Sailing Guide

North coast of Sumatra (Indonesia)

North coast of Sumatra (Indonesia)



North Sumatra stretches across the island between the Indian ocean and the Strait of Malacca.

It borders Aceh province on the northwest. The province contains a broad, low plain along the Strait of Malacca on which the provincial capital, Medan, is located. In the south and west, the land rises to the mountain range that runs the length of Sumatra; the mountains here are dominated by Lake Toba, formed from the caldera of an ancient volcano. 

Several large islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sumatra are part of North Sumatra, most notably Nias, and the Batu Islands.

North Sumatra has international seaport at Belawan, Medan and now to prepare a new seaport at Kuala Tanjung.

Winds—Weather.—At the N and NE portion of Sumatera, during the Northeast Monsoon, there is generally a swell on the coast, which gives rise to a considerable sea in the afternoon if accompanied by a stiff sea breeze. Both subside quickly, so that the water is generally smooth at night. At times the monsoon blows strongly for some days, at which times communication with the shore is impracticable.
December and January are considered to be the worst months. The Southwest Monsoon is the best for landing on this portion of Sumatera.

Rain occurs throughout the year in Sumatera. The period of the greater or less rainfall on the N half of the island does not correspond with the periods of the monsoons.

The greatest rainfall on the N coast of Ujung Masam Muka and the off-lying islands usually occurs in the months of October and November, the months preceding the change to the Northeast Monsoon. The least rainfall occurs in February and March, the months preceding the change to the Southwest Monsoon. The rainfall on the off-lying islands is about double that on the N coast.
The climate of the N coast of Sumatera (NW extremity) is damp. The temperature ranges from 25° to 35°C. It is subject to great and sudden changes, which may vary in different localities.
On the N and NW coast the months of March and April are hot.

Tides—Currents.—The flood sets E on the N coast of Sumatera and the ebb W, rarely exceeding 2 knots at springs.
At neaps, they are sometimes imperceptible, except at the points or over banks and narrow channels.

The currents are affected by the constant current out of the Strait of Malacca, which takes a W direction along the N coast through Sempitan Malaka (Malacca Passage). The currents pass through Selat Benggala (Bengal Passage); for the greater part of the year the ebb current is longer and stronger than the flood current.

Pilotage.—Pilotage is compulsory for all the ports of the Republic of Indonesia where pilots are available. Signals for a pilot are in accordance with the International Code of Signals.

Regulations.—An extensive prohibited area, in which fishing and other activities not associated with the innocent passage of foreign vessels are prohibited, has been established off the coastline of NW Sumatera and is bound by lines joining the following positions: a. 5°43.2'N, 94°46.5'E. b. 5°51.0'N, 94°46.7'E. c. 6°13.5'N, 94°59.5'E. d. 6°16.0'N, 95°10.1'E. e. 5°40.4'N, 96°00.5'E. f. 5°29.0'N, 96°49.4'E. g. 5°29.2'N, 97°33.5'E. h. 5°01.0'N, 98°03.4'E. i. 4°33.8'N, 98°25.9'E.
This prohibited area does not apply to foreign vessels supporting offshore terminals. Mariners should consult with local authorities for further information.

Caution.—Indonesia has implemented the IALA Maritime Buoyage System. In some areas, however, obsolete systems may still exist. As a result of cataclysmic damage created by a major tsunami in 2004, ports in this sector may be closed; depths, sea bed topography, and buoyage may not be as charted. Mariners are urged to contact local authorities for the latest information.

The coast between Ujung Masam Muka and Tanjung Jambuair is about 140 miles in length.
At various distances inland there are several mountain ranges.
Vessels can fix their positions by using these mountain peaks. Many of these peaks are within 12 miles of the coast.

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Sites around North coast of Sumatra (Indonesia)
Flying distances - Direct line

Pulau Breueh (Aceh - N Sumatra)

Pulau Breueh (pulau Brouch), about 20 NM S of pulau Rondo, is the largest of the westernmost island off Ujung Masam Muka.
It attains a height of 685m at Ceumo (Tjeumo), a summit in the middle of the island.
This is a rugged island, with several bays affording anchorage according ...
19 Jan 12

Pulau Weh (N Sumatra)

Pulau Weh ((by the local population commonly referred to only as "Sabang", the name of the largest city), the largest of the islands off the N coast of Sumatra, is separated fromthe coast os Sumatra by Sempitan Malacca (Malacca passage), about 9 NM wide.
Kulam, the highest point ...
27 Jul 17

Lhokseumawe (N Sumatra)

Lhokseumawe consists of several differents harbors and loading areas: from W to E there are Kruenggeukueh, Blanglancang (Arun), Ug Hago Oil Terminal, and the Old Lhokseumawe Harbor.Tides—Currents.—The range of the tide is 2.1m. Strong crossing currents towards the SE have been ...
21 Jan 12

