Southeast Asia- Thailand

Phuket essential information

Sailing in Thailand

Back to Phuket

Find everything you need to prepare for a charter in Phuket. From important base information to required documents for international travel, you can use this information as your guide before and during your charter. Don't forget to pack a copy to take with you.


Before you go


Ao Po Grand Marina
113/1 Moo 6
Tambon Paklok
Amphur Thalang
Phuket 83110

Our Phuket base is located at the new Ao Po Grand Marina near Ao Po Bay.

Ao Po Grand Marina has the benefit of 24 hour access independent of the tide. It is also ideally situated at the gateway to stunning Phang Nga Bay and is conveniently close to Phuket's major facilities (15 minutes from the airport) and vacation destinations.

Base hours
Monday - Sunday: 8:00am to 5:00pm
VHF radio watch channel 72 (7 days a week from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm)

Time zone
Standard time zone for Thailand is UTC/GMT +7 hours.

The official language is Thai and English.

Cost of living
Prices vary from restaurant to restaurant, however the following is a guide for your reference. A bottle of wine costs from about 500 baht in a supermarket and at least twice that in a restaurant. A bottle of beer costs about 35 to 45 baht in a supermarket and from 80 baht up to 150 baht in a restaurant. Good quality Thai food can cost as little as 200 baht per course in a local restaurant where a meal in a resort can cost anything from 1000 baht per person and more.

What to bring

Passport and visas
Please ensure your passport is valid for the period of travel and for six months after you return. Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.

Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. Please check for the latest information before you leave. Sunsail is not accountable for any requirement changes.

Customs + immigration
Before leaving the airport, you will have to clear immigration and customs. A landing card will be given to you on the plane, along with a customs declaration form. Airlines will assume no liability for perishable articles, e.g. food, which may also be confiscated by customs.

Sailing licenses
Although no formal sailing certifications are required for pleasure craft sailing or cruising in Thailand, it is strongly recommended that you bring any certificates or license that you may have with you. This may be useful should you be contacted by customs or Port Police.

Luggage + packing list
We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.

Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht.

What's on board

One 40 liter cooler is included with all yachts at no additional charge. Please return them clean and undamaged otherwise you will be charged for replacement. Extra coolers are available at the base on a first come first served basis at a cost of 50 baht per day.

Mobile phones
Your mobile phone may work when in Thailand but please check with your service provider for coverage details and call costs. You will need to activate international roaming on your contract.

Buying a SIM card once you are in Thailand is an easier and cheaper option. A SIM card can be bought on a pay as you go basis for about 50 Thai Baht. Calls are cheap to make and free to receive.

The only thing you have to consider is whether your own mobile phone is locked. Many phone providers deliberately lock their phones to make it impossible to use on rival networks. This can be overcome however for a small price at any phone shop in Thailand.

Music + iPods
All boats are fitted with a radio and CD player. If you wish to listen to your iPod whilst sailing you will need to bring along an iTrip or FM radio transmitter.

The use of flying drones may be restricted in some areas. For current drone regulations in this destination, please visit

The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts. 

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About the marina

Marina facilitiesWater and electricity are available on the berths at the base and there is a deep water fuel dock. Showers and toilets are available 8:00 to 18:00. There are several restaurants and two nearby resorts for those wishing to spend a night ashore before and after their charter. ATM available.

Dock facilities

Cost Guide

Approx 38 baht per liter

Fuel Station Location

At the base

Sailing licenses

Experience level
Sailing experience: Level 2 

Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area. Follow the link for more information on the sailing conditions.

Sailing grounds

Skippered charter information
The skipper’s time is booked from 12:00 noon to 12:00 noon in 24-hour periods. If you have reserved him for the first day of your charter and have a 4:00pm start, he will use this time to ensure he is happy with all aspects of the yacht and will be at the base to meet you upon your arrival. If you have reserved him for a later date on your charter he will start at 12:00 noon on that day.

The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. He is not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight. He must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of his contract with you.

For “check out charters” (anything less than the full duration of the charter) the check out skipper’s time is booked from 4:00pm to 4:00pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day.

This skipper is required to give you a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy in addition to assisting you with planning an itinerary for the trip and advising you how to contact the base, the return to base procedures and the emergency assistance procedures. The skipper will give you a full chart briefing during his time with you on the yacht. It is also suggested that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover…anchoring, docking, etc.

The skipper will be required to give you as much information as you require concerning the yacht and its systems, sailing skills and navigation in general.

The skipper fee does not include food or beverages for the skipper and are the responsibility of the client. It is suggested that you discuss this on the first day with the skipper and establish whether you will give the skipper cash for meals, whether you have included him in your provisioning or whether you will accommodate him as part of the group for meals ashore.  The skipper must have his own cabin.

For one-day check out skipper’s it is the client’s responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay for his expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him back to the base.

The average tip for a skipper is 15 to 20% percent of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at the client’s discretion.

More information on Skippered Charter Options.

Download Sunsails Thailand Cruising Guide here.

Sailing area restrictions
During the NE season the cruising area includes all Thai Waters from the Surin and Similan islands in the North down to Koh Tarutao and the Butang islands in the South. Yachts cannot cross the border in to Mayanmar/Burma under any circumstances. During the SW monsoon, The Surin, Similan Islands, and anchorages on the West coast of Phuket cannot be used. The cruising area has a tidal range of 3m at high water springs.  

