Originally Posted by jackdale
Do not rely on MarineTraffic.com, it is NOT real time. I have also used it on my smartphone, but it does have a caveat on the web site.
If you want to know where big ships are, listen to your local Vessel Traffic Services on VHF.
Thanks Jack, To clarify. I don't rely on any single tool exclusively. The times that I have used Marine Traffic.com it's been useful. While it's not real time, It does offer me the opportunity to see the vessel's name, and it's most recent course and speed. Having the name, helps in contacting them directly. Ships are more likely to answer a direct call, than a general securite.
The Last time, I needed it, it came in quite handy, it picked up every big ship of concern..and I was able to communicate with them.