Pulau Peunasoe (Nasi) (SE Breueh)

Pulau Nasi (Peunasoe or Aceh island), nearly joins the SE point of Pulau Breueh, being separated by Aroih Lam Puyang.
The coast line is rocky in places with sandy beaches chiefly on the W side.
11 Jan 12

Ujung Pidie (NE Sumatra)

Ujung Pidie is about 29 miles E of Ujung Baka. The hills are reported to approach the coast nearly the entire distance. It is the extremity of a range of hills sloping steeply to the sea, is easily recognized. the coral reef fronting it is steep-to, extending 91m off it, and at a ...
20 Jan 12

Sigli (N Sumatra)

Sigli is situated at the SE mouth of Krueng Baro, which flows into the sea about 9 miles SE of Ujung Pidie, and that is the principal river on this part of the coast.
The port is used only by small craft.
20 Jan 12

Ujung Bateeputeh (N Sumatra)

Ujung Bateeputeh (Batu Putih) lying 10.5 miles E of Ujung Baka, is formed of chalk and sandstone, falls steeply to the sea and is easily recognized by a large white patch showing up on green land.
A 16 m skeletal tower, painted white is located on a promontory facing the Ombai ...
20 Jan 12

Lhok Prialaut (N Weh)

Lhok Prialaut is the bay lying between Ug Bau and Ug Seukundo. 6,5 NM appart, between wich points the bay extends S for about 4 NM, with Teluk Sabang on its E shore.
Lhok Prialaut is about 2 miles in length and breadth, with good anchorage near its head, in 16.5 to 21.9m.
Tides—Currents.—The ...
15 Jan 12

Teluk Kruengraya (N Sumatra)

Teluk Kruengraya is deep for anchorage and the bottom on the W side of the bay is foul. However, Teluk Kruengraya does provide the only anchorage on the N coast of Sumatera that is usually free from swell in both monsoons.
The recommended position is at the head of the bay, 0.3 ...
20 Jan 12

Kruengraya port (N Sumatra)

The flat swamp shore only attains any considerable breadth on the W and S sides of Teluk Kruengraya (Krung Raya Bay.Kruengraya (Malahayati Port) has one concrete jetty in good condition.
Krueng Raya has for centuries enjoyed renown as a busy fishing port. People from various important ...
19 Jan 12

Ujung Raja (Samalanga - N Sumatra)

Ujung Raja, S Samalanga village, a low promontory, may be recognized at some distant by a grove of high trees near its extremity.
There is a fringing reef off Ujung Raja; it should not be approached in depths less than 15m.
20 Jan 12

Ujung Baka (N Sumatra)

Ujung Baka (Pedro point or Pedropunt), is the N point of Sumatera.
The appearance of the coast has changes at Ujung Baka. W of it the coast is flat, but eastward it is hilly.
19 Jan 12
Local Area

Andaman sea

The Andaman Sea (or Burma sea in Thai)  is a body of water to the southeast of the Bay of Bengal, south of Myanmar, west of Thailand and east of the Andaman Islands; it is a part of Indian Ocean.The sea has been traditionally used for fishery and transportation of goods between ...
21 Nov 11

Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering about 20% of the Earth's water surface. It is bounded on the north by Asia (including the Indian subcontinent, after which it is named); on the west by Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, ...
6 Apr 12

Pulau Paya (Langkawi) (Malaysia)

Pulau Paya lies 6.5 miles E from Pulau Segantang, 88m high, is densely wooded and steepto, except for part of the NE side.
The Pulau Paya Marine Park has been established and special regulations may apply.
Pulau Lembu, 73m high, lies 0.5 mile NE of Pulau Paya. A rock awash lies ...
19 Dec 11

Pulau Langkawi (Malaysia)

Pulau Langkawi,  officially known as Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah is an archipelago of 104 islands in the strait of Malacca, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia.
The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border.Langkawi ...
25 Nov 11

Ko Phuket (Thaïland) to Pulau Pinang (Malaysia)

The coast between Ko Phuket and Pulau Pinang, 180 miles SSE, is generally low with some hills near the mountainous island of Pulau Langkawi. Islands and islets project widely from the coast, fringed by a coastal bank covered by little water.
The mouths of rivers are generally encumbered by bars.
22 Nov 11

Nicobar Islands (India)

The Nicobar islands archipelago are situated south of the neighboring Andaman Islands archipelago, in the eastern Indian Ocean. It is separated from Taïland to the E by the Andaman sea and it is composed of three groups.
The northern group includes:Car Nicobar (127 km²)
Batti ...
30 Nov 11
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