The Sunsail 4-Hour Guarantee applies when within 20 sailing miles distance from the base.

Night sailing
Night sailing is only permitted when making long offshore passages that cannot be completed in daylight hours. Any night sailing must be approved in advance by the Base manager and you must depart and be clear of all obstructions at least 30 minutes before sunset and arrive at your destination at least 30 minutes after sunrise.

Charts + pilot books
All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are on board the yacht. 

Formalities + taxes

A valid passport and crew list is compulsory for clearance. Crew list for clearance must show date of issue of passports.

Moorings fees + taxes
200 Baht per person per night when cruising in National Park Areas. 400 Baht per person per night + 400 Baht per yacht per night when visiting the Similan or Surin islands National Park which are accessible only from November to April. Overnight stops need to be at anchor as the mooring boys are not well maintained.

Health + safety

Illness or injury 
If you get sick and need to visit the doctor or hospital during your trip please contact the base manager or a member of Sunsail staff as soon as possible. 

Swim Safe 

Swimming is often a fun and important part of a vacation. However local rules, flag systems, currents and where swimming may be permitted, can be different and vary from country to country. Snorkel vests, Life Jackets and Diver Down flags are all available on board. 


  • Talk to children about water safety at the start of a vacation, making them aware of the potential dangers.
  • Accidents can happen at any time on vacation, but often they happen on the first and last day, so keep watch and do not get distracted when your children are playing by, or in the water.
  • Children in or near water should always be supervised by an adult and never left unattended. 
  • Get in the water with them, it is easier to keep an eye on them as well as good fun. Floatation devices are highly recommended for children but are not a substitute for supervision.

Be aware of your surroundings

  • Check warning flags and signage on the beach and only swim where it is permitted. 
  • Beware of dangerous currents, these can be very powerful. Not all beaches have lifeguards and/or warning flags.
  • Beware of underwater hazards, such as reefs, rocks, sudden changes in depth and marine life.
  • Never swim where a sign says not to e.g. in zoned areas for jet boats or jet skis.
  • Never swim at night or after drinking alcohol.

Look out for others

  • Never swim alone, ‘buddy up’ with others in your party and use the snorkel vests provided.
  • Know how and where to get help. If you see someone in difficulty; raise the alarm, preferably the emergency services. Ensure you know the correct number for the country you are in.

Do not overestimate your ability

  • Consider swimming lessons before you go if you think it would be useful to learn proper swimming technique.
  • Even if you regularly swim in a pool, remember that open water swimming can be very different.

Diving is popular but you should be aware that the only decompression facility is in Papeete and that in the event of an accident it might take some time to reach there.


All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets, harnesses, snorkel vests & diver down flags. You can see all this equipment demonstrated in our online safety briefing, and we strongly recommend that you make use this equipment during your vacation. This safety equipment will be displayed in the saloon of your boat on boarding - If you have any questions feel free to ask our base staff during your briefing. 

We have a very limited supply of children's life jackets on base so highly recommend that if you are travelling with children, you bring their own. This ensures that children have correctly fitting jackets that are comfortable for them.  

Children should not be allowed in the dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and should wear a buoyancy aid or harness whilst on deck. 

Children under the age of 16 should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy. 

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Around the base


For those wishing to book accommodation ashore for the night before or after their charter Sunsail Phuket is able to book rooms at discounted rates at the nearby Supalai and Chandara resorts. All rooms are fully air-conditioned and the prices include local taxes and breakfast. To obtain special rates booking should be made with Sunsail Thailand. We suggest you make bookings well in advance, so please contact the base with your requirements.

The unit of currency in Thailand is the Baht.

Money changing facilities are available at the airport and in most medium sized towns. We recommend that sufficient money is changed before departing into the cruising area. The average would be 1,000 baht per person per day.

The airport is easiest and there are banks and ATM machines at the Tesco supermarket. There are moneychangers at Ao Nang beach and on Phi-Phi, although the exchange rates may not be so good.

Credit card information
Credit cards are accepted only at larger restaurants and resorts.

Jatujak Market The biggest market in Phuket, with over 1,000 stalls. On Chaofa West Road from Central Shopping Mall, heading south toward Chalong Bay direction; turn left at the first traffic light - Sat, Sun 4:30 - 8:30. This is a typical Thai bazaar, featuring all sorts of items from fish to clothing.

Thai silk is on the top of most visitors’ shopping lists. It is sold in a range of colors, and in various widths, lengths and thicknesses, or as bespoke products such as shirts, blouses, men's suits and ladies’ silk jackets, bedcovers and furnishings. Some of the most popular silk items in Phuket include handkerchiefs, scarves, pillow cases, photo frames, handbags, cosmetic bags and evening bags.
Jewelry, gold, Thai sapphires and pearls from local pearl farms are available everywhere.

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For more information on what's included on your yacht, please view the full list here.

Choose Sunsail

Stunning sailing destinations 
Flotilla routes
Types of yachts
50 yrs
Creating vacations
4 hr
Service commitment