Galle Harbour is a natural harbour, located in Galle, south-western coast of Sri Lanka. Currently Galle port serves as one of the most active regional ports in the country and it is also the only Sri Lankan port that provides facilities for pleasure yachts. International yacht societies have recognized Galle harbour as one of the world's best attractions for yachting.
Galle harbour was a major harbour in the country, which was in use even during the pre-Christian times, but gained importance after the 12th century. By the 14th century, Galle harbour was the most important harbour in Sri Lanka and retained its importance until 1873 when an artificial harbour was built in Colombo. After the construction of Galle Fort in the 17th century Galle port was a major port in the Indian Ocean for more than 200 years, which was an important anchorage for boats and ships traveling between Europe and Asia. When the British colonial government constructed breakwaters in the Colombo Harbour in late 19th century, much international marine traffic shifted to Colombo from Galle. Thereafter Galle port became a secondary port of the country, though it still handles some ships and boats.
The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has planned to develop the existing Port of Galle to accommodate the increasing demand for freight handling for Sri lanka as well as a international regional destination. This is planned with the construction of a deep water passenger vessel terminal and breakwaters, dredging of entrance channel and basin, and other facilities at the port of Galle to contribute to the economic development of the country. Some of the facilities provided at Galle Port had been damaged during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the proposed development is also expects to provide a fully fledged Yacht Marina for the Galle Port to facilitate the calling yachts as well as to attract more Yachts. SLPA expects to provide berthing facilities to passenger vessels of 300 m in length and cargo vessels of 200 m in length which have a depth of 10 m and 10.9 m respectively with this project. This will be achieved by constructing breakwaters to cover the effects of waves in the Galle bay area.
(a) Phase I - Development of Yacht Marina
The Galle city is gifted with many attractions, such as coastal beds with pure blue oceans and coral reefs, tropical rain forests, legends attached, the colossal Dutch Fortress, a world heritage site and archeological artifacts have made it a leisure land, a real pleasing environment to any exhausted body. The Galle Port is the only Sri Lankan port that provides facilities for pleasure Yachts. The International Yacht Society has recognized the Galle Port as one of the world's best attraction. The increase in arrival of these yachts has revived the tourism industry of the country in general and Galle in particular.
The facilities of Yachts provided at Galle Port had been damaged during the tsunami and the proposed development is to provide a fully fledged Yacht Marina for the Galle Port to facilitate the calling yachts as well as to attract more Yachts.
Phase I (A) :
This Phase I (A) of the project consists of development of basic facilities of Yacht Marina with berthing facility for 22 Yachts of 15m long and 3m draft with facilities of services and repair facility with a workshop. The project duration is 12 months and estimated project cost is Rs. 125 million. The project was successfully completed in 2015.
Phase II - Development of Galle Port as a Commercial Leisure Port
The Phase II of the project consists of a breakwater of 900m long, a multi-purpose berth of 300m long and rectreation facilities as; Whale/Coral watching, Boat service, Restaurant and Hotels etc.
The basic design has been completed and awaiting clearance for the project from UNESCO to commence.