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Patong floating ‘beach club barge’ seeks approval

Patong floating ‘beach club barge’ seeks approval

PHUKET: The Phuket office of the Marine Department is deciding whether to allow a 500-gross-ton floating ‘beach club barge’, complete with bar and on-board swimming pool, to be anchored in Patong Bay.

By The Phuket News

Saturday 7 January 2023, 12:32PM

The high-end barge, technically registered as the vessel ‘Sawasdee’, can accommodate 500 guests with a crew of 35 on board, the Phuket Marine Office explained through an official report yesterday (Jan 6).

The boat is already at anchor in Patong Bay, where Patong Municipality has already approved the vessel to operate as a restaurant. However, the decision whether the boat is allowed to remain at anchor in the bay has yet to be decided, the official report said yesterday.

Other floating restaurants are allowed in Phuket, particularly off Bang Rong Pier and in between Phuket and Koh Maphrao, off Phuket’s east coast.

However, if approved, the Sawasdee will be the first such floating ‘beach club barge’ permitted to remain at anchor in Patong.

The boat has already run afoul of Marine Department regulations, with its registration expiring last month, the Phuket Marine Office reported.

The boat operators were fined B10,000 for the infraction. The operators have applied to renew the boat’s registration, the report confirmed.

However, Phuket marine officials have yet to complete their inspections of the boat, which they reported as a steel vessel with a size of 579 gross tons. No other dimensions of the boat were mentioned in the report.

Key concerns for marine officials are safety measures on board the boat, which carries at least six life rafts ready to be deployed from its stern. The boat also features a fire hose station on board.

Explaining the boat’s history, Phuket marine officials reported that the Swasdee was initially registered with port authorities at Kantang Port in Trang province, south of Phuket, on Dec 16, 2021.

The boat, powered by dual 373kW Cummins diesel engines, is registered as a “type of sea-going vessel” permitted to operate only in specific areas. Which “specific areas” were not specified.

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The ship’s owner is a company located in Rawai. The boat arrived in Phuket from Kantang on June 4 last year, with its master named as “Mr Thanawat” (family name not reported), said Phuket marine officers yesterday.

Officers from the Phuket Marine Office first inspected the boat at the Baan Yamu Pier on Nov 16 last year. Officers instructed the boat owner to immediately take action to change the boat’s registered type of use. The boat owner was also instructed to present plans of how waste management is to be conducted on board, and present a passenger safety plan.

The shipowner’s representative [sic] on Dec 29 submitted an application for a license to use the boat, and requested the Phuket Regional Harbor Office to again inspect the boat.

Officers returned to inspect the boat again on Wednesday (Jan 4) as part of the procedure for the boat license renewal. This time the inspection was conducted in Patong Bay, where the Sawasdee had already relocated.

The officers inspected the boat’s ‘sailing equipment’, communication equipment, maritime signal apparatus, hull structure and safety equipment on board, “including large machinery and other fixtures, etc.”, Phuket marine officials noted.

The boat owner has now presented a letter of approval to drop anchor in Patong Bay issued by the Phuket Marine Resources Conservation Center, including a certificate of transport and approval for its solid waste management system. Patong City municipality has also issued the operator a “certificate of sound use” for the Sawasdee, said the official report yesterday.

The boat owner has filed a formal request with the Marine Department’s Bureau of Ship Standards, based in Bangkok, to change the boat’s registered “type of ship” in order to meet its intended purpose. The request is currently under consideration, Phuket marine officials noted.

Regardless, Phuket marine officials will conduct a final inspection to assess the garbage and ship waste measures to control water pollution and the boat’s safety measures “in case of various emergencies such as fires, people falling into the water, including emergency passenger evacuation and first aid, etc”. 

“The Phuket Regional Office of the Marine Department will conduct a thorough inspection to ensure that the operator strictly complies with the law before providing tourists with initial services,” Phuket marine officials assured yesterday.

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Kamala Pete | 09 January 2023 - 17:26:58

Should produce a few "Funniest Home Videos" as the crew try to manhandle overweight, staggering drunks over the side and into the skiffs for the trips back to the beach :)

Kurt | 08 January 2023 - 15:31:27

Technically registered as vessel, must have 535 life jackets +spare.
When 'passengers' come on board, there should be hold a life jacket drill. All  passenger registered in ships log book. Non swimmers, many thai, must wear life jacket all the time. With only 35 crew, the passengers must be able take care themselve during a disaster and abandon vessel. Don't count on thai 'restaur...

Capricornball | 08 January 2023 - 10:54:21

Oh jeez...500 drunken partiers and 6 life rafts...what could go wrong? This has all the trappings of a disaster waiting to happen, and It will be approved in no time is my guess. Then it will be like beach chair vendors in starts it, then the frenzy begins. What will keep these party barges from spreading like wildfire? Bad precedent.

JohnC | 08 January 2023 - 09:39:42

Another disaster waiting to happen!

JohnC | 08 January 2023 - 09:28:37

'A fire station' on board? Should be many more than just the one and it appears to have only one small capacity fire hose not capable of dealing with a real fire. What passenger capacity are the 6 life rafts? By international law they should have double the vessel passenger capacity so should be able to carry 1000 people safely in the case of evacuation being required. Why do I doubt this!...

Kurt | 07 January 2023 - 20:55:31

Lets pray that this hull is waterproof, and no disposal/waste/toilet waste gets in Patong horse shoe bay. That will be a touristic disaster. I not understand Officialdom to accept such barge in the bay. Sooner or later it gives environment pollution, going wide spread in international press.

Old guy | 07 January 2023 - 17:33:29

Sounds safe to me! What could possibly go wrong? 555

skorchio | 07 January 2023 - 17:29:37

Would love to know the provenance of this hull. Do not rule out that it was once a cement barge on the Chao Phrya in BKK, several of the dinner cruisers on the river are simply refitted cement barges. SCG operates hundreds of these barges on the river. Who knows where they go when they are no longer fit for that purpose ..... TiT. Remeber the 100+ lost souls, mostly Chinese, when the tour boat san


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