Marine research is carried out around the bay area by the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory,
link will show the facilities in use.
Hilbre Island, to small to be shown on the map, is just off the coast at Hoylake/West Kirby has a webcam showing the view and also a radar scanner.
Shipping around the UK coast maybe tracked at this site AIS. The link takes you to show the Liverpool Bay area but most of the UK coastline maybe displayed as well as other maritime areas across the globe.
AIS is a VHF (161.975 and 162.025 MHz) radio telemetry system for ships above a certain tonnage (300). Data indicating the ships name , type of ship, speed and heading is automatically transmitted. The website displays this information overlayed onto a map. Also, a collection of ship photographs maybe viewed along with historic information, all achieved by enthusiasts, superb effort.
A full description of the AIS system maybe found here link. Also, the Wikipedia has a good description, this link navigates to an item within the description concerning doubts about displaying ship data on the Internet.
If you have a suitable radio receiver and antenna the signals maybe decoded using a computer. This link will navigate to a software download site.