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This information is offered in good faith and is based on the latest advice from locals involved in the business of yachting in Malaysia at the time we updated the 7th Edition. We can’t guarantee the accuracy or the current validity of this information. You are always advised to check the latest requirements with either a local agent or the Malaysian maritime and national park authorities rather than online forums. While forums are useful and interesting, you’ll often find conflicting advice based on individual experiences which may, or may not, contain every detail of incidents referred to.

Ships’ documents and valid passports for all crew members must be carried to gain entry into Malaysia. Most international visitors will be granted a tourist visa on entry. This is valid for 60 days and extendable by up to three months. As of 1st December 2023, Immigration recommends that all persons entering Malaysia fill in a Malaysian Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) online up to 3 days before arriving and clearing in. This document can be found at

This is an effort by the government to streamline digital Autogate Facilities for foreigners, especially multi-visit individuals arriving by air and ferry. At the time of print Digital Autogate is offered to passport holders of 10 nationalities. Individuals from these 10 countries are invited to register and once ratified by an immigration officer on first arrival, can use Autogate facilities for all subsequent visits. Although this requirement is not yet mandatory for yacht crew clearing into Malaysia, we strongly recommend visiting yachts fill out the on-line forms for each crew member and register in advance. It will certainly help streamline the process.

Yachts entering Malaysian waters on the Malacca Straits side should proceed to the nearest port of entry.

From Singapore north these are Puteri (pronounced Poo-tree) Harbour – 5 miles past the Tuas 2nd Link bridge in the west Johor Strait – Malacca, Port Dickson, Port Klang, Lumut, Penang and Langkawi.

Yachts entering east side of Peninsular Malaysia through the South China Sea from Singapore can clear into Malaysia close by at two international ferry terminals with Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities.

These are located in the East Johor Strait, seven miles from Changi Village at Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal – in the mangrove channel north of Pulau Tekong – and at Pengileh Ferry Terminal Pengarang east of Pulau Tekong just south of the Malaysian Navy base. Visiting vessels that intend to steam further east to Senibong Cove Marina are required to first clear into Malaysia at Belungkor or Pengileh CIQ.

Opportunities to check in much further up the South China Sea coast are located at Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal, Tioman Island, Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bharu.

Yachts making passage past ports on either coast are unlikely to be challenged as long as ships papers are in order and they are heading for Thailand or another local port of entry. Visiting yachts should always report to Marine Harbourmaster, Immigration, and Customs in that order.

On leaving the port, this process needs to be repeated and a port clearance document for the vessel and crew obtained even if you are heading for another destination in Malaysia. Most officers will facilitate both on the same day if required.

Since the new government came into power in 2018 there have been occasional ‘sticky’ new policy interpretations of old and new pleasure yacht marine transit laws. Some on-line forums have complained of recent clearing in and out procedural headaches for visiting yachts.

For instance, in Langkawi Marine Department officers insist that an agent must facilitate all ‘Motor Boats’ over 24 metres, including some smaller sailing catamarans. Malaysian Marine Department is currently undergoing sweeping changes in personnel and procedures, including those for foreign yachts and crews.

We’ve been assured that the changes (when fully implemented) are designed to assist free passage and support foreign yachts cruising or parked within Malaysian territories without compromising the safety and security of the nation’s sovereign waters. At the time of writing foreign yachts can still be left periodically in Malaysian marinas and the formalities involved for vessels and crew are relatively simple compared with other countries in the region.

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While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.

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