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New Maldives rule - yachts can stay six months

by Mohamed Hameed/Sail-World round-up on 5 Mar 2014
13 Apr 2008, Maldives --- Coral islands in Maldives. Consisting of 1,192 tiny coral islands scattered some 800 kilometers across the equator, Maldives has long been known as a paradise for holiday makers. --- Image by © Liu Yongqiu/Xinhua Press/Corbis SW
There's good news for long range cruising sailors with a desire to visit the Maldives. The maximum stay for yachts has been increased from 90 days to 180 by the Ministry of Tourism.

Reporting on the good news for all tourist vessels, Mohamed Hameed of Asia Pacific Superyachts Maldives told the Superyacht Times, 'After two years of convincing work by our team, we finally can share the rule change for tourist vessels.'? He has confirmed to Sail-World that this is also the case for non-commercial yachts such as cruising sailing boats.

Hameed reports, 'The changing of the past rule, which provided for a 90 day stay of a yacht allowed in the Maldives is now officially changed to the new rule, providing for a 180 day stay for the boat.' It gives the yacht agent more responsibility as well, as the agent must be accountable under the new rule made by the Ministry of Tourism.

Mohamed Hameed, a multi-generation native of the Maldives, told the Times he and his team at APS Maldives are proud to share their Maldives home and happy to see one of the best and most fascinating travel destinations in the world fast emerging as a world favorite for superyacht cruising.

About the Maldives for cruising sailors'
The Maldives consists of 19 atolls in entirely natural formation, with only a small number inhabited. The 19 are formed into a chain of islands.

On average, each atoll has approximately 5 to 10 inhabited islands; the uninhabited islands of each atoll number approximately 20 to 60. Some atolls, however, consist of one large, isolated island surrounded by a steep coral beach. The flat islands are formed from coral layers with the highest point rarely being more than 6 feet above sea level.

If you were asked to define paradise, you would probably imagine something similar to the Maldives - deserted white sandy beaches, gorgeous turquoise waters, fabulous marine life bursting with color, and a warm, gentle climate.

The Maldives holds the record for being the flattest country in the world, with a maximum natural ground level of only 2.3 meters (7 1/2 ft), though it has been raised a bit in areas of construction. Over the last century, sea levels have risen about 20 centimetres (8 in); further rises of the ocean could threaten the existence of Maldives.

Reefs are composed of coral debris and living coral. This acts as a natural barrier against the sea, forming lagoons of peaceful water that give the Maldives their famous calm and ability to build literally right on the water.

The barrier reefs of the Islands protect them from the storms and high waves of the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean has a great affect on the climate of the country by acting as a heat buffer, absorbing, storing and slowly releasing the tropical heat. The heat is further mitigated by cool sea breezes.

The Maldives are also protected from monsoon devastation by the barrier reefs and rarely suffer from major storms. The archipelago's miniscule coral islets of deep blue seas offer fantastic cruising adventures and the waterways provide the best and most natural of transport. Overhead the weather generally offers picture perfect sunlit days, breezy nights, balmy mornings and iridescent sunsets.

Long stretches of world-famous sugar-white beaches provide sanctuary to countless sea birds while extensive coral reefs host a seemingly endless variety of exotic fish and marine life. The islands are a way station in the annual migration of whale sharks and manta rays.

The Maldives is pleasantly warm year-round, varying from 27 to 32 degrees Celsius.

Some of the atolls are less than well charted and not for the faint-hearted, but now circumnavigating sailors on their way to Africa can count on a longer stay to wait out the season or soak in the many memorable experiences of the Maldives, a unique sea destination unlike any place on earth.

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