Sailing and Boating in Hong Kong

Information about the rules on boat licences and sailing permits, including details of local sailing associations...

Hong Kong has a wide variety of both sea and inland water for sailing and boating. Hong Kong Island itself, neighbouring Lantau Island, and mainland China have many options for water sports.

Emergency Numbers

Service Contact
Marine Police HKSAR Tel: 2886 8740 Tel: 999
Marine Department HKSAR Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre Tel: 2545 0181
VHF Channel: 12 or 16
Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre Tel: 2233 7999
Tel: 2233 7998
Fax: 2541 7714

It is important to check weather reports before setting out to sail or practise any other water sports as weather conditions can change very rapidly.

Sailing Information

  • Hong Kong Sailing Federation, HKSF (for information on all aspects of sailing)
    At: 1009 Olympic House, 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
    : 2504 8159
    Fax: 2504 0681
  • Hong Kong Marine Department (information on rules and regulations for Hong Kong's waters)
    At: Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road, Central, Hong Kong
    Tel: 2542 3711
    Fax: 2541 7194

Rules and Regulations

The Hong Kong Marine Department provides guidelines for sailors which include general boating etiquette, and speed limitations in Hong Kong waters.

  • For "Guidelines For Boaters - The Dos & Don'ts": Click here

Sailing Permits

Boat users are not required to have any qualifications to operate a sailing dinghy on fresh or sea water in Hong Kong. However, some local knowledge is recommended before setting sail.

  • For general information from the Marine Department: Click here
  • For information on sailing courses from the Hong Kong Sailing Federation (HKSF): Click here

For other craft under 15 metres in length, a Pleasure Vessel Operator Grade 2 Certificate is required. The certificate is obtained by taking a multiple choice test on knowledge of navigation, seamanship, safety and engineering.

For vessels over 15 metres a Pleasure Vessel Operator Grade 1 qualification is required.

The exams are held regularly in central Hong Kong.

  • For further details: Click here
  • For application forms to download: Click here
  • Contact the Marine Department for further information
    • Tel: 2852 4370
  • The HKSF also organises pleasure vessel competency training: Click here

Foreign sailing qualifications

The Seafarers' Certification Section of the Marine Department is currently reviewing the validity of overseas sailing qualifications following changes in rules which took effect from January 2007.

Sailors wishing to have their non-local qualifications recognised should contact the Seafarers' Certification Section of the Marine Department:

An examination based on local and/or engineering knowledge may have to be taken before a Pleasure Vessel Operator Certificate is issued.

Boat Licences

A sailing dinghy does not require a licence for use on fresh or sea water in Hong Kong. All other boats should be licensed for use in Hong Kong waters.

  • The appropriate forms can be downloaded from the Marine Department website: Click here
  • The forms may also be obtained for any of these eight local Marine Offices: Click here
  • The form should be returned to the Marine Department with the correct fee. For details: Click here
  • A licence will be issued after the information has been checked
  • The allocated certificate of ownership number must be displayed on each side of the craft
  • All boats exceeding 4m in length must have third party insurance

Registering a Boat

Within 24 hours of arrival in Hong Kong, the captain, owner or agent of the vessel must contact a district Marine Department office to register for the appropriate licence.

  • For a list of district Marine Department offices: Click here

The documents required are as follows:

  • Local Vessel E&C Declaration Form (M.O. 877 Rev.2006), in duplicate
  • the valid vessel's licence or certificate, or PRC Ship Registration and
  • Seaworthiness Certificates, or the Marine Office Record Card
  • Marine Department Shipping Report General Declaration M.O. 618a (for pleasure vessel or coastal ports only)
  • a crew list (ID 207A) stamped by the Immigration Officer
  • the Port Clearance issued by the authority of the last port

After six months a pleasure vessel licence from the Marine Department is required.

Colours of a Hong Kong registered ship

Hong Kong registered ships must show the national flag of the People's Republic of China directly above the regional flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Yacht Clubs

The following are the major yacht clubs (all require membership) in the Hong Kong area.

  • Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC)
    Kellett Island in Causeway Bay is the club's principal base. Another site at Middle Island in Repulse Bay (also on Hong Kong Island), moors dinghies and offers training and rowing facilities, and a site at Shelter Cove near Sai Kung in the New Territories, houses cruisers
    Tel: 2832 2817
    Fax: 2572 5399
  • The Aberdeen Boat Club
    One of Hong Kong's main recreational boating and sailing clubs. Facilities for yacht, speedboat and cruiser owners as well as two club houses with jetty and pontoon moorings
    At: 20 Shum Wan Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
    Tel: 2552 8182
    Fax: 2873 2945
  • The Hong Kong Hobie Club
    Based at To Tei Wan, a short distance from the centre of the Hong Kong
    Tel: 2813 5003
  • Hebe Haven Yacht Club
    In the bay of Pak Sha Wan in Sai Kung, it has good facilities with 240 swing moorings and hard standings and offers repair services
    At: 10.5 Miles Hiram's Highway, Pak Sha Wan, Sai Kung, New Territories
    Tel: 2719 3673
  • Tai Po Boat Club
    Facilities for windsurfing, sailing, and motorised boats
    At: Tai Mei Tuk Road, Tai Po, New Territories
    Tel: 2524 2286 

Private Clubs and Marinas

Fresh Water Sailing

The Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) runs five water sports centres in the New Territories and Hong Kong Island. The centres are open from 08:30-17:00 every day.

Click on the individual sites for further information about their location and services.

Hong Kong Island

New Territories

Specialist Boating Activities

Dragon Boat racing

  • Hong Kong is famous for dragon boat racing. For information on this from the Stanley Dragon Boat Association: Click here
  • The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Association
    At: Room 1032, Olympic House, 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
    Tel: 2504 8332
    Fax: 2577 1873
  • Further information about dragon boat racing is available from the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club: Click here
  • The American Women's Club of Hong Kong runs courses for dragon boat racing as well as conventional sailing boat training

Junk cruising

  • Information about cruising on both modern boats and historic junks is available from the Hong Kong Tourist Board: Click here
  • For advice on locations where courses can be taken: Click here