South China Sea

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WorldSouth China Sea

An online cruising guide for yachts sailing around the South China Sea

The South China Sea is that part of the Pacific Ocean from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan. It includes the Gulf of Thailand.

Cruising the region

Approximately 1/3rd of the world's shipping passes through the South China Sea, as it forms the main route between ports in Europe, Singapore and China.

The area is believed to hold large reserves of oil and natural gas beneath the seabed.

Disputes and Dangers

Cruisers entering the South China Sea should be aware of the following points:

  • Piracy, although no longer widespread, is still an issue in the area.
  • Maritime borders in the area are disputed, especially territorial claims to both the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands. Ongoing activity has included collisions between military ships and other vessels. See territorial disputes in the South China Sea on wikipedia.
  • In Vietnam, the South China Sea is referred to as the East Sea and Vietnamese officials can be quite sensitive when it comes to using their preferred version of the name. This is tied to the territorial disputes in the area. If hailed by a military or coast guard vessel while in the area it may pay to identify the nationality of the vessel before responding in detail.


South China Sea Electronic Navigational Charts are available free of charge from East Asia Hydrographic Commission with regular updates sent by email. These charts do not include the Gulf of Thailand.

It may also be possible to obtain charts of the South China Sea from the USA or Admiralty. See Charts.


See South East Asia

Sources for weather information:

See South East Asia

See also Weather


List popular passages/routes, timing, etc.



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

Countries & Islands

Brunei Icon.png Brunei
China Icon.png China
Hong Kong Icon.png Hong Kong -> See also China
Malaysia Icon.png Malaysia
Philippines Icon.png Philippines
Taiwan Icon.png Taiwan
Vietnam Icon.png Vietnam

Gulf of Thailand

See also Gulf of Thailand Cruising Guide.

Cambodia Icon.png Cambodia
Malaysia Icon.png Malaysia
Singapore Icon.png Singapore
Thailand Icon.png Thailand
Vietnam Icon.png Vietnam


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


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



Books, Guides, etc.


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Names: Haiqu

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