China - Profile
- The opening up of China in the early 1980s brought many tourists to the country. Cruising yachts have also been able to take advantage of the more tolerant attitude of the authorities, but the number of yachts that sail to China is still very small. In most places, foreign yachts are treated with suspicion and their freedom of movement is limited. Certain provinces, such as Xiamen and Hainan Island, are more open than others.
- Hainan is China's most southerly province, and from April 2011 has permitted foreign boats to remain in the area for 183 days a year. The Sanya Visun Royal Yacht Club welcome visiting yachts and can assist with the China Customs clearance formalities, however prices are high.
- The Chinese Yachting Association is making great efforts to develop sailing as a sport and has achieved some remarkable successes in the Olympic classes. Most sailing is done on a club basis. The Yachting Association is keen to attract more foreign yachts to visit China, but is very much aware of the bureaucratic hurdles against which it is powerless. With the Olympic Games having been held in China in 2008, there is now more interest in developing marina facilities for recreational boating.
- One policy that has been adopted by a few visiting yachts is to enter the country during an international regatta. As the regattas are all interested in being "International" they want visiting international yachts to attend. Entry procedures can be easier this way, however movement to other areas is still restricted as each state is autonomous in respect of customs, etc.
- Although there are countless interesting sites worth visiting in the interior, from the cruising point of view, China's coasts do not have much to offer. Most of the ports open to yachts are busy commercial harbours and the scenery only rarely matches that of neighbouring countries. As a cruising destination, China's attractions are rather limited.
- Yachting facilities and services are practically non-existent. The best repair facilities are those of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation. They control 17 yards situated in major ports along the coast. All types of repair can be carried out at these yards. Some of the ports where facilities are located are Dalian, Guangzhou (Canton), Quingdao, Shanghai and Tianjin. Although small local boatyards or workshops may be able to help in emergencies, the State Corporation should be contacted for more complex work.
- Provisioning is also limited, particularly in rural areas, so one should arrive with a well-stocked boat and only rely on buying fresh produce, which is usually available. Limited facilities are available in Xiamen (formerly Amoy), one of the few ports where sailing boats call regularly, mainly from Hong Kong. Shanghai also now has improved facilities for yachts, with the opening of the new marina here.
- Fuel in small quantities is available in most ports; for larger amounts one may require special permission.
It is important to avoid entering areas noted as 'restricted waters'. It is advisable, if possible, to sail outside territorial waters and then make a direct approach to the destination port.
The climate along the coast is mostly temperate, although there are pronounced variations between the south and the far north. The tropical areas in the south are affected by typhoons, which are most frequent between May and October. The weather in winter is cool and the coast is under the influence of the NE monsoon. The summers are hot, humid and rainy.
Brunei Bay Radio operates a regular voice broadcast sked of METAREA and local coastal forecasts for SE Asia waters, the NW Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean. For details of Brunei Bay Radio broadcast skeds and frequencies, see http://www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/bbrschfvoice.htm and http://www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/bbrscweathMSIbcasts.html
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page
The following ports are those open to foreign vessels. Foreign vessels may not enter anywhere else. Basuo (Hainan Island; also known as Dongfang), Beihai, Chiwan, Dalian, Dandong, Fuzhou, Guangzhou (Canton), Haikou (Hainan Island), Haimen, Huangpu, Jinshan, Jinshou, Lanshantou, Lianyungang, Longkou, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Quanzhou, Sanya (Hainan Island), Shanghai, Shantou, Tianjin, Weihai, Wenzhou, Xiamen (Amoy), Xingang (the foreign trade port of Beijing), Yangpu (Hainan Island), Yantai, Yantian, Yingkou, Zhanjiang, Zhongshan, Zhuhai (also known as Jiushou).
Yangtze River Ports: The river has a total length of nearly 4000 miles (6300 km), of which more than 1600 miles (2600 km) are navigable. During the past few years certain ports have been opened to foreign vessels but access to them is strictly controlled. There are 28 ports along the river, of which the most important are Nanjing, Nantong and Zhangjiagang.