Global AI Ship Traffic for MSFS: GAIST Ultra Version 5

PreviewThe latest version 5 of the GAIST global ship, boat, and maritime traffic add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2020 release.  Bring the seas to life with this free-to-download, free-to-use package.  This ultra version enriches coastal and global maritime routes by significantly expandin...

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Country Global (World)
Download hits
Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2020 Release
File size
3.13 GB
Virus Scan
Scanned 19 days ago (clean)
Access to file
Free (Freeware)
Content Rating
5 star rating.

Rated 5 out of 5 stars by 27 PRO members.

The latest version 5 of the GAIST global ship, boat, and maritime traffic add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2020 release.  Bring the seas to life with this free-to-download, free-to-use package.  This ultra version enriches coastal and global maritime routes by significantly expanding the diversity and realism of ship traffic within the simulator.

Hanjin container ship in MSFS.

Key features

The latest v5 expands on the previous release with the notable points below.

  • Expanded Ship Roster: Now boasting around 1,000 unique ship models and nearly 2,000 distinct appearances including repaints, this version significantly enhances maritime realism across all virtual seas.
  • Increased Route Coverage: Experience enhanced traffic density with expanded global coverage, ensuring a dynamic and varied marine environment wherever you navigate.
  • Performance Optimizations: Routes are now optimized in their packing, ensuring smoother performance and quicker load times at the onset of each flight scenario.
  • New Ship Categories: Notable additions include several cruise ships, an array of fishing vessels from the Americas, and a surge in the fleet of ultra-large container ships and oil tankers.
  • Enhanced Naval and Ferry Operations: With over 300 ferry models accurately following their real-world routes and naval exercises featuring global navy forces, engage in diverse maritime operations.
  • Real-world Events: Participate in global maritime events such as NATO naval exercises, the Tall Ship and around-the-world sail races, and more immersive, event-centric experiences.

US Coastguard displayed in the new version.

Technical Enhancements in GAIST Ultra V5

  • Improved model Level of Detail (LOD) to boost graphical performance without compromising the quality.
  • Unified global route directory for streamlined data management.
  • Rich variety of ships including specialized models for Coast Guard, ferries, and leisure vessels across diverse global locales.

This version not only increases the quantity and variety of ships but also enhances user experience through detailed attention to performance and realism. Whether it's witnessing a full-scale military exercise or exploring busy fishing lanes, each session promises a fresh and authentic sea-faring adventure.

P&O Ferry

Official Description

This is Version 5.0 of the Global AI Ship Traffic Ultra. Hundreds of new ships have been added since the last version bringing the number of unique ship models to around 1000 and the number of ships including repaints close to around 2000. The route coverage has been expanded increasing traffic density though the focus is as usual to have a diverse ship traffic according to what you could see in each region. Routes have been packed differently to improve performance at the start of a new flight.

Among the new models in this version are several new cruise ships, and different types of fishing boats from in particular North and South America complementing the existing fleet of regional fishing vessels from around the world. Also, the increasing number of ultra-large containerships is reflected with new models the fleet of oil and gas tankers expanded, and a number of ferries have been included in particular in the Pacific Northwest and in North Europe.

BCFerries ferry from the simulator.

More than three hundred ferry routes are covered with their specific ferries, and you will find naval exercises with Navy ships from most regions. Watch a full-scale NATO landing exercise on the West Coast of the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark or the Brazilian or Chinese navies doing the same in their respective areas. Watch the departure of a Tall Ship race from Saint-Malo, Kiel, or Sandefjord or an around-the-world sail race departing from Gothenburg... Go looking for Maersk Alabama in the exact spot she was attacked by pirates on the coast of Somalia as later depicted in the movie Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks. More than 40.000 ship movements ensure that the sea is no longer empty.

This package provides global ship traffic for coastal areas as well as some of the main intercontinental maritime routes. More than 300 ferry models serve their real-life routes. Fishing boats and ship traffic are done with locally relevant models.

Compared to previous versions V5 has

  • Improved loading performance
  • All global routes now joined in one folder
  • More ships including among other Coast Guard units for the US, Canada, the Netherlands, and the UK... 
  • More fishing vessels... 
  • More ferries including new models and routes on the English Channel, in the Meditteranean, along the US and Canadian East and West Coast, in the Baltic Sea, in the Java Sea... 
  • More yachts and sailboats
  • More dense traffic in general
  • More models with LOD implemented for performance improvement

Baleria Ferry displayed in MSFS.

More than three hundred ferry routes are covered with their specific ferries, and you will find naval exercises with Navy ships from most regions. Watch a full-scale NATO landing exercise on the West Coast of the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark or the Brazilian or Chinese navies doing the same in their respective areas. Watch the departure of a Tall Ship race from Saint-Malo, Kiel, or Sandefjord or an around-the-world sail race departing from Gothenburg or Les Sables de Olonne...

