Sailing and Boating in Malaysia

Information on the rules about boat registration and licences in Malaysia, with details of Customs and immigration regulations. Also information about local marinas and regattas…

Malaysia has been steadily developing as an internationally recognised sailing destination. The Malaysian government is actively promoting yachting in the country - as a sailing destination for foreign vessels needing marinas and repair facilities, as a major racing destination, and as a sport (especially dinghy sailing) for Malaysians.

Sail Malaysia is a government-sponsored programme promoting Malaysia as a sailing destination, especially for sailboat rallies.

  • Sail Malaysia
    At: 40B, Jalan Rahim Kajai 14, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur
    Tel: 03 7727 6561 / 012 209 4418
    Fax: 03 7710 6019
    email

Registration and Licences

The Langkawi International Yacht Registry (LIYR) is an internationally-recognised yacht registry regulated by the Malaysian Marine Department. It is open to non-residents of Malaysia for sailboats, powerboats and super yachts.

Applications to register a vessel should be made to the Director General of Marine at the Malaysian Marine Department. To register online: Click here.

  • Marine Department Malaysia (Jabatan Laut)
    Postal Address: Marine Department HQ, Peninsular Malaysia, PO. Box 12, 42007 Port Klang, Malaysia
    Tel: 03 3346 7777
    Fax: 03 3168 5289
    email

The following documents are required to register a vessel:

  • Application form (Form A). To download the form: Click here (PDF)
  • Proof of Authority of Agent or Officer executing registration documents
  • Proof of Ownership, Bill of Sale or Builder's Certificate
  • Proof of Liability Insurance, including owner's repatriation obligations
  • Proof of Port State Detention Insurance
  • Consent of Government of present Registry to transfer, if applicable
  • Mortgage Recordation, if applicable
  • Affidavit or Statement of Class, as applicable
  • Confirmation of Class, as applicable, issued by one of the five noted societies, within 10 days of registration
  • Waiver of Age (if vessel is over 20 years of age)
  • ISM Code Declaration Form, as applicable
  • Fee - for details: Click here

Boat licence

A boat owned by a foreigner in Malaysia does not require a licence. However, a boat does require a licence if the owner is a Malaysian citizen or a permanent resident, or if the boat belongs to a Malaysian-registered company or business.

Operator licence

No licence or qualification is required to sail or drive a pleasure vessel in Malaysia.

Clearing In and Out

Foreign-flagged vessels can enter and stay in Malaysia indefinitely without attracting import duties or taxes. Crews of all vessels are subject to the current immigration regulations.

All vessels arriving in or departing from Malaysia must be cleared in or out by:

Harbour Master Offices (Pejabat Laut)

  • Marine Department Malaysia (Jabatan Laut)
    Postal Address: Marine Department HQ, Peninsular Malaysia, PO. Box 12, 42007 Port Klang, Malaysia
    Tel: 03 3346 7777
    Fax: 03 3168 5289
    email

Kuala Lumpur

  • Harbour Master's Office Kuala Lumpur
    At
    : Lot F-1, 17A Tkt 1, Podium Block Citypoint, Kompleks Dayabumi, Jalan Sultan Hishamudin, 50050 Kuala Lumpur
    Tel: 03 2272 3446
    Fax: 03 2272 3448
    email

Melaka

  • Office of Civil Navy and Marina
    At
    : Lot 2008 & 2009, Kaw. XL1, Off Taman Kota Laksamana 3, 75200 Melaka
    Tel: 06 282 3552
    Fax: 06 284 4611
    email

Port Dickson

  • At: Jalan Forshore, 71000 Port Dickson
    Tel: 06 647 7992/3 
    Fax: 06 647 7998
    email

Port Klang

  • Marine Headquarters (Ibu Pejabat Laut)
    At: PO Box 12, Jalan Limbungan, 42007 Pelabuhan Klang, Selangor
    Tel: 03 3346 7777
    Fax: 03 3168 5289
    email
  • Westport Marine Office
    At
    : Lot 1.06, 1st Floor, West Port Business Centre, 42000 Pelabuhan, Klang
    Tel: 03 3101 1810
    Fax: 03 3101 1810
    email

Customs

There are restrictions on bringing the following items into Malaysia:

  • Drugs - even if the vessel is only passing through. Possession and/or trafficking of even very small amounts can lead to a mandatory death sentence
  • Firearms - all firearms and ammunition must be declared on arrival and will be either sealed on board or removed by Customs
  • Weapons - no daggers or flick knives
  • Turtle eggs - no turtle eggs or turtle products
  • Fruit and vegetables - no fruit or vegetables from the Philippines or Indonesia
  • Pets - an import permit must be obtained in advance from the Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinary Services Department for all pets. Pets are not allowed ashore until cleared by the Health officer

For further information contact the Royal Malaysian Customs Department:

Immigration

Visitors from most western countries can enter Malaysia without a visa, and are normally issued 30, 60, or 90-day entry permit stamps; other nationalities can get a tourist visa on arrival. Some nationalities must apply for a visa in advance.

  • For specific visa requirements by country: Click here

Contact the Malaysian Immigration Department for more details.

Safety and Security

The government of Malaysia has significantly increased maritime patrols and surveillance in recent years to oversee the Malacca Strait; one of the busiest shipping channels in the world and prone to pirate attacks. A coast guard service has been established, with new patrol capabilities and 12 radar stations.

  • Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia)
    Prime Minister's Department
    At: Level 4-11, One IOI Square, IOI Resort, 62502 Putrajaya
    Tel: 03 8995 7000
    Hotline: 03 8943 4001
    Fax: 03 8941 4000 / 4527
    email

  • VHF Radio: channel 16

Search and Rescue Operation Centres

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency has a main Search and Rescue Operation Centre based in Putrajaya, the country's government administrative centre, and five sub-centres.

  • Malaysian Maritime Communication Centre (MRCC)
    Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency
    At: Prime Minister's Department, 8th Floor, One IOI Square, IOI Resort, 62502 Putrajaya
    Tel: 03 8941 3140
    Fax: 03 8941 3129

The Maritime Rescue Sub-Centres (MRSC) co-ordinate small search and rescue operations which only require the facilities available within the region concerned.

  • MRSC Langkawi - Northern Region Headquarters
    Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency
    At: Prime Minister's Department, c/o Pejabat Perikanan Bukit Malut, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah
    Tel: 04 966 5307
    Fax: 04 966 9543
  • MRSC Johor Bahru - Southern Region Headquarters
    Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency
    At: Prime Minister's Department, Tingkat 16 & 17, Menara Tabung Haji, Lot 20485, Jln Air Molek, Peti Surat 210, 80720 Johor Bahru, Johor
    Tel: 07 221 9231
    Fax: 07 222 4739

Weather forecasts and alerts

The Malaysian Meteorological Service provides seven-day marine forecasts.

The Singapore Government's National Environment Agency provides weather forecasts and storm warnings for shipping in the region.

Marinas in Malaysia

Regattas and Races

The Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta is an annual offshore race held in November and organised by the Royal Selangor Yacht Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). It consists of three overnight passage races, over 200 miles in total, with three days of harbour racing in Penang and Langkawi.

The Royal Langkawi International Regatta is held in January following the Raja Muda in November and the King's Cup (in Thailand) in December.