How to avoid fishing nets on a sailboat

With all that’s happening in the world, it’s a relief to look back to BC (Before Coronavirus) and remember simpler times…

One of the biggest problems for cruisers in SE Asia is the sheer number of fishing boats hard at work close to land and off-shore. They range from one-man canoes to smoking ocean trawlers. There are different methods of fishing too, from a single line to vast nets carried between two boats. Sometimes nets are just left to drift with a small float on either end. Sailing can become a real assault course in many stretches of water here.

We’ve been sailing between Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia for six years. Before that, back in 2010 when we sailed the Red Sea and Arabian Sea to India, we learned some tactics to keep clear of nets and lines. But the many methods and local ‘rules of the sea’ change in each new stretch of water we encounter.

Most of the time, you just have to keep your wits about you. After a while you learn how the local fishermen work their boats. Night time, though, can be particularly interesting when the lighting configurations we all know and learnt from the COLREGS (International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea) are seldom in play among local boats.

Many cruisers in this part of the world avoid sailing at night, just making day hops from anchorage to anchorage. But sometimes you have to bite the bullet and sail for a few days.

In this video, Jamie talks through some of the lessons we have learned as we sail from a stunning man-made lagoon in Brunei to the commercial port of Labuan.

👉 Filmed before the covid-19 emergency.👈

We hope you are taking good care of yourselves and following WHO guidelines. In Sabah, where we are now, the rules are strict and are having a good result as the curve has flattened over the past week. Everyone is hoping the state will be free of the virus by May.

You’ve got to have hope, haven’t you?
As always, thanks for supporting us and allowing us to share our adventure with you.

Peace and fair winds

Liz, Jamie and Millie xxx


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As always, thanks for supporting us and allowing us to share our adventure with you.

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