AIS (Automatic Identification System) data provides valuable input parameters in ship traffic simulation models for maritime risk analysis and the prevention of shipping accidents. This article reports on the detailed comparisons of AIS data analysis between a Dutch case and a Chinese case. This analysis focuses on restricted waterways to support inland waterway simulations, comparing the differences between a narrow waterway in the Netherlands (the Port of Rotterdam) and a wide one in China (wide waterway of Yangtze River close to the Su-Tong Bridge). It is shown that straightforward statistical distributions can be used to characterize lateral position, speed, heading and interval times for different types and sizes of ships. However, the distributions for different characteristics of ship behaviors differ significantly.