Vessel Traffic Services VTS

Vessel Traffic Services  (VTS) provide active monitoring and navigational advice for vessels in particularly confined and busy waterways.

There are two main types of VTS, surveilled and non-surveilled.

Surveilled systems consist of one or more land-based “sensors” which output their signals to a central HQ location where operators monitor and manage vessel traffic movement. They coordinate with large vessels, pilots and masters of any vessel transitting the area.

VTS can issue weather and navigation information. They can also advise of local conditions such as actual tidal levels vs predicted tides.

Vessel Traffic Services VTS ship safety can monitor vessel movement via

  • radar
  • radio
  • visual lookout
  • AIS
  • CCTV (closed circuit television sites)

Non-surveilled systems consist of one or more reporting points at which ships are required to report their identity, course, speed and other data to the monitoring authority.

VTS encompass a wide range of techniques and capabilities aimed at preventing vessel collisions, rammings, and groundings in the harbour, harbour approaches and inland waterway phase of navigation. They are also designed to expedite ship movements, increase transportation system efficiency, and improve all-weather operating capability.

VHF-FM communications network forms the basis of most major services.

Vessels transiting areas make position reports at specified “reporting positions” to the vessel traffic service control room by radiotelephone and are in turn provided with accurate, complete, and timely navigational safety information.

Additionally a network of radars, AIS, and closed circuit television cameras for surveillance and computer-assisted tracking, similar to that used in air traffic control, allows the VTS to play a more significant role in marine traffic management.

This decreases vessel congestion, critical encounter situations, and the probability of a marine casualty resulting in environmental damage.

Vessel Traffic Services VTS information is available on charts and publications, including location, reporting points, and contact details.