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 Rabat - Profile

Location

This capital city of Morocco lies about 125 NM south of Tangier on the Bouregreg River. Its clean, wide streets presenting a very different atmosphere to other Moroccan cities. Even so, there is plenty of atmosphere to be found in the old part of the city, in the Medina, and the Kasbah.

Rabat has the Bouregreg marina, one of the two marinas on the Atlantic coast. It is a secure place to leave your boat and explore Morocco. If going by train, use Salé station, it is much closer than Rabat.

This port will close if there is a strong NW swell (more than 2 metres). Research the weather outlook carefully as not only can it be frustrating not being able to enter, it's even more frustrating being trapped inside the marina unable to leave.

This website www.windguru.cz has the swell forecast for Rabat.

Mohammedia is the closest alternative and is open in all weather conditions (however it probably is the most expensive port on this coast).

NOTE: Rabat is on London time except, it appears, during Ramadan when it appears they drop back to UTC.

Entering the Port

It is not advisable to enter the port at night. Unmarked fishing nets and hard to see channel marks can make the entrance hazardous.

The port is about a mile from the river entrance.

Extreme care should be exercised when entering Rabat harbour (a tidal river channel) when a strong swell is running and at low tide. Entry with a strong westerly wind would be dangerous. Large swells will break between the breakwaters at the harbour entrance. It is also wise to watch out for sand reefs on the port side if there are strong tides when entering.

Particular care should be taken when entering the channel, which is often very congested with swimmers, and jet skis.

The advice is to telephone or radio (VHF Ch10) the marina on arrival, and they will send a pilot boat (pictured right) out to escort you up the river. This is part of the marina service and it is available 24/7. Bear in mind that the pilot works on a handheld VHF so may not answer, but he will hear you and come out to assist with entry. The pilot will also escort you out of the river when you depart. The staff are very friendly and helpful.

Position 34° 02' 37'N, 06° 50' 44'W (river entrance)

Clearance

For full details on clearing into and out of Morocco see noonsite's Morocco Formalities.

Clearance both in and out is carried out at the marina's "police" dock/fuel dock in front of the police and customs office on the starboard side as you enter the marina. Procedures are straightforward, and generally take about an hour. Customs may use a sniffer dog to inspect the boat.

Both Customs and Immigration are available 24hrs.

Last updated:  November 2018

Customs
Tel:+212 05 37 849 902
Immigration
Tel:+212 05 37 883 709

Docking

Rabat´s once busy port has suffered from the silting of the Bouregreg River, however long-term dredging has improved the situation here (for the time being).

Top photos courtesy of Maria Wadsworth, bottom photo courtesy of SY Midushi.

Bouregreg Marina

The marina, which was opened in March 2008, lies on the northern side of the city at Sale. There is complete shelter here.

Beware of the strong current in the river and the low bridge just beyond the marina entrance. Entering at slack water might be advisable. Cruisers visiting the marina have reported seeing no less than 3 metres in the channel.

Last updated:  October 2018

Bouregreg Marina
Position 34°02.5’N, 06°50.3’W ,
7 rue Abou Inane, , Hassan, Rabat
Tel:+212 537 849 900 Fax:+212 537 785 858 ,VHF Channel 10
Opening hours: 09:00-17:00(Mon-Fri), 09:00-14:00(Sat)
Full facility marina, reported to have plenty of space, with short finger pontoons, berthing bow or stern-to. Fuel berth (credit cards accepted - pay at marina office), showers, WiFi, chandlery, fresh produce stalls, 3 restaurants (one serving alcohol but expensive), 24hr security. Same day laundry service. 24hr Zodiac ferry to the Medina. Prices include electricity and water. Helpful and friendly staff.
Slipway and boatyard.

Yacht Clubs

Club Nautique
The Yacht Club is about a twenty minute walk along the North Bank from the new marina, palatial-looking with splendid cuisine.
Lindsay Carswell
Lindsay Carswell says:
Nov 01, 2018 07:40 PM

Clearing in and out was done on the "police" dock - basically the fuel dock in front of the police and customs office. They came aboard as soon as we tied up (around 10 am) and we were done within 30 minutes. We even received the elusive blue (with white copy) customs form and were told that we would only give this up at the last port we would visit before leaving the country. Customs has a new sniffer dog, who is young and still not entirely comfortable with getting on and off boats. He was simply led up and down the decks of the boat, never entering the boat.

