Gulf of Aden

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Gulf of Aden
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Small info.png Latest News
Feb. 2011 WARNING - it is highly advised NOT to undertake the passage via the Gulf of Aden due to extreme pirate activity at this time.

Circumnavigators should rather consider the route via the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Town) until the piracy problem in the Gulf of Aden is properly is highly advised NOT to undertake the passage via the Gulf of Aden due to extreme pirate activity at this time.

IMPORTANT! (2010) There is a large spike in piracy attempts in the Gulf of Aden and transit suggestions are changing almost daily. It is important to monitor the forum discussion thread .

File:ISAFGuidelinesForPreventionOfPiracy 7256 .pdf


The Gulf of Aden is a vital waterway for shipping, especially for Persian Gulf oil, making it an integral waterway in the world economy. Approximately 11 percent of the world's seaborne petroleum passes through the Gulf of Aden on its way to the Suez Canal or to regional refineries. The main ports along the Gulf are Aden (in Yemen), Zeila, Berbera, and Bosaso in Somalia.

In earlier history, the city of Crater, located just east of the modern city of Aden, was an important port in regional trade. Crater was the principal harbor of the pre-Islamic kingdom of Awsan, and after its annexation by the kingdom of Saba at the end of the 5th century, the port of Crater played a significant role in connecting Africa with Arabia.

Warning: The Gulf of Aden is an area known for acts of piracy, making its waters dangerous for cruising yachts - extreme care must be taken in transit.

Also see:


Chart Number - Chart Name
Chart Number - Chart Name
Chart Number - Chart Name


Give local weather conditions or refer to another page (a region or island group) that covers these conditions.

Sources for Weather forecasts:

Weather Windows

Give the best time/s of year for this passage and expected weather conditions.


Add any navigation notes such approaches, dangers etc here. If this section does not apply remove it.


Also see World Cruiser's Nets.

Possible Departure Points

List the possible departure ports. Include their coordinates. It is assumed that corresponding Wiki pages of these ports either exist or will be created.

  • Departure Point1/wiki/Gulf_of_Aden#.3Cspan_style.3D.22color:magenta_.22.3EDeparture_Point1.3C.2Fspan.3EMarina icon Departure Point1 [[Gulf of Aden#Departure Point1|Departure Point1]] DD°N.m′N/S, DD°M.m′E/W
  • Departure Point2/wiki/Gulf_of_Aden#.3Cspan_style.3D.22color:magenta_.22.3EDeparture_Point2.3C.2Fspan.3EHarbour icon Departure Point2 [[Gulf of Aden#Departure Point2|Departure Point2]] (Alternate name Departure Point2) °'N, °'E
  • Departure Point2/wiki/Gulf_of_Aden#.3Cspan_style.3D.22color:magenta_.22.3EDeparture_Point2.3C.2Fspan.3EAnchorage icon Departure Point2 [[Gulf of Aden#Departure Point2|Departure Point2]] (Alternate name Departure Point2) °'N, °'E
  • etc.

Route/Suggested Stopovers

Provide a FULL description and recommendations concerning the passage.

  • Note: June'10</font> See the ISAF Guidelines for yachts.pdf in the "News" block at right.
  • Note: Sep'08</font> Don't use the waypoints below for now!!! Due to the latest reports on Piracy attacks it is NOT safe!!! Use "Passage Details (2)" below
  • Note: Oct'08</font> See the new Piracy map before making your plans to transit the Gulf.

East-West passage

The 1st waypoint is Salalah on the coast of Oman, where diesel can be purchased and where yachts congregate waiting to make up flotillas before proceeding into the Gulf of Aden.

Salalah to Djibouti
Leave Salalah wp1/wiki/Gulf_of_Aden#wp1World icon.png wp1 [[Gulf of Aden#wp1|wp1]] 16°57′N, 54°00′E
130 nms to
wp2/wiki/Gulf_of_Aden#wp2World icon.png wp2 [[Gulf of Aden#wp2|wp2]] 15°00′N, 53°00′E
278 nms to
wp3/wiki/Gulf_of_Aden#wp3World icon.png wp3 [[Gulf of Aden#wp3|wp3]] 12°30′N, 49°00′E
178 nms to
wp4/wiki/Gulf_of_Aden#wp4World icon.png wp4 [[Gulf of Aden#wp4|wp4]] 12°00′N, 46°00′E
60nms to
wp5/wiki/Gulf_of_Aden#wp5World icon.png wp5 [[Gulf of Aden#wp5|wp5]] 11°45′N, 45°00′E
118 nms to
wp6/wiki/Gulf_of_Aden#wp6World icon.png wp6 [[Gulf of Aden#wp6|wp6]] 11°40′N, 43°09′E
7.5 nms to
Djibouti Anchorage
wp7/wiki/Gulf_of_Aden#wp7World icon.png wp7 [[Gulf of Aden#wp7|wp7]] 11°37′N, 43°07′E
Total 771.5 Nautical Miles.

