fishing for the season. So, how can you keep up with your favorite Deadliest Catch boats while they’re actually fishing? By using MarineTraffic.com. (MT)
With marinetraffic.com you can track a vessels while they are in the port of Dutch Harbor. The site currently does not track them once they leave the area. However, there is much you can do with the site. You can sign up for a free account that will allow you to build your own database of vessels. You can then set up alerts around your favorite boats to be alerted through text and email messages as they come in and out of range.
Marinetraffic.com allows you to track vessel positions based on AIS data (automatic identification system), this system along with marine radar are the primary methods used to avoid collisions for water transportation. AIS transceiver sends data every 2 to 10 seconds depending on a vessel’s speed while underway, and every 3 minutes while a vessel is at anchor, as long as the vessel has the transceiver turned on.
On the home page of marinetraffic.com you will find a live map and navigation area. This map of the world shows all reporting vessels; each green square shows a number which represents how many vessels are in that area. You can double click a square to zoom into the area or use the navigation panel on the left. If you type “Dutch Harbor” into the “Go to Port…” field you’ll quickly see “Dutch Harbor” pop up. The third box is for a certain vessel, type in the name of the vessel you are searching for and the system will tell you whether the boat is out of range or it will take you to the map directly related to the vessels location.
On top you will see four tabs – Live map, Vessels, Port and Gallery. Live map is the main page with the world map; Vessels & Ports tabs are a way to search for any registered vessel and most ports. The Gallery tab is a collection of photos submitted by members. Take a look at some of these beautiful boats! The tall ships are amazing.
Under the Live map tab there is four subfolders – world map, cover your area, FAQ file and Services. World map takes you back to the full coverage map, Cover your area is for those who want an AIS receiver and FAQ is of course, “frequently asked questions” answered. The final tab is useful as it contains apps for smart phones (for a fee), the ability to embed a map, Google earth, lighthouse directory, receiving stations and a discussion area.
Maybe the best feature of marinetraffic.com is the “My Fleet” section at the top. This is where you can register with MT and set up your fleet. You sign up your favorite boats by entering their Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number, a unique ID number for each vessel or click the tiny (?) sign on the bottom right to search out your vessel’s MMSI number. At the bottom of this post you can find these numbers for each Deadliest Catch vessel. Once you have added all your boats go back to the live map. Click the box called “my Fleet” and all the other boats disappear except for the vessels in your fleet file.
Hover your mouse over the boat and an Information box will pop up. Information includes ship type, status, speed/course, and click to see the tracking of the vessel. On the right side there is a photo, along with links to vessels details and more photos. Click on all information and you will get all the links available including a great new feature of “add this to my fleet”. The vessels detail page is great if you want more information about your boat.
Another sub-folder within “My Fleet” is Notifications & Alerts. Here you add your favorite vessels to be alerted by emails and/or SMS text alerts when they come in and out of range of the system. “My points” allow your to list points of interest for others to see on the map and SMS alerts is where you sign up for text alerts to be sent directly to your smart phone. The cost is minimal, around $20 for 100 credits – each text being 1 credit.
With the map you have two ways to look at your ports – as a general map or through satellite from Google earth. Just a note that Google earth is a general photo, although they say it’s a certain vessel anchored in port, the photo is an older photo and might not be that vessel.
There are other sites that allow you to see the fleet as it is arriving and departing Dutch Harbor, but only in frame by frame still shots. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has several weather webcams here. Dutch Harbor has three cameras; Dutch Ballyhoo, Dutch haystack and Dutch NDB. Deadliest Catch fans can watch the boats move around the harbor on marinetraffic.com then turn to the cameras in order to actually “see” the boats traveling.
Marinetraffic.com can act strange at times and often goes down. It can be kind of “wonky” so you have to be patient. However, it can also be fun to track your favorite boats. If you are interested in more info about Deadliest Catch, visit www.DeadliestCatchFan.com. Special thanks to Mary Beth for writing this article. I did edit the content so if there are any mistakes, they are probably mine. Mary Beth is one of the moderators on DeadliestCatchfan.com and one of the most knowledgeable folks around in all things Deadliest Catch.
MMSI numbers for DC boats:
Cornelia Marie 367142080
Cape Caution 8853374
Time Bandit 338564000
Ramblin Rose 366845000