Floating Yona Beach Club told to cease and wait

A floating beach club barge in Phuket has now been ordered to cease all operations until it gets the full approval it has been seeking to anchor and operate in Patong Bay. Yona Beach Club has been operating with an expired registration and without approval while it waits.

The 500-gross-ton vessel housing the beach club, called the Sawasdee, has luxury party amenities like a bar and swimming pool and can accommodate 500 guests with a crew of 35. The Phuket office of the Marine Department reported that the boat is currently anchored in Patong Bay, where it has been approved to operate only as a restaurant by Patong Municipality.

This order to suspend operations was issued by the Director of the Phuket Office of the Marine Department at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday. This follows a 10,000 baht fine that was handed to the operator last week for running the barge with an expired registration permit. The director announced the decision yesterday.

“At this time, the ship will have to suspend service until legal action is taken by the officers of the Regional Harbor Office, Phuket branch, to inspect the general structural condition, as well as notifying the shipowner to take legal action in the relevant areas.”

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According to an official report of the meeting, the beach club vessel still needs a third inspection before being given official permission to operate. The operators of the Yona Beach Club have yet to apply to change the boat license from a passenger-type transport to a passenger-type transport with food and beverage service.

Other fixes are needed before the party barge can be legal. The boat’s horn signal needs to be fixed, and a fully functioning fire extinguishing control system must be installed. A waste management system also needs to be presented and approved.

The owners of Yona Beach Club have applied to the Marine Department’s Bureau of Ship Standards in Bangkok, to change the boat’s registered type of ship. The request is currently under consideration. The boat owner has already presented a letter of approval to drop anchor in Patong Bay, issued by the Phuket Marine Resources Conservation Center, including approval for its solid waste management plan and a certificate of transport.

Patong Municipality has also issued the operator a “certificate of sound use” for the boat, an official report on Friday also confirmed. Inspection photos from officials show six life rafts on the stern of the boat and two fire hose stations.

It is yet to be decided whether the boat will be allowed to remain in the bay. If approved, it will be the first such floating beach club barge permitted to anchor in Patong. Similar barges are floating off the east coast between Phuket and Koh Maphrao and off Bang Rong Pier but are operating as restaurants, not party entertainment venues. The director of the Phuket Office of the Marine Department simply said that Yona Beach Club must wait for permission.

“In the event that this type of boat will come to service around Patong Beach or in any area, it must be approved by the area by the authorised person, namely the provincial working group.”

Phuket News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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