Ships and Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) primarily use the Automatic Identification System (AIS) for vessel identification and location. With AIS, ships may electronically communicate with other adjacent vessels and VTS stations to provide information about their title, location, course, and speed.

There are three types of AIS equipment for a shipboard fitting: Class A, Class B, and Receive. Class A is designed for boats when the fitting is required. Class A transmits higher power, frequency, and volume than Class B.