Phuket is a sailing and Regatta hub. Safe Sailing in Phuket and full preparation before you set off is of paramount importance.
During December, Phuket hosts the King’s Cup Regatta, which is one of Asia’s largest and most popular regattas. In July there is The Multihull Solutions Regatta and Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek. The Bay Regatta is held in February.
Of course, there is an abundance of leisure sailing and a thriving tourist industry chartering sailboats.
Many other boat and sailing activities take place there as well, which is what makes it such a popular destination for all things boat-related.
For foreign travels new to Thailand, however, there may be questions surrounding how to sail safely in the area. Truthfully, it won’t be much different from the sailing you’re likely used to. But Phuket is tropical and it is important to keep certain considerations in mind.
Be Prepared for the Weather
Check the weather forecast a MUST and always necessary no matter where you’re setting sail. The weather and seasons in Thailand do differ compared to many other parts of the World. Basic guidelines and procedures for safe sailing still apply, but knowing what those guidelines are for specific conditions is what’s especially important for safe sailing in Phuket.
This is because of the Southwest monsoon (the rainy season in the summer months) can have much stronger winds. Squalls with periods of rainfall can arrive quickly and you want to look out for. Thankfully, the weather is fairly predictable, so it’s easy to look into the forecast, radar etc and prepare accordingly.
Pay Attention to Navigation
Though the weather for Phuket is predictable and easily prepared for, navigating the waters demands a little more attention. GPS and chart plotters should be used supplementally, as these are not as precise as paper sea charts. Night sailing is not recommended in Thai and Malaysian waters.
As Phuket is tropical daytime usually spans from about 6 am to 6 pm, with anchoring time recommended by no later than 4 pm. Plenty of time for a swim and the get BBQ ready.
Be sure to plan your trip in its entirety ahead of time versus impromptu sailing adventures or going off course.
Plot Your Course
In addition to visibility concerns when it comes to navigating and timing your trip do think about water depths and tides.
Once again, refer to paper sea charts in order to map out a route that avoids shallow waters and other areas that are not suitable for sailing.
You should also look out for fishing nets marked with flags, and small fishing boats that may also indicate the presence of nets.
Sometimes the distance between the boat to the net can be enough to safely sail over, but this isn’t always the case, so be aware of their presence as much as possible.
All in all, safe sailing in Phuket really just means looking into the things you would normally look into, with a bit more focus on details and differences. Safety practices are largely the same, and once you account for your navigation and confirm clear weather, it’s literally smooth sailing.