12 June 2020
With superyacht visits increasing exponentially over the past 15 years, the number of visiting yachts and cruisers has now grown to 1,500 annually to Phuket, The Pearl of the Andamans.
With this growth, marinas are playing an increasingly important role globally. In South-East Asia, Phuket marinas are proving they can handle all a visiting superyacht’s needs while offering a great base for journeys to nearby islands.
Berths are available for yachts up to 130 metres in length and there’s a growing superyacht labour force to care for and service superyachts. Excellent docking facilities and a well-designed base, together with wonderful tourism attractions, are available at any one of Phuket’s marinas.
“A perfect destination for superyachts, vessels can set off from one of Phuket’s marinas to journey to the Phi Phi islands and other Thai provinces, to Ao Phangnga Marine National Park or on to the eastern Gulf of Thailand and Koh Samui – and it’s a short hop to nearby mysterious Myanmar,” explains APS co-founder, Gordon Fernandes, who also heads up APS Phuket and APS Myanmar.
Some yachting visitors choose to travel across the ocean to the Andaman Islands in India and /or journey on to Singapore and Langkawi, Malaysia while based in Phuket.
“Those travelling from Singapore find the destination sits pretty much in the centre of a passage from North to South and East to West in the region. In Malaysia, superyachts also have the full-service Royal Langkawi Marina & Yacht Club, while still viewing Phuket as the primary cruising destination,” Fernandes adds.
Four marinas, located in the Northeast of Phuket island, are operated by private companies. Phuket Boat Lagoon can serve 173 yachts and 135 other vessels on the ground for repair work; Royal Phuket Marina, serving 76 yachts and 35 on ground; and Ao Po Grand Marina with space for 300 yachts and 100 on ground. Additionally, Phuket Yacht Haven can accommodate 300 yachts at sea only.
“Between two and three new marinas are expected to open at Ao Po, Ao Kung and Ao Makham in the future,” reports Wiwat Chitchoetwong, referring to new development projects in the island. The government also plans to develop Ao Makham into a deep-water superyacht facility so that superyachts can be hauled out and maintenance can be carried out.
In the high season, yachting visitors use Phuket as a base for travelling to nearby islands, while in the low season, some dock their yachts at marinas so as to carry out maintenance and be ready for the next high season.
“The successful marinas in Phuket are being looked at now as models for marinas at Surat Thani province’s Koh Samui resort island in the Gulf of Thailand and Chon Buri’s Pattaya on the eastern coast,” added Mr Chitchoetwong.