Marshall Islands

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An online cruising guide for yachts sailing around the Marshall Islands.

Marshall Islands
07°05.39′N, 171°22.84′E Chart icon.png
Marshall Islands map.png
Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands flag.png
Capital Majuro
Language Marshallese, English
Currency US Dollar (USD)
Time zone MHT (UTC+12)
Calling code +692
More notes about the Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. This nation of roughly 60,000 persons is located north of Nauru and Kiribati, east of the Micronesia, and south of the U.S. territory of Wake Island.

The country consists of 29 atolls and 5 isolated islands. The most important atolls and islands form two groups: the Ratak Chain and the Ralik Chain (meaning "sunrise" and "sunset" chains).

Describe the cruising/sailing in the region.



The Marshall Islands are in METAREA XI.

The climate is hot and humid, with a wet season from May to November. Atolls closer to the equator experience more rainfall than those farther north. Aur Atoll, and atolls farther north, typically experience droughts from August through February.

The islands very rarely suffer from typhoons. Instead, many Pacific typhoons begin east of the Marshall Islands region, gain strength over the Marshalls and reach typoon intensity as they move west towards Micronesia. Typhoons generally track north to Guam and the Marianas. Westerlies are sometimes experienced and are more prevalent along the equator, sometimes reaching as far north as Majuro.

Squalls are usually present to the west of all atolls and also occur in areas where two atolls lie less then 30 miles (48km) apart. This is due to heating and cooling of the shallow atoll waters and the heating and cooling of surface ocean temperatures.

Primarily squalls can be expected before dusk and before sunrise. Squall intensity reaches 35 knots but can be sometimes higher. They are short in duration, rarely lasting longer then 20 minutes. Another significant factor affecting weather is the location of the ITCZ. At times this convergence zone lies over Majuro bringing heavy rains, thunderstorms, and high winds. Weather conditions improve considerably for all atolls north of Majuro.

Trade winds from the NE will blow approximately 20 knots, nearly all year. Few days have heavier or lighter winds. Majuro is home to a NOAA weather station and forecasts are reliable and accurate.

Weather Products

Coastal Waters Forecast for Eastern Micronesia
Local Forecast for Saipan Island
U.S. Central Pacific Hurricane Center



  • Majuro (Port of entry)
  • Ebeye Island (Kwajalein) (Port of entry)
  • Other Islands: Note that an entry permit is required to visit each atoll; acquired from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Local Government Office (next to the Mobil Oil depot), Majuro. Ph: 692 455 4143.
    • Arno
    • Mejit
    • Wotje
    • Aur & Tobal Islands - The islands specialise in making model canoes and large wall hangings. The lovely lagoon provides excellent snorkelling, and there's a good variety of tropical fish and coral.
    • Mili - Friendly people and beautiful beaches.
    • Bikar Atoll
    • Toangi Atoll
    • Bikini Atoll


The yacht fleet in the capital, Majuro, monitors VHF Ch 68 as a hailing channel and moves to Ch 74 or Ch 77 for conversations (working channel).
A net is held Monday to Friday at 7:30am local time on Ch 68.
The 'Yokwe' (hello in Marshallese) net is held every day at 7:45am local time on 6.236 MHz USB. Inclusion of outer atolls radio stations provides a look at weather conditions across the Marshall Islands.

Also see World Cruiser's Nets




First landfall must be made at an official Port of Entry.

As a courtesy, before arriving in the Marshall Islands, yachts should notify Customs and Immigration at least 72 hours in advance by emailing [1] or [2], giving relevant details such as boat name, size, and number of people on board. On arrival, skippers should attempt to raise the port captain on VHF Channel 16.

It is also recommended skippers contact the yacht fleet on VHF Channel 68. A member of the fleet will contact the officials, if contact has not already been made.

