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Friendly South Korea

By Val Ellis last modified Mar 17, 2011 07:00 PM

Published: 2011-03-17 19:00:31
Countries: South Korea

As a cruising country, Korea has many beautiful islands and people are friendly and helpful.( we got very good at charades!!!). We tended to sail during daylight hours only, due to the fish nets, marine farms etc, unless we were in the official shipping channels. Currents can be quite strong in some areas and we used them when we could. Some times we just anchored out and waited for the tide to turn.

Because yachts at anchor are such a rarity we were often woken in the middle of the night by a curious coastguard checking if we were okay. Several times we could not stop where we had told coastguard we were going to, because the harbour was full of fish farms and or fishing boats, so we just continued on until we found somewhere else. The next morning brings a coastguard helicopter and later a coastguard ship - all concerned for our safety.

A cruising permit was not required, but Korea CoastGuard always want to know your next stop. Many times we tied/rafted/anchored right in front of, or very close to, a Coastguard office. They were always friendly and helpful. We were able to use their computers for weather checks and short email sessions and they often gave us coffee. On several occasions they took us on sightseeing trips.

Customs should also be visited to get clearance for your next MAJOR port. We did not tell them of every little place we were intending to visit and it did not create any problems.

Busan is the favourite port of entry as it is the closest to Japan. We also used Po Hang (36.03S, 129.22E) and on our return from China we used Incheon.

In reality, if a port has Customs, Immigration and Quarantine officials, entry is not a problem.

Tong Yeoung (34.49S,128.26E) and Mokpo (34.46S,126.23E) are two ports that we know can be used as Ports of Entry.

There is talk among the yachting community in Korea of the many marinas that are going to be built over the next few years.

Hear are the ones we used:-

A major city. There are global ATMs at Woori bank and Homeplus (within walking distance). Power Marine staff very very helpful (limited English).

Busan Marina
The staff were not proactive when we were there. There are notices on the gates telling you to contact Customs etc. We found the marina office on the second floor. We were given a photocopied sheet with some information on it.

Payment was expected on arrival. We believe that the marina is under going reconstruction and it is better to contact them before arrival in case there is no room. While we were there lift out facilities were not available. You organized your own crane or used the haul out at the fishing harbour. Tourist info was available from the information office at Hyundae Beach. about a ten minute walk away.

No marina here. We side tied to the wharf. There was no charge. All the officials were very friendly and excited as we were their first (non Russian) foreign yacht.

Chise Po, Geoje Island (34.49S,128.42E)
Plastic type pontoons. No charge for berthing. We caught the bus into Geoje city and visited a P.O.W (Korean war 1954) Camp Museum. This well worth the trip. Beside the marina is one of the best museums we have ever visited. One ticket covers both buildings. Very limited shopping.

Kim Nyeoung, Juju Island A brand new marina with room for about twelve yachts. So new that there were facilities for power and water but not yet Connected. Close to small village with small supermarket and good bakery. Sightseeing; Largest Lava Tunnel Complex in the world (world heritage site), an amazing Maze, friendly people. Well worth the trip.

Tong Yeong
Normal marina. Run by the Chung Mu resort. Marina fees payable A.S.A.P. In resort foyer is the Yacht Desk. Staff speak limited English, but can negotiate a good price. Also in foyer, is very good convenience store. The bus stop is very close to the marina and it is a short ride into town for major supermarket etc. Medium size supermarket within a bike ride. Intercity bus terminal in the town. We left CHARIOTEER here and spent some time in Seoul.

Yang Po Ri (35.52S,129.31E)
Plastic, lock together type of pontoons. If the wind gets up move to a mooring. There is no charge for mooring or marina berth. A good bus service to tourist sights, small mini market, NO global ATM.

Moko Marina
Owned by University but happy to have visiting yachts. Payment is required but not immediately. When we were there they were having trouble with the power and water supply. Water was available but we had to move to be able to fill our tanks. It was not a problem because we also arrange for a mini tanker at the same time. We moved up to the lift out area. Lift out crane for up to 40tons.

This was the only marina we came across where the management came out of the office to check boat ropes, shovel snow and generally keep an eye on things. We left CHARIOTEER here and returned to New Zealand for three months. We would recommend this marina to other visiting yachts.

Management have very ( read no) limited English but it was not a problem. We used our computer in marina office for internet and we usually got free coffee. Showers are available but we did not use them. Number 10 bus takes you to the two big supermarkets (Homeplus or E Mart). There is also a mini market within walking distance and there are fishermen supply shops are all around the area and with a bit of looking you can find what you need.

Marina office hours are Monday to Friday 8 am to 5pm. There is a global ATM at Korea Bank.

Local yachts range in size from 20 to 40ft. English is spoken by many of the boat owners.

Jebok Do (37.11S,126.39E)
This marina is okay but very far from any type of shopping or Services, and it is very expensive. Plus during the winter the boats are FROZEN in. We came up for the Boat Show, but it was not worth the time and effort.

At all our other stops where stopped at least overnight (approx 50) we either anchored out, tied to a pontoon, rafted to fishing boats or side tied to a wharf. It was only at the "proper" marinas that we were charged.

Other Comments
Free Internet and computer are available at most Post Offices in Korea.

In South Korea the majority of visiting yachts are from Russia or Japan. These yachts usually are here for the racing calendar and some Russian yachts will winter over. None of these yachts go cruising. We were an enigma to officials and locals.

For the Coastguard, we were a novelty. Their ships would approach us, look, take photos, offer help (this sometimes turned into keystone comedy situations), show us the best place to tie up, practice their English. Communication is carried out via telephone( mobile), but we did not have one and had to educate them to use VHF channel 16 and then change channel. According to locals, we were lucky not to have a phone because if we had the coastguard would keep calling to find out where we were, where we were going etc etc.

Small Craft Chart Books are published by Korea National Oceanographic Research Institute. We were fortunate in being given ours.

We really loved Korea..

Carol and Brian Boswell
s/v ‘Charioteer’