See Maldives/Clearance for latest advice on clearance and permits.
Vessels are not allowed to enter Malé between 23:00 and 06:00 except with special permission from the Coastguard. The Port Authority now insists that all vessels, regardless of size, need to have a pilot, although this is not strictly applied.
On arrival the Coastguard should be contacted on Channel 16 (24 hours), who will first ask if the vessel has an agent. If not, the vessel's particulars will be passed on to the Port Authority before the boat is allowed to proceed.
In practice it is more likely that an agent will answer the VHF call not the Coastguard or Port Control. It is recommended to contact your prefered agent in advance to avoid confusion. See Male/Clearance Agents for a list of agents able to deal with clearance formalities.
Anchoring in Malé atoll itself is difficult because of depth. A patch with a minimum depth of 50 ft (15 m) is reported at 4°10.40'N 73°29.80'E. If this place is occupied, one must be prepared to anchor nearby in depths of around 150 ft (50 m).
It might be possible to arrange in advance with an agent to go directly to the anchorage in the lagoon north of the airport, at Hulhumale; the agent will arrange for the officials to visit you there, but this should be confirmed with the agent before actually going there as reports are that clearance is not always permitted there. You will have to pay for their transport out there so the cost should be ascertained in advance.
As a consequence of an ambitious land reclamation project, the lagoon next to the airport has been dredged to a depth of about 12 metres. The entrance to the lagoon has also been deepened and widened, and is located just north of the end of the airport runway at 04°12.766N, 073°31.754E. The entrance is well marked, although it is not yet showing on the charts. The anchorage is very protected and ferries run regularly to Malé, a trip of about twenty minutes.
The Coastguard must inspect the yacht and provide clearance before any of the other officials. No one must go ashore until clearance is completed. Customs, Immigration and Health will board during office hours to carry out the rest of the clearance.
On departure, one should first clear Immigration, then the Port Authority and finally Customs. This can take some time.
Last updated February 2011.
Hulhumale is a very safe anchorage with excellent holding though a fair amount of aircraft and construction noise. A good base for going into town on a regular ferry.
Anchoring fees in Male are about $60 for one month, $212 for two months.
Last updated November 2011.