Clearing out took way longer as the marina office was slow. We think they might have even sent someone to the boat to measure her length! Once done with the marina office, we were directed to leave our birth and move back to the fuel dock to clear out with customs and police. The officials were way more efficient than the marina, and including another walk-around of the sniffer dog, and inspection of random stuff inside the boat by the officials, we were done in about 30-40 minutes. At which point the marina pilot boat was waiting to escort us out.

All-in-all a great experience at this marina, although not as cheap as Tangiers.

pål Dahl
pål Dahl says:
Oct 30, 2018 03:28 PM

Rabat October 2018
Fast reply on english email that they had received our email and were waiting for us. Call the marina on VHF channel 10, 2 miles before arriving outside the river opening. They will hear you on the VHF, but may be able to respond due to a weak sender I guess. They might also take some extra time as they might be waiting to escort a boat finalizing their paperwork for leaving, down the river.

River entrance closed when swell is above 2 meters. Talked to someone that had been “trapped” in the marina due to this, so look at the weather forecasts.

Custom, police, and fuel are just to the starboard side when entering the marina. Enough room for two yachts and expect it to take about one hour before you`ll be escorted to your berth.

Electricity and water on the pontoons. Berthing with “fingers” either stern-to or bow-to. The lads working there were improvising some knots, so double check they are good.

English speaking staff and good facilities, accessible without key/card.

You`ll need to check out with police and customs whether you continue to a Moroccan port or a new country. Expect 1 hour. You will be escorted down the river.

SY Murphy`s Law

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Dec 14, 2017 02:23 PM

Posted by "Rersk" elsewhere on noonsite:

The marinas in Rabat/Sale (Bouregreg Marina) and the one at Agadir are purpose-built for sailing yachts, though reports from Agadir indicate some swell and facility deficiencies. The Bouregreg Marina is nearly ideal, with excellent comfort and security, within walking distance of a rail connection to all major cities, and a tram connection to Rabat, bustling modern capital of Morocco.
An overnight from Gib, Cadiz or Barbate, Bouregreg Marina is on the river of the same name, entered between stone breakwaters and over a shallow bar. Entry and exit should be in daylight, near high tide, with a swell of less than 2 meters. A VHF hail to the marina on approach will bring out a RIB to guide arrivals over the bar and up the river. The surfing website Magicseaweed.com is an excellent source of swell conditions and forecasts. Fuel is available in the marina, but my own experience with the fuel was not good, probably because this small marina doesn't sell much diesel, and the big yachts generally bunker in their fuel. Filling jerry cans at a nearby gas station solves this problem. There is no haul-out or chandlery in this marina, but excellent cafes and restaurants. I wintered over there in 2011/2012 and found the winter weather much easier than any place in the Mediterranean. Rabat is at the southern end of the Gulf of Cadiz. Sheltered from the worst of Atlantic weather by the Iberian Peninsula and the African coast, stormy weather is relatively infrequent in this location. Essouira, further South and West is less protected, known for windy conditions and its chaotically crowded fishing harbor.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 24, 2017 11:04 AM

Reported by Maria Wadsworth:
BoureGreg Marina - Sale (opposite side of the river to Rabat)
August 2017

We called on the VHF a fair distance before we got to the harbour entrance, they didn’t answer but were there in the Bouregreg Marina boat to meet us. They escorted us through the channel, past the swimmers and the fishing boats. What a wonderful sight.
We moored up on the waiting pontoon and the policeman and a customs man came on board. The policeman spoke good English. It took 20 mins to fill out the forms. They were really nice and asked the usual questions and discussed football! - then the marina man came back and took Allen to show him the marina and choose our berth!

As previously mentioned, you must fly your Moroccan flag and your Q flag below it, they checked that we had! The sniffer dog man came but didn't come on board as we don’t have a gate on our boat and apparently it’s a huge dog.

They said to let them know 1 hour before we wanted to leave. Marina staff need to know the day before.

No supermarket in the marina, it has closed. Fresh fruit stalls in and around the marina.
The Water in the marina is drinkable.
No recycling in Morocco.
No laundry.
Toilets and showers are clean.
Fuel available but needs to be paid for at the marina office - we filled up before leaving and the marina staff took Allen on their boat to the office while we were waiting for the police to sort our exit.

