Marine safety measures and regulations in Thailand

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Thai authorities continue to step up efforts to ensure the safety of visitors by constantly reviewing all safety standards and regulations concerning all modes of transportation and to tighten and enhance marine safety measures in all of the Kingdom’s marine tourism destinations as well as on rivers and lakes.

The Ministry of Transport, the Marine Department, and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports are working in collaboration to enforce marine safety measures with the aim of reducing accidents and improving the travel experience for both tourists and local residents.

Some preventative measures and regulations from the Marine Department have included:

  1. Drug and alcohol checks for all boat operators before and after journeys.
  2. Marine speed limits based on engine size – mandatory GPS devices for any boats that will carry more than 12 passengers.
  3. All boat passengers are required to wear life jackets at all times when on the boat.
  4. Port officials check operators’ licenses and passenger numbers to ensure that limits are not exceeded.
  5. Port officials enforce the use of red and green flag signalling to warn boat operators about weather conditions.
  6. Copies of tourist passports and ID cards are made before the journey.
  7. New CCTV systems to be installed at every port.
  8. Severe penalties and bans for any businesses or boat operators that break the rules.
  9. Comprehensive testing for anyone applying for a boat operator’s license.
  10. Operators’ licenses are reviewed and renewed every five years.

Tips, Do’s and Don’ts

To enjoy a safe and satisfying off-shore activity in Thailand, the TAT recommends a number of steps tourists can take:

  • Always use life jackets when taking a boat trip, whether in the sea or river. Take particular care when swimming off coastal areas, especially during the monsoon season. Always comply with warning signs, especially red flags, and only swim in approved beaches.
  • Jellyfish can come close to the shore, especially during the rainy season. Their sting can be fatal.
  • Heed the advice of locals and officials when going out on boats and get advice from your hotel and the safest boat operators and dive services. Make sure you always listen to the crew and dive masters to ensure you know all safety instructions.
  • If you rent jet skis or water sports equipment, make sure that safety precautions are adequate and in place. Rent only from reputable, licensed and insured operators. Thoroughly check for damage before use and insist on training.
  • In the rainy season from May to October, visitors should take good care when swimming, diving, kayaking or white-water rafting in rivers or close to waterfalls, as the currents can be extremely strong.
  • Anyone who wants to ask for assistance in case of accidents can contact the Marine Department’s Helpline on 1111 or submit complaints with the Tourist Police Hotline on 1155. The service is available 24 hours.