Last month I shared on Singapore’s coolest form of public transport. Shortly after, we found something cooler. Like 100 times cooler – The very popular DBS Marina Bay Sailing Programme that lets the public try out what it feels like to put on their sea legs and sail across the Seven Seas. Well ok, just Marina Bay, but close enough.
Sailing? Cool. In the Marina Reservoir? Cool. For free? Way cool.
Our first session got cancelled due to a downpour, then we had to wait months till the next available slot. Because there are only a limited few slots available (later afternoons for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays), they get snapped up really fast. Have this page bookmarked so that you can check frequently on availability and be prepared to set sail!
Do note that each registration is only for up to 4 participants, and this is only open to those between the ages of 7 and 70. It is advisable that you know how to swim, but you’ll get life jackets before boarding.
Departure point is at Customs House (in front of NTUC Building, One Marina Boulevard). We had a 6pm slot, and arrived half an hour earlier for our briefing. After getting our life jackets on, we boarded the dingy (woohoo! speed!) that brought us to a mega sailboat, our ride for the evening.
I’ve heard that it can get wet in the dingy, so perhaps sandals are the best choice. Ours was dry though so my sport shoes were happy. There’s practically no chance of you getting wet, not even when you’re right at the front of the dinghy, but we brought an extra set of clothes just in case.
This community outreach programme by DBS was launched in 2013. In the first two years, a cool 7,500 people went on free rides on the boats with just 8 boats available. As of last year, DBS has pumped in a further $12m (on top of the initial $10m) into introducing more activities around the Marina Bay area (one of which of course, is this sailing programme). There are now 6 more boats in addition to the original 8, and we were on board one of the new mega sailboats, the SM40.
There were 8 of us in the group, and most of us took turns to steer. As in yes, YOU can choose to detach your bottom from the safety of the boat and stand, and steer the boat to guide it on the waters of the Marina Reservoir. Try to look cool and not scared when you’re doing it. It was really light and easy to steer; my 7-year old managed with no trouble at all.
It was thrilling – calming yet exhilarating at the same time. We were told that these boats don’t capsize because of the keel below, which steadies the boat. But there were times when we went pretty fast when we had good wind, and the boat tipped drastically on one side.
Other than that, it was really stable. If you’ve got a fear of water, we were told that no one’s fallen into the water on this sailing programme. Good to know.
So what say you, Captain? Ready for the Seven Seas, me hearty?
Tips on how to best enjoy your sailing experience:
– Carry as little as possible. This is not the time for suitcases
– Wear shoes or sandals. Unless you’re a professional and are familiar with your way around boats, don’t wear your flip-flops. Professional sailor, not professional flip-flopper
– Billy, don’t be a hero, and put on your life jackets
– Remember to print and fill up your indemnity form before
– Arrive at the departure point (at Customs House, behind NTUC Building, One Marina Boulevard) half an hour before your sail time for your briefing.
– In case you’re worried that the sight of water will make you want to pee, the closest toilet is in the basement of One Marina Boulevard; visit before.
– Don’t just focus on taking pictures. Sit back and enjoy the ride!
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