Indian Ocean and Red Sea Passage: Helping cruisers exchange information

Bob and Alex Bechler have been sailing some 15 years with 75,000 miles logged having crossed the Pacific several times. They have created a number of Facebook pages to help yachts making their first passages in the Indian Ocean. Here they pass on an update on yachts that are planning a Red Sea passage in the new Year and some tips for those considering this passage.

Published 4 years ago

Cochin International Marina, India

The Red Sea & Indian Ocean information exchange

If you are planning a passage through the Indian Ocean to South Africa or via the Red Sea to the Mediterranean in 2019, there is an information exchange Facebook group just for you. For security purposes, these are private groups and invisible to anybody on Facebook that is not a member of these groups. New members are carefully vetted prior to granting access to the group.

Via the Red Sea Passage Facebook group, the 2019 fleet is shaping up nicely. There are some 25 yachts currently planning on the Passage. This year could be dubbed as the “big boat fleet” as three of the yachts exceed 70’.

This is not a rally, just a way to help boats communicate with each other and disseminate information about routing plans, security precautions, required permits, etc. This will help everybody to make this a safer and more pleasant passage.

To join these valuable Facebook groups contact:

Red Sea Passage:  

Sherry on s/v Soggy Paws

E-mail: [email protected]  

Include your boat name and your expected timeframe for making the passage.

Indian Ocean Crossing: 

Sherry McCampbell on SV Soggy Paws

E-mail: [email protected]

There are three more groups of interest:

Indian Ocean Crossing On Passage 

South Atlantic Ocean Crossing 

Med Sailing

These are Closed Groups, not Secret. To join those groups simply go to their Facebook page and request membership.

Security Concerns

No yachts have been attacked on the Red Sea route for several years. Yacht crews are always making risk comparisons between pirates and the weather problems around South Africa. With the decrease in pirate activity on the Red Sea approaches there has been a ramping up of the number of yachts making a Red Sea passage.

In 2017 there were 6 yachts making the transit.

2018 saw at least 31 yachts.

In 2019 there are already 25 yachts in our northbound database.

Agents at the Suez Canal report higher numbers in every year with none reporting any significant piracy problems. That being said there are still security issues to be considered.

The conflict in Yemen is causing refugees to flee by sea to other countries.  Armed attacks by rebel forces against Saudi Arabia shipping have occurred.  Pirates seem to have concentrated their efforts on commercial shipping. The military patrols have been successful in repelling most attacks and provide security cover to yachts in the region.

The risks are not zero and still require prudent choices and vigilance on the part of yachts making any passage of the Indian Ocean or a Red Sea transit. Over the last couple of seasons, one yacht per year has opted for private security hired for the Red Sea passage.  Security teams are picked up in international waters off Sri Lanka.  Their weapons are deposited on an armoury ship in the Red Sea and the security team leaves the yacht in Egypt.

Departure Points

Yachts heading to the Red Sea can depart from Sri Lanka, the Maldives, or Cochin, India.  Stops are made at Socotra Island, Djibouti, Eritrea, Suakin Sudan and Egypt. There are detailed passage reports on the Facebook page and some have been submitted to Noonsite.

Over the last few years Cochin, India has reemerged as the gateway to the Red Sea. The Cochin International Marina has long been the traditional departure point for northbound Red Sea passages. It is an excellent stop for provisioning, good marina security, an interesting tourist experience, and excellent medical facilities are available. The recent visa change which allows Evisa entry into Cochin makes a visa solution inexpensive and easy. The marina has performed much-needed maintenance and replaced decking throughout the marina.  24-hour security is on premises and yachties can use the Bolgotty Island Resort facilities.


Cochin International Marina

Nighel Joseph – marina manager

Tel: +91 97470 57015

E-mail: [email protected]


Send vessel name, mono or cat, dimensions, ETA and length of stay, to reserve space in the marina.

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