Are there any productive outlets for an aspiring shipwatcher?

I’m lucky enough to work from a flat with seaviews in Margate UK - so overlooking ships coming into/out of London Anchorage – and since Working From Home through covid have got into shipwatching: in that I am checking out passing ships through binoculars, crosschecking what I’m seeing through the MarineTraffic app.

Find it a nice way to pass some time, and wondering if there is any shipping-related, citizen-led journalism or Open-Source Intelligence style projects to contribute to, to make my new-found hobby a bit more ‘productive’?

I’m thinking along the lines of: since getting into shipwatching, I’ve found it really eye opening how many hydrocarbon- or chemical-containing ships are hanging about just off coastal towns and other high-population centres. If there any project collectively tracking these kind of mooring practices; noting potentially sus behaviour re. changing flags etc., or anything else a bit ‘activisty’?

Have you tried

Lots of fellow ship watchers on there sharing and posting photos of vessels, vessel histories and possibly locations to get great photographs/videos, perhaps someone there would know more about what you’re looking to get into as it seems to be a huge community.

Never knew that many folks gave a rats ass about watching the ships come and go like big steel lumbering wagon trains of the old west.


It might be from humans yearning for travel & a dream of being detached from whatever that holds us in one place. I had a discussion once with an elderly gentleman one morning while jogging on a levee on the westbank of New Orleans. The guy said since he was a boy he would go to the levees & watch the passing ships, tugs & barges. He had some boring job, I don’t remember what but he said he was intensely curious about where they were going, where they came from & the people on them. This was the days before smart phones but he did have a Times Picayune that listed the departure & arrival of ships on the lower Mississippi for the day. Maybe landlocked shipwatchers were mariners in previous lives & it still calls to them as it does to us?


Oh, yeah. I love that site. . . I just wish there were one that was more US flag based, but there are some great shots from “back in the day”. I have contributed a few myself. . . .

Hell, I have been known to sit on the levee in the morning and watch the ships go by. . . .


Interested in large yachts?

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Get a job in VTS :stuck_out_tongue:

Ships are extremely cool, never forget that.


Yeah, I need to take my camera back out and shoot some in Bolivar Roads and up around Morgan’s Point. It has been a bit.