India, Cochin: Cruisers’ Updates

Cruisers continue to report on the current situation at Cochin Marina for visiting yachts.

Published 6 years ago, updated 4 years ago

Kochi Map ©WikiTravel.or

Posted 5th May 2017

My wife and I are New Zealanders currently on board our yacht Berserker II located in Cochin. I have read the information on Noonsite regarding Cochin and notice it has been a while since there has been an update.

Currently, there are only two cruising boats in the marina. We’ve had our boat here since late November 2016, but we have not been living aboard, so we don’t know if others have come and gone.

For us, the facilities have been perfect. They are not up to first class European marina standard, but they are better than some we have experienced. The ablutions are relatively clean, the showers may not have hot water, but why would you want a hot shower in 35 degrees

The marina itself is deteriorating, but we’ve seen worse in Greece and no one seems to blink an eye. There is power backed up by a generator if the mains fail, which happens occasionally, mainly in high temperatures, possibly due to high air-conditioning use. Water is also available, drunk by locals but maybe our delicate bellies should not attempt to try it.

All the Bolgatty Palace resort facilities are available to marina users. This includes free wifi in the reception area (if you are not in a room this is the only place to access wifi) nice couches and air-conditioning.

The locals are friendly and helpful, you can get anything here and delivery is reliable. The ferry to town is nearby and there is a treasure trove of hardware and useful things for boating in this area.

Sadly there is a rumour the marina will not survive due to lack of use.

The boom days occurred while the Vasco De Gama rally ran, but those days appear to be over. The threats of pirate ally prevent yachts taking the challenge of the Red Sea from Europe, although we had no trouble. The Tradewind routes also avoiding a Red Sea passage wouldn’t sensibly divert to Cochin.

However, if you are on passage from Thailand to Sri Lanka, why not take a detour to Cochin and safely explore the magic of India?

Craig and Pam Wilson

SV Berserker II

Posted 5th August 2013

We visited Kochi (formerly Cochin) in May 2013 and we were only the 4th yacht to arrive this year. We were very glad we made the effort and here is some updated information and a few misapprehensions corrected.

Arrival. You must call port control on Channel 16 about 2 hours out and then again on arrival to get clearance to enter the port. The Harbour Board send a launch to direct you to an anchorage off Taj Malabar hotel where caution is required as it is very shallow. Customs will come aboard, in our case quite quickly even though it was Sunday. You then go ashore during normal working hours to the harbour office, Customs and Immigration. The harbour office and Customs are both a few minutes walk from where we landed the dinghy at some jetties around the corner from the anchorage. Immigration is a 50rp auto ride away opposite the old railway station. All paperwork, whilst extensive, is straightforward and no requests were made for unofficial payments or “gifts”. We offered cordial on board which is our usual practice. The total cost, clearing in and out was about US$12 for a 44ft yacht and this was mostly for 1-night harbour dues. We found the officials courteous, friendly and helpful. It should be understood that paperwork is part of Indian culture – the systems are there to serve the paperwork, not the other way around! Yachts are certainly not singled out for special attention, in fact, quite the opposite – the officials did their best to be helpful. The paperwork ran to many pages with 4 copies of each using carbon paper. They even asked for a log of our passage, but to avoid filling in a long form I said our navigation was all electronic and we did not keep a log! You are required to leave the ship’s registration document with Customs, and although it disappeared into vast piles of papers they found it again quickly on check out, much to my relief. After completion of formalities, we concluded with a letter authorizing us to move anchorage and proceed to Bolgatty Marina. Although assistance may be offered by auto drivers both with clearance and getting from the Taj Malabar anchorage to Bolgatty marina, neither is necessary and the channel is well marked with lateral channel buoys with a least depth of 1.8mtrs at chart datum.

The Marina is part of a resort complex centred on an old Dutch palace on Bolgatty Island. It was practically empty. It is not in bad repair, though there was a bit of rot in some of the pontoons, but not a serious problem. It is well sheltered and though it might get a bit lively in occasional squalls it is quite safe. We spent a month there and left the boat whilst we travelled inland but would be happy to have spent longer to travel around more extensively. Cmdr Jose Verghese [email protected] Tel: +914842750500 +91 99958 95310, who runs the marina, is extremely helpful. 240V A/C power and water are available. There is also an excellent washing machine and drying racks (As it is part of a hotel they do not like laundry drying on the boat) The only disadvantage is that the pontoons are rather short so larger yachts should lie on the longer outer pontoons. Security is good as there are 24 hr security guards. Free use of the hotel swimming pool is included. 5 mins walk away from a frequent ferry runs to town. The marina cost was 20000Rp for one month, about US$400.

