South Korea - Profile
- The Korean peninsula is one of rugged mountains and dramatic scenery, bordered by China to the north, with Japan to the east. The border between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the north and the Republic of Korea in the south, crosses the 38th parallel on an angle. It is a beautiful and interesting country.
- Although in North Korea the discouragement of foreign visitors is undisguised, in the South, the time-consuming formalities can be a bit off-putting. Officially, most of South Korea is open to cruising, but be prepared for the constant checking by the military and Coast Guard officials.
- North Korea maintains a "maritime military border" in which foreign ships may not enter, this is 200 NM in the yellow sea and 50 NM in the sea of Japan. Care should be taken not to come near the Northern limit line north of Incheon, as naval clashes frequently errupt there.
- The most attractive cruising to be found is along the south coast, roughly between the ports of Kunsan and Pusan, where the coast is indented with countless coves, anchorages and hundreds of small islands.
- Pusan gained temporary fame as the world's sailing centre during the Seoul Olympics and the marina built for that occasion can now be used by cruising yachts. Pusan is Korea's principal port and second largest city. It is the gateway to the Hallyo Sudo Waterway, a national sea park comprising hundreds of picturesque islands along the coast west of Pusan. The best repair facilities are in the Pusan area; electrical, electronic and engine repair is available locally.
- Cheju Island, off the southern tip of the peninsula, is a useful stop for southbound yachts or those who wish to make a stop while on passage from Japan towards the Asian mainland. Excellent fresh produce can be bought on the island which has a large farming community. There is a small boatyard at Cheju where boats can be hauled out.
- Generally there are adequate repair facilities in all ports which have a fishing fleet. Diesel fuel can be bought in most places, sometimes being delivered by fuel barges which supply the harbour launches. LPG is widely available, as most taxis run on propane.
- Communist North Korea occupies the northern half of the Korean peninsula and its capital is Pyongyang. All foreign visitors require visas, which must be applied for well in advance. Visiting yachts are not welcome and the country is best avoided.
- Most yachts visiting South Korea come for the racing and are from Japan or Russia. Cruising boats from another country usually attract much friendly interest and curiosity.
The country has a temperate, seasonal climate, with rainy, hot summers and dry, cold winters. Typhoons can affect the coastal areas at any time, particularly from May to October.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.