Sailing Guide

Selat Riau (Riouw Strait) Indonesia)

Selat Riau (Riouw Strait) Indonesia)



The route from Selat Bangka to Singapore, E of Pulau Lingga and through Selat Riau is the one commonly used by vessels proceeding either way between Selat Sunda (Soenda Strait) and Singapore.

The route is safe, sheltered, and easily navigable, with lights and beacons on many of the dangers. The route E of Pulau Bintan is exposed in both monsoons, and the fairway is encumbered with many dangers, which renders it necessary for vessels to keep off a considerable distance from land.

Selat Riau is available for all classes of vessels, both by day and by night.

Selat Riau, the S limit of which is between Pulau Mesanak and Pulau Telan (Telang), is bounded on the E by Pulau Bintan and on the W by the chain of islands, of which Galang Rempang, and Batam are the main ones.

Numerous smaller islands and shoals front the main shores on each side of the strait. The  strait is about 50 miles in length, in a NW and SE direction, and has depths ranging from 10 to 55m in the fairway, with the least depths being in the S portion of the strait.

The S entrance of the strait is about 17 miles wide for a distance of 11 to 12 miles and then contracts to a width of 3.5 miles between Pulau Karas-kecil (Karas-ketjil) and the shoals to the S of Pulau Tapai.

About the middle of the strait, and 3.5 miles N of Pulau Karas-besar is Pulau Pangkil with dangers extending 5 miles SE; between these and the dangers N of Pulau Karas-besar is the principal channel, about 2 miles wide, with fairway depths of 18.3 to 37m bounded on the W by Pulau Mubut Laut, and the islets and dangers within it, off the NE end of Pulau Galang.

The principal dangers are marked by buoys or beacons. The shores of the strait are, for the most part, sparsely populated, the greater portion of the population consisting of Malays, with the remainder being Chinese.

At Pulau Lobam, about 10 miles NW of Pulau Pangkil, the strait is about 2 miles wide between Johannes Shoal and Orion Rock this is the narrowest part of the strait.
North of Tanjunguban, the W extremity of Pulau Bintan, the strait rapidly widens to its N entrance, where it is about 10 miles in breadth.

Less water than charted was reported (2001) in an area approximately 2 miles E of Pulau Tundjuk.

The tide in the China Sea comes from the N; and being divided by Pulau Bintan, sweeps around its shores and flows into Selat Riau at both entrances, the current from Singapore Strait at the N end meeting that from the S, NE of Terumbu Soreh.

The tidal currents in the S approaches to Selat Riau E of Pulau Lingga and the other islands has the flood current running NNW more or less parallel to the islands, with indrafts into the several straits, and the ebb in the opposite direction.

In the N entrance, on the W side, a portion of the flood current entering the strait is deflected between Malang Orang and Karang Galang and runs as an eddy to the NW, with the flood to Singapore, or in the reverse direction to the flood current entering the main passage of Selat Riau.

The ebb takes the reverse direction, circling S of Karang Galang, where it joins the main current ebbing NE. This must be guarded against when near Karang Galang.

The main body of the S current follows the trend of the W shore past the Karas Islands and turns gradually to the W into Selat Dempo, much of it diverging to the S through the channels dividing the several groups of islands lying between Pulau Mesanak and Selat Dempo, and a portion turning off to the NW in the direction of the Karas Islands.

This is joined by the currents flowing through Selat Telan and adjacent channels.

To the E of Pulau Pangkil, between it and the Pulau Tapai, the flood current from the N entrance is met by the flood current coming around the E side of Pulau Bintan and through Selat Telan and adjacent channels, which curves around Pulau Mantang, and thence taking a NW direction.

The direction of the flood current at Tanjung Pinang and N into Teluk Bintan is N. The flood current at Pulau Terkulai runs SE, toward Tanjung Pinang. The current sets W through Selat Bulan and Selat Tiung, on the W shore of Selat Riau.

The monsoons and currents of the China Sea very much affects the regularity of the currents, which are strong, and at springs rush with considerable velocity through the channels among the islands, forming numerous eddies and stirring up the mud.

In the narrow N part of Selat Riau, abreast Tanjung Uban, this is particularly the case, the current running from 3 to 4 knots, and sometimes even 4.5 and 5 knots.