Models and textures by Erwin Welker, Jean-Pierre Fillion, Knud Kristoffersen, Martin Rueedi, Larry Robinson, Dexter, Milton Shupe, Manfred Siedler, Bernardo Barroso, Paul Donnelly, Finn Kristoffer, Didier ‘‘Lagaffe’’ Puentes, Andrew Thomsen, Kevair, Robystar, Antonio Diaz, Sebastien Viale, Alberto Garcia, Cxema, Pascal Dumat, Rick Keller, Lazarus Starkweather, Dave Garwood, Darren Lane, Jan de Jong, Wildlynxpilot, Sir Topham Hatt, Phaxmodels, Henrik Nielsen, and more

A great thank also to the many beta testers and a special thanks to the shipping company DFDS  for providing documentation to make realistic models of their fleet of passenger and freight ferries and to DGzRS Die Seenotretter for allowing to model their 28m rescue boat Nis Randers. You can find more information about their see rescue operation and support them here:

Avel Vad boat.

Known issues

  • Models do not have hard decks - they will eventually be reintroduced later
  • Effects will display best with ground wind setting between 5 - 15 knots. Below this wind speed not much to see, they might look exaggerated.
  • The MSFS engine is simple and not very stable; ships will sometimes be unstable or make strange movements if they meet other objects
  • Not all ships appear in harbor areas with heavy scenery; some prioritization by the sim engine can prevent some ships from showing
  • The project includes more than 15.000 textures and over 1000 model files, we do expect some glitches - if you find something really disturbing, please send me a PM here or comment on
  • If you experience a freeze at the start-up of a flight reduce the number of regional traffic packages active as the number of traffic BGL files has caused issues for some users depending on the system and settings. Reducing traffic to have just one or two regions active at the time should solve the issue.
  • Please notice that some models are intentionally not linked to routes at the moment but they will be needed once we launch a Real-Time Version of the traffic.

Russian boat.


Before installation please remove all old versions of Global AI Ship Traffic / GAIST and associated route files. However, if you use Global AI Ship Traffic Great Lakes you can leave this active as this version 5 of Global AI Ship Traffic GAIST Ultra does not cover the Great Lakes.

To install please unzip and drop the included file folders gaist-ultra-v5_0 and global-ship-routes_V1_1 into your MSFS Community folder.

In MSFS general options under traffic ships and ferries should be set to 5-10 % for best performance. Increasing above 10% will not add any traffic to this project.

Oil Tanker in v5.


For support and additional information please follow our threads on the project on,,, in English, on in Norwegian and Danish, in Portuguese, and in French. 

Idea and conceptualization Henrik Nielsen, KL791

Copyright Henrik Nielsen and individual file developers.

Referencing models in other projects or any other use or sharing of the models included in Global AI Ship Traffic / GAIST can only happen after written permission by the respective copyright holders for the individual models.

Images & Screenshots

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Profile image for freeware developer Henrik Nielsen

About the Developer: Henrik Nielsen

This mod was developed by Henrik Nielsen.

Henrik Nielsen has been developing AI boat, ship, and seacraft vehicles for Microsoft Flight Simulator since the early days of FSX/P3D.  His projects have been running for over a decade and have included support from many developers he has been in contact with over the years.  He has recently re-created his AI Ship/Boat traffic add-on for compatibility with the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2020 release.

If you like Henrik's mods, please do consider donating to his projects so he can continue to provide the freeware you enjoy in your sim.


Donate to Developer.

The developer of this mod/add-on (Henrik Nielsen) has worked hard in order to produce this freeware creation. If you enjoy and make use of this release, why not donate to the developer to help support their projects?


A huge mod bringing over 600 ships, boats, yachts, and other seacraft vehicles to the seas, rivers, and oceans in Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2020 release all driven by AI traffic to make virtual flights even more realistic.  Developed by Henrik Nielsen and team and is completely free to download and use.

Preview screenshot

It's worth noting that this is a BETA version and more updates will be released when the developer makes them available finally bringing them into the mainline after ensuring compatibility with the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator version.  The developer previously released their FSX/P3D version which was a huge success and can be found in the Fly Away Simulation FSX/P3D mods library here.

This is a unique mod and the developer, Henrik Nielsen has been working on this project for over a decade.  Many parts were adapted from previous versions (FSX/P3D) but the majority of all 3D models, routes, and effects are developed from the ground up and created from scratch for the brand-new Microsoft Flight Simulator version.

The developer states that this new "Ultra" version includes extra models of boats and ships along with extra routes (all based on real-world data) along with effects including animations and how the vessels react with the water (for example in storms) within the sim.  The dynamics are hard to create and as this is something brand-new for MSFS, also a learning curve for the dev as it's vastly different from FSX/P3D development.

The project aims, essentially to bring AI ships, boats, and smaller vessel traffic across the entire globe with realistic models of real-world ships as you would find them.

True Global AI Boat & Ship Traffic Scenery

This mod is complete in the sense that nothing is left to configure (or need) to be able to really bring waterways, oceans, and ferry crossings to life in Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Over 600 different boats, ships and vessels have been included and meticulously crafted in their 3D model and design. 

