Cruising to the United Arab Emirates


The Trucial States of the Persian Gulf coast granted the UK control of their defense and foreign affairs in 19th century treaties. In 1971, six of these states - Abu Zaby, 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn - merged to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

They were joined in 1972 by Ra's al Khaymah. The UAE's per capita GDP is on par with those of leading West European nations. Its generosity with oil revenues and its moderate foreign policy stance have allowed the UAE to play a vital role in the affairs of the region.


Location: Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 24 00 N, 54 00 E
Map references: Middle East
Area: total: 82,880 sq km


1,318 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


Desert; cooler in eastern mountains


Flat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert wasteland; mountains in east

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
Highest point: Jabal Yibir 1,527 m


The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Its wealth is based on oil and gas output (about 30% of GDP), and the fortunes of the economy fluctuate with the prices of those commodities. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. At present levels of production, oil and gas reserves should last for more than 100 years.

The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up its utilities to greater private sector involvement. Higher oil revenue, strong liquidity, and cheap credit in 2005 led to a surge in asset prices (shares and real estate) and consumer inflation.

Any sharp correction to the UAE's equity markets could damage investor and consumer sentiment and affect bank asset quality. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US.


Airports: 35 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 22
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 13
Heliports: 2 (2005)
Pipelines: condensate 469 km; gas 2,655 km; liquid petroleum gas 300 km; oil 2,936 km; oil/gas/water 5 km (2004)
Roadways: total: 1,088 km

Merchant marine

Total: 56 ships (1000 GRT or over) 621,292 GRT/833,840 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 11, chemical tanker 5, container 6, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 19, roll on/roll off 6, specialized tanker 1
Foreign-owned: 10 (Greece 2, Kuwait 8)
Registered in other countries: 234 (The Bahamas 14, Barbados 1, Belize 3, Cambodia 2, Cyprus 11, Dominica 3, Georgia 1, Hong Kong 1, India 7, Iran 1, Jamaica 3, Jordan 12, North Korea 7, Liberia 15, Libya 1, Malta 5, Marshall Islands 2, Mexico 1, Mongolia 3, Panama 89, Philippines 2, Qatar 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 20, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 12, Saudi Arabia 1, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 7, Sri Lanka 2, unknown 6) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Al Fujayrah, Khawr Fakkan, Mina' Jabal 'Ali, Mina' Rashid, Mina' Saqr, Mina' Zayid, Sharjan

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Bahrain - Christmas Islands - Cocos Keeling - Comoros - Djibouti - Eritrea - India - Jordan - Kenya - Kuwait - Madagascar - Maldives - Mauritius - Mayotte - Mozambique - Oman - Pakistan - Qatar - Reunion Island - Saudi Arabia - Seychelles - Somalia - Sri Lanka - Sudan - Tanzania - United Arab Emirates - Yemen

Further Reading

Back to "vacations"