Thailand, Satun, Chebilang: Phithak Shipyard and Services (PSS)
Report by Jan Wooller, MV YAWARRA II
Report on the PSS Shipyard, Chebilang (Satun), Thailand - March 2013
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (if no reply - email the manager, Jia, directly email@example.com or phone him on +66819906199). He speaks excellent English. Don't bother phoning the office as no-one speaks English. Send dimensions and also a photo of your boat out of the water to help them prepare the cradle for you.
Entry into the river is tidal. We recommend entering on at least half tide rising (about 5 miles of shallows to negotiate). There are fish traps to dodge around. We used the following waypoints successfully but as it is a river and flooding can change the bar, try to get more up to date ones before you enter as we don't take responsibility for these.
WP 1: Just before the bar: 06 35.26 N 099 54.64 E
WP2: 06 36.405 N 099 55.622 E
WP 3: 06 36.798 N 099 56.146 E (We were given a WP a bit to the west but it was a bit shallow when we entered so we used this WP on exit and had more water).
WP4: 06 37.271 N 099 56.560 E
WP5: 06 37.95 N 099 57.28 E
WP6: 06 38.24 N 099 57.69 E (past the fish traps now)
WP7: 06 38.40 N 099 57.75 E
WP8: 06 38.72 N 099 57.69 E
WP9: 06 39.50 N 099 57.32 E
WP10: 06 39.60 N 099 57.33 E (will be turning into the small offshoot river to the right here - CMap chart was out)
WP 11: 06 39.65 N 099 57.74 E (there's an extra bend in the river not shown on the CMap chart - just stay in the middle)
WP12: 06 39.41 N 099 58.29 E (PSS boatyard - big blue sign at the entrance to the slipway) - there's another fishing boat slipway immediately before it.
These WPs will take you through the field of fish stakes - sometimes on both sides and sometimes you get quite close to them. We followed a big fishing boat when we exited and it went through on this track too. If you draw more than 2 metres you may need a Spring tide to haul out - check with Jia.
If you need to cross the bar early in order to arrive early for your haul out you may need to anchor overnight. The river (after WP 10) is very narrow and busy with fishing boats and even the occasional barge. Friends who anchored near WP11 ended up in the mud at LW in order to be out of the traffic. Others have reccomended anchoring before WP 10 in the main channel where it's wider. There's supposed to be a 10 metre hole there somewhere.
Before your haulout, phone Jia to check on the time. The current can run up to 2 knots so be careful on your approach. Enter the slip once the people ashore beckon you in. Once in the actual slip you'll be out of the current. Have 4 long lines attached to your boat and ready to throw so that your boat is held stable in the slip while they position the cradle. There will be people to take your lines, and in our experience at least one of the guys will speak English.
The cradles they use for yachts are really strong - probably the best we've seen. Divers will check the position of your keel before they commence hauling your boat. Your boat stays in the cradle and will be shunted off to the side of the main track. Private boats are put up nearest the office while the fishing boats are put closer to the water.
1. Lots of power boxs around which take a variety of plugs. We used our small size marina plug.
2. Seem to be a lot of water outlets close by the boats too.
3. Ask for as many trestles and planks as you need. No extra charge.
4. Toilets are clean. One cold water shower - not luxurious but clean.
5. Free Wifi but only close to the office. Can access it when sitting outside the small shop near the office.
6. Small shop on the premises that sells toiletries, cold drinks (including beer), icecreams etc. Can rent a motorbike there for 150 B (half day) or 200 B (full day).
7. Coin operated washing machine (3 x 10 B pieces) or alternatively give your laundry to the lady opposite the slipway and she will do it for you at a very reasonable price.
8. Small hardware shop at the slipway. If they don't have what you want in stock then they'll get it from their large shop in town - same day or next day usually. Prices seemed to be fine.
9. Very large workshop where pretty much all engineering jobs can be done. Exact diagram with measurements will ensure no problems.
10. Welding (both normal and Stainless work) can be done there.
11. We got them to re-fill our anchor point with lead (lost during galvanizing earlier)
12. They can arrange galvanizing but it takes at least 2 weeks and I don't know what quality work.
13. Painters, sanders, carpenters etc all available. As usual - WATCH anybody working on your boat so that any errors can be corrected immediately (eg not wiping down the dust before painting/varnishing).
