Tracking boats with Google Maps

It’s been a two years since I built the “Where is” map service to allow others to follow along, when I was a crew member on Belage, sailing to Hobart. Since then, Google has made it much easier for mere mortals to mark up a map and sharing it with others. Also, the resolution of satellite imaging on Google has much improved over that time.

So here is a short tutorial showing how simple it is to build your own “Where is My Boat” page. The only thing you’ll need is a Google login (a Gmail account), which is easy to get and free.

Step 1

Go to and click on My Maps


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Click for larger mapApart from writing here more or less regularly, I have also started capturing information about places where we’ve been. Click on the map for more details or you can see a list on the right.

Not sure how this will evolve or how useful it will be to others, time will tell.

Comments or contributions are most welcome. Use the comments here or send me an email at “marius at coomans dot com”.


We made more progress toward a more consistent feel for the entire site, while keeping the critical “entry” pages small in size and compatible with as many browsers, including those on mobile devices.

Also, the system will keep you logged in for an extended period so you’ll only rarely asked for a log in.

Much remains to be done, but the site is quite functional now. I hope to improve site documentation in the coming week.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does require the installation or purchase of any special equipment?

Yes and No. While does not require any special equipment, it assumes that a boat’s position is known (usually by using a GPS) and that Internet access is available (position reports are entered via a private web page).

Can I submit position reports via email (and Sailmail)

Not yet, we expect that feature to be available by end April. In the meantime, why not send emails to a trusted friend on shore for entry into the website?

How much does it cost?

It’s free.

Will it always be free, how do you make your money?

We expect to always have a basic service which is free but in future supported by advertisements. We may launch a premium service later which will have a subscription fee. But for the moment it’s more important that we build a service which our users value.

Will you expect my privacy?

Of course. We will never share your contact details. We will not send you unsollicited emails except where needed to maintain the integrity of the system.

Is this all there is?

No way! We’re just starting. Check this weblog regularly for updates.

Why are you doing this?

Because it’s there.