Sailing in Dubai

Information on the rules on boat licences and sailing permits, the sea safety recommendations, maritime weather and more, with details of the ports and harbours and links to local sailing associations...

Dubai provides many opportunities to take part in sailing and boating. Some of the many private clubs in Dubai include marina facilities as part of their membership package. A host of other facilities and yacht brokers are moving into the area as the UAE becomes one of the world's most up and coming sailing destinations.

Weather conditions are near perfect, with minimal tides or currents, while winds are usually predictable.

Safety at Sea

Emergencies at sea are dealt with by the police and the coastguard.

  • Emergencies Tel: 996 (coast guard) / Tel: 999 (Police)
  • Dubai Coast guard
    : Port Rashid
    Tel: 04 345 0260 / 04 345 0520

The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology provides weather forecasts and warnings for the United Arab Emirates and it is strongly advised to check the conditions before venturing out.

Dubai Coastal Zone Monitoring provides weather and coastal measurements such as water and air levels, temperature, movements and speed.

Sailing Rules and Regulations

Currently there are no licence requirements to drive a pleasure or leisure boat. If renting a boat, some private owners may request a boat training certificate.

Any vessel departing from a UAE marina must first obtain approval from the UAE Coast Guard and request a Sailing Permit for Vessels in UAE Territorial Waters. The sailing permit can be obtained from any marina. It must be filled out by the captain and include the following:

  • Passenger list
  • Date and time of departure and return
  • name of the boat owner and the skipper
  • Copy of the boat registration document

Permitted days and times of arrival and departure depend on the marina. Marina staff must be present to collect sailing permits and register a return with the Coast Guard.

Not complying with regulations can lead to fines, impounding of the boat and possibly imprisonment.

Radio licences

Any boat navigating in inland waters and some boats on the open seas with a radio installed must be covered by a licence and have a certified radio operator on board.

Foreign registered boats are no exception. The minimum certificate of competence required is the Short-Range Certificate for VHF/DSC.

Boat owners should check current regulations on arrival in Dubai either with their marina or with the UAE Coastguard.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Agency issues radio licences.

Importing a Boat

Anyone wishing to import a boat into Dubai must contact the Yacht Custom Clearance on arrival.

Clearance is carried out at the main port. Documents needed are:

  • Crew list
  • Customs declaration
  • Passport
  • Valid visa

For more information call the Customs office, Tel: 04 302 3762

Registering a Boat

All leisure boats must be registered to a resident of Dubai. If buying a new boat, most sellers will process the registration, which is required annually. Registration of a boat or yacht is carried out with the UAE National Transport Authority (NTA).

  • National Transport Authority
    : Maritime City, Block B (near Port Rashid)
    Tel: 04 308 4772

The following documents are required for registration:

  • Passport and visa copies
  • Original proof of ownership forms (bill of sale) attested by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UAE Embassy in the country where the boat was purchased (or last registered)
  • No objection letter from employer
  • Proof that the vessel is equipped with anchor, distress flares, torch, first aid kit, navigation lights and life jackets

After submitting paperwork to the NTA, stamped papers are issued and must be taken to the Coast Guard. A registration number for the boat is issued, as well as instructions on where to take the boat for inspection.

If the boat passes the inspection, a final registration number (DP number) and papers are issued. These must be taken back to the NTA at Maritime City. A registration fee must be paid and the owner receives the registration papers within 48 hours.

Marinas and Berths

  • Dubai Creek Marina: Members-only club with 121 berths
    At: Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Port Saeed area of Deira
    Tel: 04 205 4646
    Fax: 04 295 6081
  • Dubai International Marine Club: Members-only club with 300 berths
    At: next to Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
    Tel: 04 299 5777
    Fax: 04 399 4181
  • Dubai Marina Yacht Club: Members-only club with four marinas with over 300 berths
    Tel: 04 362 7900
    Fax: 04 360 8875
  • Festival Marina: 98 berth marina
    At: adjacent to Festival Centre mall in Festival City
    Tel: 04 208 5100
    Fax: 04 232 9316

Slipways in Dubai

Dubai Municipality operates a public slipway in Al Mamzar for privately-owned boats. There are also several smaller slipways in Jumeirah and Umm Sequim.

Sailing Clubs