(If you don't want to go to Djibouti turn right for Aden, Yemen: wp4a/wiki/Gulf_of_Aden#wp4aWorld icon.png wp4a [[Gulf of Aden#wp4a|wp4a]] 12°44.76′N, 44°58.217′E before you get to the 4th waypoint.)

G of A Piracy.jpg

Minimum Lights during passage through a 3000 sq. nautical mile area bounded by the coordinates 13° 05' North <> 13° 55' North x 47° 45' East <> 48°45' East. The centre of this "Box" is at 13° 30' North x 48° 15' East, about 80nms South West of Al Mukalla - bearing from Al Mukalla 220° true.
Best is an all round white at cockpit level. ie. fishing boat lighting. (watch out for big ships, then decklevel Nav. Lights to emulate fishing boat)

West-East passage

(Describe this passage here)

Passage Details (2)

Sep.'08. For now, consider NOT to follow the given wayppoints as given in "Passage (1) above - in the middle of the Gulf of Aden as they lead right through the route the pirates take (they come from Somalia) to the area most affected at this moment! (see the excellent chart of Location of Incidents HERE) Take a 8 mile of distance off the Yemen and Omani coast (as we did) and keep lights only on when needed and if you do, use a white light all around as most fisherboats have (besides the many colourful blinkers of all kind of shape and form). The fishing nets that you may encounter are mostly right close to the coast and should not be much of a problem 6 to 8 NM off. Keep radio contact to a minumum and on LOW power. Sail with two or three other yachts and stay in sight of each other. In case of emergency also call Coast Guard of Yemen and Oman, both quite active in the area.

Furthermore, for now, take the route close to Yemen and forget Djibouti. It takes you again closer to Somalia than you want and staying close to the Yemen coast of Bab el Mandeb gives more security. Head up North a while and then straight up to Assab where good anchorages can be found. Be aware - Assab is a 'ghosttown' and not much can be bought here. Cross the shipping lane in a 90 degree angle - Yemen's Coast Guard are picky on this!

Southbound: (Sept.'08) It is suggested that once you arrive at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden that you proceed directly to the Coalition Forces Base in Djibouti and there provide them with your passage plan etc.


  • East-West passage.
    • (Best months for this passage?)
  • West-East passage.
    • (Best months for this passage?)


At the moment of writing this is one of the most dangerous areas to cross. Please take a moment to check the Location of Incidents HERE showing the attacks during the first four months in 2008 as well as a charted map of all incidents in the period of 2005 - 2007. Remember that most of the incidents in 2008 started from april so suddenly there is a sharp increase in this area. All in all, be careful and prepare well.

Possible Arrival Points

It is here that yachts congregate to form flotillas prior to entering the Gulf of Aden.

Distance & Duration

Provide, if possible, a distant table.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


List links external to the wiki such as in Wikipedia.


Books, Guides, etc. Use the Reference template or not at your discretion. For example:

Rod HeikelGreek Waters Pilot Imray, Laurie and Wilson, Cambridgeshire (2010), 9780852889718, ISBN Unknown, expands to
Rod Heikell, Greek Waters Pilot Imray, Laurie and Wilson, Cambridgeshire (2010), ISBN 9780852889718
  • Author, Title, Publisher, ISBN ISBN number
  • Author, Title, Publisher, ISBN ISBN number

You may want to remove the above entries and use instead a link to the Country or Region that lists the relevant references. If so enter, after removing xx, the following:

See [[Country or Region#References_&_Publications|Coutry or Region]].

If you do not use the above link, please remove it.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

  • Don't take the waypoints in "Passage (1)" on this page! Use the directions described in "Passage (2)". We stayed close to the coast of Yemen and did fine, see also the chart alsewhere in this section.
    Fishing nets where no problem.
    Coast guard of Yemen called us twice to check who we where.
    Aden was good to stock up and tank Diesel.
    From there some 80 NM to Bab el Mandeb, in between Island and mainland and over to Assab to anchor or head on to Massawa. Recently in Massawa there have been some problems at the anchorage (atempted robbery) but it seems that it is controlled now and you are asked to stay alongside of the cay of the harbour.
    No diesel available or in limited quantities (ask for Mike).
    Water available through the fire department.
    Wonderful place to visit, friendly people and very poor. Bring all your left-overs (clothes, food, toys, whatever to anyone you see in need in town or ask for the church to help you distribute it!! (sv Alondra)

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Date of member's last visit to Gulf of Aden and this page's details validated:

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