The mooring field is located on the eastern shore (N 7 06.476' E 171 22.185') and most yachts pass close by on the outside of the atoll to get to Catalin pass. Catalin pass is the only navigable pass for yachts entering Majuro. Often the channel navigation buoys lights are not working. Chart accuracy for Majuro is perfect.

Waypoints for Majuro Catalin Pass
Ocean side of channel N 7 10.332' E 171 10.246'
Mid of channel N 7 09.208' E 171 10.892'
Lagoon side of Channel N 7 08.261' E 171 11.393'

For all other atolls, except Kwajalein, chart accuracy is poor. Many charts cannot be offset properly for pass locations, coral, and submerged obstruction features. Excepting Majuro and Kwajalein, never attempt to enter any pass without good visibility.


Checking out of the country can only be done from Majuro or Ebeye Island, Kwajalein atoll. Because Kwajalein Island, Kwajalein atoll, is restricted to most yachts and Ebeye Island offers little to visitors, nearly all yachts will check out in Majuro. The Port Authority and then the Customs and Immigration offices have to be visited to complete check out, in this order. In 2010 there was no country departure fees for yachts. Long pants and a collared shirt is sometimes required to enter the Capital Building, which houses the Immigration Office.

Yachts are permitted to stop at other atolls for reasonable lengths of time after checking out of the country. A permit must be obtained from the Minister of Internal Affairs in Majuro before stopping at any atoll. A fee is paid to the local government upon arrival but this can be waived if the visiting yacht has skills to help in the local community. Most atolls charge a fee of $25 (USD) but Ailinglaplap atoll charges $250 (USD) and Arno charges $100 (USD). Few yachts visit these atolls.

Customs and Immigration


Through the Compact of Free Association with the United States, citizens of the United States, Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau can stay for an 'indefinite' period, however it is recommended that U.S. citizens staying longer than a year apply for residency status.

All other citizens may be given a 30-day visa on arrival with the possibility of an extension of 60 days (making three months in total).

Note: At the time of writing (March, 2009), the Marshall Islands Government was reviewing the Immigration regulations. The Mieco Beach Yacht Club has requested that non-Americans be given a 30-day visa on arrival with the possibility of a 150-day extension (making six months) and this is under review. Queries on this may be made to the above Customs email address.

Important Notes
A requirement is that passports must have a validity of 12 months beyond your first date of entry.
Separate permits for each island must be obtained in Majuro to visit any of the outlying groups/islands.


  • Firearms and ammunition MUST be declared on arrival.
  • Turtle shell and Coral are prohibited exports.
  • Pets are allowed as long as they stay on board the vessel.

Fees and Charges

  • Some permits to visit outer islands are free while others range up to $250 (USD)
  • It is obligatory to obtain an outer island permit for each atoll before leaving Majuro.


  • Kwajalein Island is a closed military base, and the missile range includes Kwajalein and the islands up to Roi-Namur Island.
  • Kwajalein Atoll is used by the US as a missile testing area and the waters within a 200 mile radius may be affected. One should contact "Kwajalein Atoll Control" on VHF before sailing in this area.
  • Alcohol consumption is banned on all of the outer islands, except for Likiep Atoll. It is okay to have alcohol on board your boat, but it may not be taken ashore (except at Likiep, where it may not be sold).
  • Dress conservatively when visiting the outer islands.
  • Any islands used by the U.S. military are restricted (some are administered by the Marshall Islands but still require special permission and clearance to visit):
    • Bikini Atoll (11°30'N 165°34'E)
    • Enewetak Atoll (11°30'N 162°24'E)
    • Rongelap Atoll (11°09'N 166°54'E)


  • An HIV test is required for visits of over 30 days.
  • A valid health certificate is required if arriving from cholera infected areas.
  • Note tuberculosis and leprosy does exist on the Islands.



See Islands above




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



  • On the Move in the Marshalls. Interactive CD created by yachtie and journalist Karen Earnshaw and husband Cary Evarts, who have lived in Majuro for over 10 years. Email


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.

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