Rabat - General Info

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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.

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

Entrance Notes and Cautions:

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

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.

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

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

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.

a small blue and white motorboat with a cabin and 3 fenders hanging out the starboard side alongside a finger pontoon in the marina
Marina pilot boat – photo courtesy of Maria Wadsworth

Best advice is to telephone or radio (VHF Ch10) the marina on arrival, and they will send a pilot boat 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.

See this useful video by SV Seefalke on the approaches to Rabat from December 2018.


34° 02′ 37’N, 06° 50′ 44’W (river entrance)

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Rabat was last updated 5 years ago.

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  1. August 22, 2019 at 11:00 AM
    renee says:

    What is the depth at this harbor and dock??

  2. January 21, 2019 at 6:30 PM
    Lynda Lim says:

    We were in Rabat from Nov 15 till Dec 01, 2018 and all in all had a great experience in Marina Bouregreg.

    Jan 21, 2019 06:30 PM

    After calling the marina on VHF 10 the pilot picked us up, guided us over the bar to the customs pontoon. Clearing in was efficient and straight forward and took about 1.5 hrs. Marina is safe, facilities are good. Just don’t expect any boat yard or yacht chandlers.

    Please note Morocco changed to Central European Time just very recently!!

  3. November 1, 2018 at 7:40 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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.

  4. October 30, 2018 at 3:28 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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

  5. December 14, 2017 at 2:23 PM
    Sue Richards says:

    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.

  6. October 24, 2017 at 11:04 AM
    Sue Richards says:

    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.

  7. December 8, 2016 at 5:34 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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,

  8. September 6, 2016 at 2:24 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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

  9. October 11, 2015 at 7:48 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

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

  10. August 22, 2014 at 7:02 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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.

  11. October 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM
    Sue Richards says:

    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