14. The workshop guys are VERY experienced at pulling props and turning prop shafts etc.
15. We had quite a few bits and pieces done at the workshop and the prices seemed fine to us.
16. Mr Gone (speaks fair English) and young Hun (speaks good English) are usually around to translate. Jia comes in only in the afternoons but you can text or phone him any time if you have a problem or need to order something.
17. Peanut/boiled egg/boiled mini sweet potato seller comes around approx 10 - 10.30am - listen for the hooter.
18. Satay and salad lady parks near the office just before midday. Otherwise there are a few simple eating places in the street outside.
19. The roti man (delicious banana or egg rotis!!) arrives late afternoon/early evening - listen for his hooter.
20. Buses (bench seats on the back of a covered small truck) runs ? hourly on the top of the hour. They seem to usually come up the road to the shipyard (and will always drop you back at the door). If not you can walk to the crossroads (about 15 minutes) where there's a bus stop. Satun is about 15 km away - 25 B per person.
21. Supplies: There's a few things available in the small shops in the village. On Thursday morning there's a good market about 100 metres along the road from the bus stop towards Satun. In Satun there's an excellent market on Saturday. I'm not sure if it's daily or only on Saturday. The Supermarket (C-Market) is about 4 km out of town.
22. Several yachties were renting furnished houses in Satun for about 7000 B per month while they were having work done on their boats. Apparently the lady at the On Guest House has some rentals. Ask around if you need one. You'll need to rent a car or motorbike too for transport though.
On arrival the boatyard will notify Immigration and the guy insists on coming there (meet him outside the small shop near the office). One of the shipyard guys will tell you what time. Be prepared to pay 400 B (no receipt!). Then go into town and a further 8 km or so to the Trebilang Ferry Pier. It's possible to catch 2 different buses but easier on a motorbike. Next door is a blue building which houses Port Control - go there to do more paperwork - no charge on entry but 100 B (with receipt) on exit. From there go to the Customs House - (the shipyard will give you a map) about 500 metres away upstream to check in and pay 270 B (with receipt). You will need multiple photocopies of your Boat Registration papers and your passport front pages. If you don't have them, ask the office girls in the shipyard office to make you some before you go in to do your paperwork
When checking out we went to Immigration in the Ferry terminal. The guy wanted 500 B but when we objected he settled for 200 B (no receipt of course!). Then Port Control (100 B) and then Customs (another 200 B there). Apparently they won't clear you the day ahead but this all takes a couple of hours due to travel and form filling and waiting around time, which means you might not get back in time if you try to do it the same day. You may want to stretch the truth and go in the morning before and tell them you're launching that afternoon.
It's a very busy yard and therefore there's a lot of (wood/paint/barnacle) dust in the air at times from the fishing boats being sanded. The fishing boats seem to come and go in waves. In the 3 weeks we were there there were days when the yard was jam packed and other days when there were only one or two fishing boats in the yard. A couple of the yachts having paint jobs done were in fully enclosed screened areas. I have no idea how expensive the screening is.
We had a steel ferry parked very close to our boat (as we have a steel motor boat we were parked with the work boats and not with the yachts) and the guys started grinding all the paint off the hull. They seemed oblivious to the fact that their grindings were blowing towards our boat. We asked Hun to sort it out and he very quickly organised a large cover to be hung so that their grindings were contained.
Although there was a large Wharram Cat hauled out in the yard I have no idea how suitable the yard is for most catamarans. You would need to visit the yard beforehand personally to check it out.
Were we happy with our experience there?
Overall yes. Our only real drama was the grinding dust (above) which was sorted out. Mr Gone was on holiday for one week which meant that we occasionally had problems finding someone to translate that week but we simply rang Jia if he wasn't in the office and he was happy to help. Certainly having the hardware shop and the good machinery shop on the premises meant we didn't waste time chasing around for supplies or to get things made.
A friend with a steel, fin keeled yacht is currently hauled out for his third time there as he is happy with the yard. Other friends who have hauled there were also happy with their experience.
As it is very reasonably priced both to haul and for the daily rates (see the current rates posted on their website) it is worth considering particularly if you need to do more than a simple bottom job. There are several high speed ferries from Langkawi each day so it is both cheap and easy to pop across to check out the yard before making a decision.
Haulouts are never a lot of fun and we're very glad to have it behind us but as far as a shipyard experience goes, this was one of our better experiences.
mv YAWARRA II