Services and Provisions: Many services are available and Bryan Thurlow and his assistant Gladwin  [email protected] Tel: +91484 4025231 Mob: +91 9947224835 can help with many problems including shipping boats.

We were surprised at how well we were able to stock up for our next passages, long ones to South Africa, and the quality of the produce. Lulu’s shopping complex is a brand new huge supermarket and shopping complex a few miles out of town on the airport road.

For more information about supplies see report Kochi Suppliers.

Clearing out is done in the same order as clearing in i.e. harbour authority, customs and immigration. This took a couple of hours in total, mostly waiting for signatures and then you have 72 hours to leave.

In conclusion, we would absolutely recommend Kochi as a place to visit and would even consider bypassing Sri Lanka altogether. The cost of living in Kochi is relatively cheap and the quality of fresh produce is excellent. Historically it was most visited by yachts travelling to and from the Red Sea and through the pirate situation has virtually stopped that traffic it is also a convenient stop to travel to the Maldives and/or Chagos. Although a pirate attack was reported close to the Indian coast it was an isolated incident and did not cause us any concern. It is absolutely necessary to have a visa in advance but these can be obtained in Singapore or Thailand, not necessarily from one’s country of citizenship or residence as was previously the case. A 6-month multiple entry visa cannot be extended so it is necessary to plan accordingly.

We found the people friendly and helpful and we had no problems with crime or theft and felt quite safe in the main town at all times.

Roger Morgan and Sue Lister

Yacht “Wapiti”


Posted 8th July 2010

Just a quick update on Cochin marina.

Entrance up the dredged channel was a little worrying with our 2m draft boat showing zero depth all the way up! Boats with 2.5m have made it up there though.

Getting into the marina is physically difficult due to the tide, which is 9 hours ebb up to 1.5 knots. The finger berths are tight and unless people are there to help push your boat and take lines even boats equipped with bow-thrusters have and will struggle. This is the biggest short-sight of the planning of this marina.

Facilities currently include the use of two rooms in the Marina hotel, which is part of the Bolgatty Palace hotel complex, to shower. Good shower and new bathroom with aircon, leccy permitting. Sail storage is currently one of those rooms where they have removed the bed and furniture. Daily power cuts but generator normally kicks in although the marina hotel does seem to not have leccy half the time!

Ferry to the mainland costs 4 rupees.

Hotel facilities include a heated(!) pool and bar. Expensive internet in reception so we use Reliance dongles for the net.

There are very good local workers and we can recommend Navas of Sea Fort for general boat cleaning.

Facilities proposed but not yet seen: laundry, wifi, sail storage.

The biggest problem in India is the clamping down of security. Every anchorage from Mumbai to Cochin you can expect to have your paperwork checked by military or coast guard.

Jamie Furlong

Segnaliamo l’avvenuta apertura del nuovissimo marina a Cochin. Si trova a Bolghatty Island, per intenderci, dove il portolano indica il piccolo pontile dell’Hotel Bolghatty Palace. La profondità massima sia nel canale per arrivare all’ormeggio sia ai pontili è di 2.50 mt. Sconsigliato l’avvicinamento a barche che pescano di più. Al momento l’ultimo Vasco da Gama Rally occupa buona parte del marina, quindi si consiglia di contattare la direzione e informarsi preventivamente. Nella tassa di stazionamento al marina è compreso l’utilizzo della sala giochi, palestra e piscina dell’Hotel Bolghatty. Ovviamente trovate anche un bar e un ristorante (il ristorante non è molto buono). Acqua e corrente a parte. Puntano sempre molto in alto con i prezzi, ricordatevi di ridurre la richiesta ad al max 1/4. Come sempre gli indiani sono molto cordiali e si fanno in 4 per tutti.

NON c’è possibilità di mettere a terra la barca, ne al marina, ne in nessun altro posto a Cochin.

Sconsigliamo a barche che pescano più di 1,5 mt di avvicinarsi al pontile di Mr. Crabtree. Attenzione perchè a noi hanno raccontato molte bugie via mail, non fidatevi troppo.

Marco e Francesca

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