Given the relative size difference between cruising boats and merchant vessels, any help we can get understanding their operations helps.
Some of that can come from current affairs sources such as gCaptain and the US Coast Guard NavCen. And while “stay far away from the big guys” is generally Strategy One, tactically it can be difficult to employ if a major port or control zone or traffic lane are on the chart one is using.
I suggest it would be worth a bit of one’s time to jump over to the US Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) site and see what’s in the works. Perhaps most importantly, the efforts to increase the use of merchant shipping to take the pressure off clogged near coastal highway systems. Especially interesting is Secretary LaHood’s newest report on Coasts and Waterways usage, America’s Marine Highway.
AIS looks even more attractive…
*with a nod to Roger Miller, 1936-1992