To get to the Solent Now page from the home page,
- click on About the Solent
- Click on Solent Now in the dropdown menu
The Solent Now page on this website is like a newspaper. It has a massive amount of content that can be accessed quite easily. Below we describe the first item, about Solent Shipping; how it works, and how to use it. To discover the Solent Now access to
A: the AIS plot.
This is an app from the Marine Traffic.com website.
The app is set to initially show the current state of the Solent. Each ship transmitting AIS data is shown as a little coloured dart if it moving, or a diamond if stationary. Below the map there is a list of the main options available. You can experiment with these without risk of making any permanent change. If you get into a tangle, just click on the refresh button (in yur browser) to restore the map to its original state.
In the summer months, the Solent plot can be totally confused by the number of yachts. It is often useful to uncheck the ‘yachts’ box so that the commercial shipping more clearly.
(If you want to know more about AIS, click here)
Here are a couple of examples of what you can do.
To see a larger area, click the minus sign on the zoom bar (at the top left of the map) a few times. The map should look something like the picture at the top of this blog.
Now you can clearly see the main shipping lanes in the Channel. Because of the Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS) at Ushant, the Casquets and Dover, most Channel shipping keeps to the south of the Channel when eastbound, and further north when westbound. Cross Channel shipping and yachts have to thread their way across both lanes. It is amazing that such a busy marine motorway is only just over the horizon south of the Isle of Wight.
Looking at European Shipping elsewhere:
Now click and hold on any empty part of the map and drag to the left till Rotterdam is visible. The amazing jumble of shipping around that port will now be visible. It is easy to find your way about Europe using the zoom and drag technique.
You can also use the search box. Try typing “Cherbourg” into the “Go to Port” box. The result should look like this.
Finding a ship
Let’s suppose you are meeting a friend travelling on the Queen Mary. To find out where she is now, just type “Queen Mary” into the “Go to ship” box. If there is more than one ship of the name you use, you will be offered a choice. Click on the box (in our example “Queen Mary 2”). When we did this, the plot showed the ship to be alongside in New York (and the track she took to get there).
The initial data box is also displayed .Click on the underlined text for more details about the ship
Remember: to get back to the basic Solent map, just close the data box and refresh your browser.
B: Solent Shipping
Below the AIS display, we give a link to a privately run Solent Shipping website. It offers lots of different views of shipping in the Solent, and also offers a chance for you to listen in to the port VHF channels. The easiest way is to click on Full Player in the Live Radio Box. Most people using Windows operating systems will find the Media Player option the easiest one to use. Channel 11 (Portsmouth) will come out of the left speaker, and Channel 12 (Southampton) out of the right speaker.
C: Arrivals and Departures
Below the Solent Shipping option we offer two links to the lists of ship movements direct from Southampton Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) and direct from Queen’s Harbourmaster (QHM) Portsmouth.