Coast Guard VTS Tour Photos

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California DB Admin
Database Admin
Oct 31, 2004
San Diego, CA
These aren't mine, but while searching around in response to the coast guard helicopters thread I stumbled across this great and enlightening write-up on the US Coast Guard Sector San Francisco - Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) facility on Yerba Buena Island.

Libations Too - Racing

Scroll about half way down the page to "August 2007 - Vessel Traffic Service - Sector San Francisco Tour."

Vessel Traffic Service serves the SF Bay Area on two channels: Marine Ch 12 for the shipping lanes west of the Golden Gate Bridge, and Marine Ch 14 for traffic inside the San Francisco Bay. The VTS controller gives reports of all known traffic every 30 minutes.

The screens display AIS data (Automatic Identification System), and you can see live AIS data for free here:

Live Ships Map - AIS - Vessel Traffic and Positions

I'm not that familiar with AIS, but I've monitored VTS on and off for a while and always enjoy seeing what it looks like on the other side of the mic.


Founder and CEO
Staff member
Super Moderator
Dec 9, 2000
San Antonio, Whitefish, New Orleans
I lived on Yerba Buena Island back in 1983-1984 and routinely as a child would ride my bike up to the VTS, knock on that front entrance, and be granted access to the facility. They also had a candy machine in the front lobby where we would all purchase stuff from! They would let me in to watch the radar scopes (back then, it looked like a ATC facility with old green scope radar screens). To this day I remember the noise the radar made while spinning on top of the tower.

Great place to live.

Incidentally, I visited the island today while was able to show my family where I lived on YBI.
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