Information for Cruising San Francisco Bay

Electronics and web information help travelers make a safe passage in San Francisco Bay.

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San Francisco Bay is an incredible playground for recreational yachtsmen. But the visiting cruiser should be familiar with its challenges, too. Wind, fog, currents, and commercial traffic will factor into your fun, so be prepared. For weather help, check the Tiburon Yacht Club's website (www.tyc.org)—they upload new local weather data every five minutes. SFGate.com (www.sfgate.com) also offers an animated fog forecast. And if there was ever a place that cried out for good radar equipment, it's San Francisco Bay. Though it can't track all vessels in all conditions, it's a huge help in the kind of foggy weather that frequently hits the Bay area. Likewise, AIS technology has its pros and cons, but if you're even toying with the notion of adding AIS Class B to your electronics suite, you may want to visit some of the websites (listed below) that offer live ship tracking for San Francisco Bay.

You'll get a taste of just how much information an AIS receiver can relay to your bridge, including vessel names, characteristics, course and speed-all of these can give you an extra edge when navigating busy ports. But, of course, not every vessel transmits AIS data, so there's no substitute for keeping a good watch.