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Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Sailing, deep sea fishing, yacht parties or going on a jet ski are popular actives in the summer for many residents and tourists in the UAE. However, while you are out on the water, it is important to take appropriate precautions, to avoid any serious accidents and injuries. If you are fond of sailing and water sport activities, there are certain emergency numbers that you should always have with you, to ensure you can alert the police and coastguard in case of an emergency.

Here is all you need to know how to stay safe.


Dubai Police has a ‘Sail Safely’ service within the Dubai Police smartphone application, which is available for Apple and Android devices.

Before you head out to the sea, you would need to download the Dubai Police application, you would also need to activate the ‘Sail Safely’ service, which can then help you stay safe throughout your journey. Not only does the service provide users with free interactive marine maps, but it also allows users to determine the emergency, such as drowning, collision, shortage of fuel, or boat malfunction.

How to ‘Sail Safely’ app helps people at sea
These are all the ways in which this service by Dubai Police assists people who are at sea:
• Tracks the cruise's journey.
• Warns users about any delays during the trip.
• Identifies potential hazards during the trip.
• Sends distress requests from people directly to the Dubai Police
• Facilitates rapid emergency response.
• Determines the location of those in distress, along with identifying the type, degree, and severity of the distress call.

If there is an emergency on your boat, all you would need to do is press the ‘SOS’ button on the ‘Sail Safely’ service, and Dubai Police’s Maritime Rescue Department will respond to the distress call.

How to set up the ‘Sail Safely’ feature on Dubai Police app

  1. Download the Dubai Police app form the iOS or Google Play app store.
  2. Open the main menu and click on ‘Sail Safely’. It will be the first thing you see on the app.
  3. Next click the activation button
  4. Enter the data of your boat, yacht, and your personal information, such as name and number.
  5. After that, you will then receive an activation code via SMS.
  6. Enter the code onto ‘Sail Safely’.
  7. Once that is done, the ‘Sail Safely’ feature is now activated.
  8. If there is any emergency, click on the orange button with the telephone icon.

Maritime Rescue points in Dubai

Dubai Police marine department has rescue teams stationed at eight points in Dubai:

• Al Hamriya
• Deira Port –Hyatt Regency,
• Dubai Creek –Al Maktoum Bridge
• The Floating Bridge,
• Fishing Harbour 1- Jumeirah 1
• Fishing Harbour 2 - Jumeirah 4
• Fishing Harbour 3 –Umm Suqeim
• Dubai Eye.

Abu Dhabi

If you are in Abu Dhabi, the number you should dial if there is any marine emergency or accident is 996, which is the coastguard.

How to handle a marine emergency
According to, the official website for Abu Dhabi government services, these are the basic safety steps you should follow in case of a marine emergency:
• Call the Coastguard at 996.
• If a person has fallen overboard, stop the engines of the boat and get as close as possible.
• Throw the life raft or rescue rope to the person fallen overboard.
Send a distress signal through the Very High Frequency radio (VHF). The VHF radio allows instant communication between your boat and other boats, and the coastguard.

Northern Emirates

If you live in Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, you should call 999 for any marine accidents or emergency.

Guidelines for safe sailing

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAEUAE) has issued the following guidelines for people who are taking a boat into the sea:

  • Ensure that there is an ID verification document for the individuals on the boat
  • Check the boat lights well, especially the navigational lights used at night to allow the boat to be seen in the dark.
  • Monitor weather conditions, through news bulletins or by contacting competent authorities in the UAE.
  • Check the vessel engines well before sailing, and make sure that adequate quantities of spare fuel are available.
  • Ensure the availability of firefighting equipment and ​​​​​​​first aid kit.
  • Turn on the lights while sailing and docking during the night.
  • Ensure the availability of sufficient drinking water for everyone on board.
  • Ensure that the vessel hull is free of any cracks or fractures.
  • Maintain a moderate speed while sailing to keep everyone safe.
  • Ensure that the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) is functioning efficiently, and the batteries are sufficiently charged for the duration of the trip.
  • You must go through the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority checkpoints before sailing and upon returning to register the trip and the crew numbers.
  • Ensure the availability of sufficient life rings and navigational devices that determine the location and the route of the boat.