Ranson’s site looks at everything from BC Ferries vessel locations to cars racing across Mongolia. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com

Ranson’s site looks at everything from BC Ferries vessel locations to cars racing across Mongolia. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com

Vancouver Island website tracks progress of Island-Class ferry and other vessels

Site creator ‘can’t resist programming’

A man from Patricia Bay is tracking the progress of the new Island-Class ferry bound for Campbell River as it makes its way through the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and up the west coast of North America before arriving in Victoria.

There’s a lot to explore on Jay Ranson’s website. While the position of the new ferry is interesting to people from Campbell River, people spending more than a few minutes on patbaywebcam.com can get lost in things like the rate of ice melt in Greenland, live lightning strikes in B.C., COVID-19 cases, freighters that are anchored in the Southern Gulf Islands, historical earth quakes and how to make sourdough bread in a day.

RELATED: New ferry for Campbell River – Quadra Island on its way under its own power

“When they were doing the blue bridge down in Victoria, I tracked all the ships that were supplying the steel for that. I’ve tracked cars racing across Mongolia, anything that somebody… once you get a response from people, they really appreciate knowing where their friends are and where their family is,” Ranson said. “We did one back just last year when the Coast Guard ship Jacques Cartier went from Victoria to Nova Scotia. I started exchanging emails with the captain and the family sitting there in Nova Scotia following the tracking, and it is just fun.

“Once you set up the templates and everything, it’s not such a big deal,” he added. “I can’t resist programming.”

To track vessels, Ranson uses data from public ship tracking websites. However, his subscription allows him to get more in depth than other people, which allows him to keep track of where the ships have been and to track them once they leave inshore areas. He also accesses live cameras of the Panama Canal when the vessel arrives in order to make a time-lapse video of the vessel as it passes from Atlantic to Pacific.

“You always get… opportunities on the passages to get some good time lapse videos. Of course that all depends on the weather, the conditions and the time of the day, which channel you go through. It’s kind of hit or miss,” he said. “I do a lot of post processing to try and get the best I can. Sometimes it’s just sort of a glimpse. People are happy with that. Otherwise they’d never see it.”

The data is archived on the site for future reference.

Ranson started the site around 20 years ago after a friend asked him where Coast Guard vessels go after they leave the port near his home.

“I said ‘what the heck, we’ll just track em,’” he said.

Over the past few decades, he has amassed quite a following of people who want his data for some reason or another.

“Then the windsurfers, kite surfers, pilots, it’s just unbelievable the number of people who have some reason to be interested in what’s going on out here,” he said. “I like to share it.”

Live tracking of the Island 3 vessel is available at http://patbaywebcam.com/island3.php.

RELATED: Campbell River city council backs BC Ferries move away from fossil fuels



marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

bc ferryCampbell RiverNewsvancouverisland

Just Posted

Chemainus Secondary School 2021 graduate and valedictorian Chayla Pollock receives her certificate from principal Lori Hryniuk. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Valedictorian Pollock’s address to the Class of 2021

Different kind of setting in a classroom for the traditional presentation

Chemainus Secondary School 2021 graduate Nina Bumstead. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Grad ceremony proceeds, with a twist

Red carpet outside works out well for Chemainus Secondary’s Class of 2021

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

Chemainus street signs now contain Hul’qumi’num translations, like this one at the corner of Willow and Legion Streets. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Street signs go up in the Hul’qumi’num language

Chemainus intersections feature direct translations

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

Most Read