| Jailani Hasan |
LABUAN (Bernama) – The Labuan Public Marina has been attracting yachters from across the globe, who make a stopover there to rest and replenish supplies before continuing with their journey.
Many of the yachters also take a vacation in this duty free island blessed with numerous natural and manmade wonders.
Officially opened as soon as the island was elevated to a Federal Territory more than three decades ago, the Labuan Public Marina has all the facilities for yachters to break their sea journey or wait for the right weather before continuing with their journey.
Seafarers who anchor at the marina will literally be parking their yachts downtown Labuan and greeted by friendly locals and a myriad of facilities – docking berths, WiFi connectivity, restrooms, and water and electricity supply points at the pontoons that are illuminated at night.
Apart from being located in a prime location close to the town and within walking distance from the customs and immigration offices, the marina itself offers easy access to the nearby duty-free shops, business facilities, shopping malls, ferry terminal providing access to the mainland, hotels, car and bike rentals, and convenience stores.
Bernama’s random survey to the marina recently found that there were several private foreign sail boats and mega yachts moored at the marina’s berthing area. More than 35 docks are available for berthing.
Another factor that lure the yacthers here is the reasonable prices for the facilities provided. The average daily berthing fees for yachts or any type sailing boats is around RM0.80 per square feet of the vessel size (local owner) and RM1 per square feet (foreign owner).
An Australian sailor who provided only his first name, David, said Labuan Public Marina is his favourite transit point.
David, 45, who had travelled 1,100 nautical miles from Hong Kong to reach the marina said that he was impressed by the rich cultural history of the island that has been long listed in the British Admiralty Chart and navigational maps.
David said the island provided natural shelter against the elements, notably rough waves and strong winds, besides the reasonable mooring fees. These were among the factors he considered before deciding to sail to Labuan and berth at the Labuan Public Marina.
“I guess this marina had established itself as one of the best marina in this region and is gaining a good reputation for its services and the scenery it offers,” said David who has been in the marina for almost a month after arriving from Hong Kong.
“What is more, nightlife here is just amazing, including fine-dining restaurants, bars and clubs as well as historical attractions.
“When exploring Labuan, don’t forget to take your camera, as you cannot miss a chance to take a picture of the stunning sunsets,” said David who will be continuing his journey to Vietnam from the marina.
He highlighted that the island is an ideal location for yacht charters and sailing, no matter what kind of activities you prefer, you will find plenty to do on this island.
Spend a day sunbathing on soft-sandy beaches, or snorkel and indulge in water-sports activities at Papan Island and Rusukan Besar Island, and then dedicate some time to enjoy beautiful evening and breathtaking views from the marina.
Another Australian sailor Joseph Andrew who arrived at the marina from Singapore noted people around the world have been sailing to Labuan for centuries.
“On this 35.38 square-mile island, the Labuan public marina is convenient, and getting around by land or water via this marina is as also easy. The marina is also accessible to hardware store and boat repair services and they are conveniently found nearby.
“The marina is also close to barbecue grills and plenty of spots for picnicking,” said Andrew who has been in transit at the marina since August and plans to head to Vietnam as well.
“Labuan is any sailor’s paradise, located behind the eateries and popular four-star Billion Hotel and shopping mall, the Labuan Public Marina has no waves making the waters ideal for docking and mooring,” said Labuan Member of Parliament Datuk Rozman Isli.
“Not only that, beautiful beaches, bays and crystal clear water, attract the yachting elite to this island,” he added.
Rozman who is also the chairman of local authority of Labuan Corporation disclosed that there had been plans to expand the marina as part of the government’s efforts to make Labuan as a premier tourist destination.