You can go (to Rabat) on the water taxi (a small boat!) for 2.50 dirham each. We got the tram back, buy your ticket at the station before getting on and validate your ticket in the machine when you get on.

The Train station is not where it says it is on google maps!
2 single tickets first class (Aircon) 148 dirhams 2017. Takes 1 hour 15 mins to Casablanca.
Get the train to the centre - they speak a little English at the Sale train station and will help as much as possible. We bought the wrong tickets and they sorted it out for us - between French and English we managed to convey what we wanted without any drama.
We also went to Fes from here, fantastic place.

symidushi
symidushi says:
Jul 08, 2017 03:21 PM

The entrance to the harbour is closed at swells higher than 2 meters. In that case you will have to go to Mohammedia, a futher 35 miles or so to the south.
Before entering the harbour contact “Bouregreg marina” on ch 10. No one answered when we called, but the pilot is only issued with a handheld VHF which reaches not that far. The pilot will hear you and come out to get you, a free service from the marina. You can enter the harbour very well yourself by keeping the (unlit) pillar in the middle of the entrance to your starboard side. It marks an always submerged but visible breakwater. Then keep to the middle of the River where we found no less than 5 meters of water at half tide. The tide in Salé is approx 3 meters.
After a mile just before the bridge you will see a floating waiting pontoon on your port side where you will have to tie up and wait for the officials, including the sniffer dog, to arrive. Formalities are quick and efficient. After completing formalities you are directed into the marina.
The marina is fully equipped with electricity, water and WiFi and very clean and spacious showers and toilets. For this is the home port of the Moroccan Royal Family so the marina is extremely well guarded. For a yacht of 13 meters the finger pontoons are a bit short, but this is not a real problem for this is a very quiet and very well sheltered harbour.
Great tram connection to Rabat and Salé where a very big supermarket is located (Marjane) at the last stop of the tramway line 1 direction Hay Karima. From Salé or Rabat there are excellent train connections to Marakech, Casablanca, Fes and Meknes (Vollubilis).
Daily marina rates are good, we paid for a 13 meter yacht 230 DRH a night.
The soukh medina and Kasbah of Rabat as well as Salé with the most beautiful Koran school are well worth a visit.

Golden Glow
Golden Glow says:
Dec 08, 2016 05:34 PM

We were in Rabat in SEptember/October 2016. Radio the marina and they will send a pilot boat out to lead you in safely through the swell (they also will escort you out of the river when you depart). Custome did bring the sniffer dog on board our catamaran, but only at the time of our departure. On arrival, customs confiscated our drone but returned it to us when we left. The marina has excellent security, decent wifi , showers, an inexpensive good quality same-day turnaround laundry service and several restaurants,

TomKanz
TomKanz says:
Sep 06, 2016 02:24 PM

Bouregreg Marina sent a circular mail to all customers per 5 sept 2016 that the dredging is finished. Depths at low tides vary from -5 m at the mouth of the river to -4m in the channel. It is impossible to say if this is valid for all times and conditions with the shifting sands at the harbour entrance, bur it seems that the entrance will be much safer in the future.
Thomas Kanzler / SY Spica

svbebe
svbebe says:
Oct 11, 2015 07:48 AM

Regarding the above sniffer dog, they do not sniff all boats.
Bill & Judy - BeBe

csquared
csquared says:
Aug 22, 2014 07:02 AM

I just want to confirm they are still dredging the river. When we came in the water depth was never below 5,5m at high water neap tide. MArina sent a pilot boat out that helped us through the river. Very friendly.
The pontoons are awfully short. It takes a while to tie the boat up properly, but is doable. Lots of space and not many visiting yachts. Interesting city to visit ... Sale just around the corner, Rabat across the river (there are rowing boats that take you over for 20 DAH). Very nice Medina.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 10, 2013 12:32 PM

Rabat Marina I was there late September 2013 and we were abele to enter the river at low water slack, all the way up we had 2.5/3 meters as they have dredged the river.
We still had to call the marina channel 10 and wait for the pilot boat but other than that no problems at all, the fuel quay is now open.
Just for the record the customs will put a snifter dog on when you arrive or leave.
Dave Tuson/ Jim Cooper S/Y Second Wind

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