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Sites around Selat Riau (Riouw Strait) Indonesia)
Flying distances - Direct line

Pulau Karas Besar and Karas Kecil (Indonesia)

Pulau Karas Br, lying about 4 miles N of Korek Rapat, is 3.5 miles long and about 0.7 mile wide; it is hilly, with a flat summit, wooded, and has a reef encircling it extending in places for a distance of 0.25 mile.Pulau Karas-Ketjil (Karas-Kecil), an island marking the SW end of ...
14 Feb 12

Merodong group (Indonesia)

The Merodong group of islands lie to the W of Pulau Mesanak, between it and the Temiang group. The former group comprises six islands, separated by channels unsuitable for navigation and there is no reason in venturing among them or between them and Pulau Mesanak.
Merodong, the ...
10 Feb 12

Selanga Islets and Alor Islands (Indonesia)

The Selanga Islets, three in number, lying on the SE of Selat Pengelap, are small but elevated and conspicuous; the S islet is 35m high. With an opposing wind and current, a troublesome sea may arise in this area.The Pangelap group of islands separates Selat Pangelap from Selat Abang. ...
29 Feb 12

Pulau Pangkil (Indonesia)

Pulau Pangkil, attaining an elevation of 48m, is about 2 miles in length in a N and S direction and 0.5 mile in breadth; it is hilly, wooded, and lies on the E side of the main channel of Selat Riau, abreast Pulau Mubut Laut.
It is surrounded by a reef which extends from 0.25 to ...
17 Feb 12

Pulau Telan (Indonesia)

Pulau Telan (Telang), the SW point of which forms the SE limit of Selat Riau, is irregularly shaped and nearly 5 miles long, NE and SW, and about 1 mile wide.
It is divided into two parts and may be identified by a square hillock on its S end, 63m high, which, with a sharper peak ...
26 Feb 12

Pulau Pelanduk Subang Mas and Airradja (Indonesia)

Pulau Pelanduk Subang Mas lies about 2 miles NW of Pulau Cemara.Pulau Airradja (Airaja), lies close N and is separated by a narrow drying channel at LW. It is the northernmost of the islands lying between Pulau Cemara and the E entrance of Selat Bulan.Both these islands are hilly ...
15 Feb 12

Pulau Dompak Basin and Sekaptap (Indonesia)

Pulau Dompak, 4 miles long and about 2 miles wide, is separated from the W coast of Pulau Bintan by Selat Dompak (Dompak Strait), a narrow channel only available to boats.The land in the vicinity of the channel is quite hilly and surrounded with tall trees, as opposed to low land ...
17 Feb 12

Pulau Mesanak (Indonesia)

Pulau Mesanak, located 7 miles N of the N end of Pulau Sebangka, has the form of an elbow, of which the long arm extends 4.5 miles in a N and S direction, and the short arm 3 miles E and W. Ridges of hills extend the whole length of both arms, the highest point, 107m high, being where ...
11 Feb 12

Pulau Soreh (Indonesia)

Pulau Soreh, lying NE about 2 miles ENE of the NE end of Pulau Pangkil, is a small, low islet inhabited and covered with coconut trees. it is surrounded by a narrow sandy beach and a reef which extends to the distance of 0.25 mile in places.
17 Feb 12

Pulau Terkulai (W Bintan)

Pulau Terkulai, lying about 3 miles SW of Pulau Ujan, is low, flat, sandy, and surrounded by a reef which in places extends nearly 0.5 mile; it is about 0.6 mile in length in an E and W direction, overgrown with trees, and has coconut palms on its W side.
23 Feb 12

Pulau Ujan (W Bintan)

Pulau Ujan, 18.3m high, is a somewhat flat island located on Bintan Bay's entry, overgrown with trees; it is separated from the S coast of Pulau Bintan by a narrow boat channel.
On the SE side of the island is the village of Pengudjan.
A bank of mud, sand, and drying rocks extends ...
23 Feb 12
Local Area

Pulau Bintan (Indonesia)

Bintan Island or Negeri Segantang Lada is an island in the Riau archipelago of Indonesia. The capital Tanjung Pinang, lies in the island's south.
Bintan, is the largest among the 3200 islands of Riau Archipelago and is located 10 km E of the Batam Island.
Bintan is very close ...
24 Feb 12

Sumatra (Indonesia)

Sumatra (Indonesian: Sumatera) is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands.
The longest axis of the island runs approximately 1,790 km (1,110 mi) northwest-southeast, crossing the equator near the centre. At its widest point the island spans ...
7 Jan 12

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

Selat Riau E side (Indonesia)

Transiting Selat Riau from S presents few difficulties.
The normal care and prudence required in narrow waters should suffice in the fairway. Some difficulty has at times been experienced by strangers in recognizing the entrance to Selat Riau on account of the numerous islands ...
26 Feb 12

Pulau Gin Br - Gin Kl - Numbing (Indonesia)

Pulau Gin Besar, Pulau Gin-kecil, and Pulau Numbing are three islands, which together are about 5 miles in extent, lying from 8 to 13 miles SE of Gunung Kau, and separated from each other by narrow channels; the channel along the S side of Pulau Gin Besar has depths of 6.9 to 15.5m ...
11 Feb 12
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