While we understand the curiosity seekers who are interested in knowing which boats are heading in or who that megayacht is across the harbor, the first thing that comes to mind is that it’s kind of creepy.
Exactly. And it’s not just Newport Harbor that you can see using the AIS widget – you can pull up any location using Google Maps and see who’s there.
Isn’t part of the fun of sailing the ability to unshackle oneself from modern technology? How is that possible if people can track your location at any moment? (And, as CC notes, it could cause problems when you call in “sick” to work to spend a day on the water). It’s not like AIS is broadcasting our social security or credit card numbers, but being able to be tracked at any time is unsettling.
On the other hand, AIS is extremely useful to sailors. Is it worth the loss of privacy? What do you think?