Animations and effects have been included to ensure they interact with the seas/water in a way that's realistic and accurate even with different weather scenarios.  Wake effects, the bobbing up and down in the water, and other perks have all been included.  There are even some ships you can land a helicopter on (or perhaps even a fighter on an aircraft carrier - although not tested!)

The FSX/P3D version was a huge success with simmers so we can expect great things for this MSFS (2020) release version.  If there are any bugs, suggestions, or input generally to the project then please post in the comments section below so the developer may read them.

Vessels Include

  • Fishing boats
  • Cruise Ships
  • Tugs
  • Tankers
  • Container Ships
  • Bulk Carriers
  • Patrol Boats
  • Submarines
  • Destroyers
  • Aircraft Carriers
  • Smaller boats and seacraft
  • Ferry/car transporters
Adam McEnroe

Adam McEnroe

Adam McEnroe is a flight sim enthusiast who has been simming since the days of FS95. Adam writes all of the download section editorials after testing each of the files. Adam has extensive knowledge using various flight simulator packages and thoroughly tests the files before writing about them. Adam also like to fly real-world aircraft in his spare time and is training for his PPL.

Should you wish, you can contact Adam via email at

Installation icon.

Installation Instructions

Most of the freeware add-on aircraft and scenery packages in our file library come with easy installation instructions which you can read above in the file description. For further installation help, please see our Flight School for our full range of tutorials or view the README file contained within the download. If in doubt, you may also ask a question or view existing answers in our dedicated Q&A forum.


Leave a Response

The content of the comments below are entirely the opinions of the individual posting the comment and do not always reflect the views of Fly Away Simulation. We moderate all comments manually before they are approved.

yonminFri, 29 Mar 2024 02:06:18 GMT

Hi, I installed but nothing happened. Adjusted the traffic setting as mentioned.

louisTue, 19 Mar 2024 14:00:13 GMT

I've downloaded the files, and after extracting the zip file I copy all into my community folder, however, I didn't see any active boat or ship even though I chose to fly on top of the sea. Appreciate it if you could help to advise. Thanks.

John YoleThu, 27 Apr 2023 18:34:36 GMT

I am unable to see any of the BC Ferry fleets off the BC coast. I see the models in the folders but I don't see any traffic. If someone can point me to what I may be doing wrong it would be greatly appreciated!


Anton von SierakowskiSun, 02 Apr 2023 03:38:21 GMT

Hi, this great mod has been pulled from another supplier and I have found that since SU12, this mod is causing MSFS to lock up when loading a flight. I have removed this and now wonder if this is a known problem and if anyone else is having the same issue. (I have version 3.0, but not from FAS).

George DanThu, 30 Mar 2023 09:06:26 GMT

Do I copy all the folders (the gaist-ultra -v3 and all the route folders) separately to the Community folder or do I copy just the GAIST ULTRA VERSION 3 main folder that contains all the above folders to the Community folder?

Blair EelyFri, 30 Dec 2022 11:01:07 GMT

Firstly, amazing update! Is there a map that shows the working ferry routes? I'm trying to locate one of the BC ferries between Horseshoe Bay to Departure bay (Nanaimo) but not seeing it.


John C. LesterFri, 30 Dec 2022 03:12:11 GMT

Should we delete GAIST US Grand Lakes also?

Peter LambertSat, 24 Dec 2022 22:09:50 GMT

An amazing collection of seacraft, boats, and general water traffic for your copy of MSFS. While the entire globe isn't covered as stated in the description, I must admit most of the world (in high-traffic areas) is and you will not be disappointed by this mod.

I was amazed at some of the detailing of the oil tankers, yachts, and other boats that suddenly appeared at high-traffic waterways in the sim.

Henrik (and the team) have done a fantastic job in creating this one-of-a-kind add-on and I look forward to the future updates and releases that may be released. Also thanks to Fly Away Simulation for hosting this add-on.

Terry LineSun, 06 Nov 2022 21:49:08 GMT

This is a worthwhile addon but the description here is very misleading. It is unfortunately very buggy and many users have to cut/delete bits to make their aim stable so it takes a lot of work flying in different areas just to have boats.

The description says that some boats can be landed on but then says they can not be and blames it on the sim when we know this is possible. It is a good addon especially as it is free but makes no mistake it is mostly a rehash of the FSX one. The developer states this themselves on the forums.

I don't know how this description was written or approved. The real-world routes are actually hand-placed loops and there are also many, many places where you won't see any boats. The effects like wakes and smoke are fairly mediocre when compared to even other free mods like driveable boats and the smoke is very unrealistic IMHO.

Get it if you want some free boats with a nice variety and don't mind the other issues.

Shuge ZhangSun, 16 Oct 2022 21:53:54 GMT

What an absolutely stunning addition to MSFS. I can now fly around the globe with ships and boats beneath me as I fly. I can't confirm the authenticity of the routes the ships make but it sure adds some fun to MSFS! Thank you MR Nielsen!

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