Indonesia, West Kalimantan: Good Provisioning stop at Pontianak

Stefan Hirsch reports on a three day visit to Pontianak, Kalimantan which is situated about 16 kms (10 miles) up the Kapuas River, one of the largest rivers in Southeast Asia and a convenient provisioning stop between Kumai in South Kalimantan and the Anambas.

Published 3 years ago

Map showing the location of Pontianak
Pontianak is the capital of West Kalimantan

Pontianak is the capital of West Kalimantan and has about half a million inhabitants.  It’s a convenient provisioning stop between Kumai in South Kalimantan and the Anambas. The following report is based on our three day visit in October 2019 with our 45 foot catamaran.

We read the Noonsite theft reports from earlier yachts. Each of the officers and everyone we met warned us of thievery and advised to stay safe and keep the boat locked. We anchored in the river one night and kept a watch. Maybe our flashlight deterred a small boat from approaching.

False sense of security

We spent two nights at the Harbour Master dock and while the stream of local visitors for photos was a bit much, we felt safe: the Harbour Master staff watched our boat, we knew the other people on the dock from the tugs, customs, police boats. This gave us a false sense of security. The entire crew wanted to go for a birthday lunch, so I asked the Harbour Master whether we should employ a security guard. He advised his staff could keep an eye out and it should be fine. We went out to the mall for lunch with the boat locked. During this time our dinghy outboard was stolen from the ship. If you do stop in Pontianak for provisioning a deck watch should be kept at all times and the boat not be left unattended.

Approaching Pontianak

As you approach Pontianak the sea becomes shallow from the Kapuas run-off. There are extensive flats with depths around and below 2m before you get to the river entrance. The good news is that there is continuous dredging by the Port of Pontianak to keep access for big merchant ships. The shipping channel is clearly marked with red and green lateral beacons, and we found it to be 5 to 10m deep.

The start of the channel is at:

00°05′.512N 109°05′.268E

Once inside the river the depth tends to be more than 5m and up to 15m, but steer clear of soft sand build-ups near islands or smaller river inlets. We had current Navionics charts but as of now they are completely off and useless for river navigation.


Waypoints for the shipping channel and river, from the entrance to the Harbour Master office (minimum depth 3m at time of writing) are as follow. Note this crosses the equator.

00°04′.901N 109°08′.103E

00°04′.518N 109°09′.596E

00°03′.961N 109°10′.813E

00°02′.007N 109°13′.747E

00°00′.118N 109°17′.772E

00°00′.069S 109°18′.835E

00°00′.921S 109°20′.040E

00°01′.212S 109°20′.308E

This last waypoint is the dock in front of the Harbour Master’s office, Kantor Kesyahbandara. Immigration (Kantor Immigrasi) and Customs (Bea Cukai) are next door to the Harbour Master. Ship Quarantine is a ten minute walk away: Kantor Kesehatan Pelabuhan on Jl Pak Kasih.

Helpful locals

The assistant Harbour Master (Pak Hardi, +62 852-1630-9928) has good English and is very friendly and willing to help. We needed some fiberglass repair and he called the local shipyard and arranged for an engineer to come and assess. He also sent one of his staff to help us with a depth sensor issue. We found the other offices likewise to be very friendly. There was no need for an agent and no fees were collected (port clearance cost 16,000 IDR).

Steadfast Shipyard in Pontianak, West Kalimantan. Photo (c) Stefan Hirsch

Steadfast Shipyard is a commercial shipyard, but they have a crane up to 170 tons, and can do basic fiberglass work, prices are reasonable.


For local transport we used Grab, and met a driver who had decent English. We used him as transport for several runs to Pertamina to top up our jerrycans on Dexlite. Docked at the Harbour Master and a 5 minute drive from the gas station it was a reasonably convenient way to fill up with quality Diesel. Agustiansyah, whatsapp +6281319260074


The Ayani Megamall is modern and has ATMs, pharmacies, Starbucks, and a big Hypermart supermarket where we got everything for a 7 person crew for 3 weeks provisioning. There is also a smaller Carrefour and a local Kaisars supermarket. Both are closer to the Harbour Master dock but we did not try these.

For electronics you can try Toko Navigasi, we bought a Garmin Fish Finder at an Amazon price.

Stefan Hirsch

SV Rainbow Safari


The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of or World Cruising Club.

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