Jalboot: Making sea travel in Maldives an enjoyable experience
Travelling by sea is a great experience as it is, and the Maldives makes it all the better. You get to enjoy the cool sea breeze and take in the breath-taking scenery of the archipelago; islets filled with lush green vegetation and surrounded by white sandy beach seemingly floating before your eyes!
But this joyful experience can sometimes turn into a daunting ordeal. All of a sudden, you maybe faced with rogue waves, mechanical problems or bad weather, and you will be left with sea sickness and headache amongst other irritating conditions. It could get even worse depending on the vessel you are on.
Jalboot Holdings, which is owned by a single shareholder from the royal family of Abu Dhabi, is trying to change that and ensure that every ride you take through Maldivian waters is as enjoyable as it can possibly be. After setting up shop in the Maldives in 2018, Jalboot has quickly gained a foothold in the local sea transport industry, with its services already used by leading resorts in the Maldives, including Jumeirah Vittaveli and several others in the pipeline.
“There is no reason why travelling by sea cannot be as comfortable as travelling by air. In fact, with no waiting time and less security checks, air-conditioned sea transport can be a much more enjoyable experience if done right,” said Shameem Mohamed Ismail, Senior Operations Manager at Jalboot Maldives.
Mohamed Roestali, CEO of the Jalboot Group, also added: “At Jalboot, we have a track record of providing exceptional services in the marine industry worldwide. We also have a firm platform in the Maldives to support our operation and to expand in this fast growing and exciting market. Our aim is to elevate water transport sector to a whole new level by offering comfortable and safe boat transfers within the Maldives.”
Jalboot’s fleet in the Maldives consists of a new generation of Maldives-centric ferries to be used at Crossroads and other luxury destinations throughout the Maldives. Supported by cutting edge technology and world-class accreditations, these new air-conditioned ferries are especially designed for Maldivian waters, with its hull adapted to reduce sudden jolts and jerks even in choppy waters. The catamaran-style dual hulled, water-jet and diesel engine powered crafts are 17 metres long, with a maximum capacity of 60 passengers and equipped with the latest safety measures, navigation and communication technology. Options for lounge-style VIP rooms also exist with exclusive seating for 20-24 guests.
One of the novel features of the new ferries is their ability to come to a full stop in one and a half boat lengths whilst travelling at full speed. The vessels are International Association of Class Societies (IACS) classified and built in compliance with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) standards, comprising many standard safety features such as life jackets for every passenger, a dedicated life raft on board and emergency exits. The vessels are also equipped with state-of-the-art fire detectors and mitigation equipment, digital distress signals, emergency DSC transmitters and EPIRB floating emergency beacons.
As a leading integrated provider of vessel design, construction and operation of sightseeing and passenger transfer ferry services based in Abu Dhabi, Jalboot prides itself in providing premium-level customer service in the marine transport service industry, along with industry-leading private and commercial boat charters. Jalboot ensures that all its staff members are qualified to the highest standards. Jalboot maintains HSEQ qualifications and accreditations with regular training and drills in every country the company operates, and the company’s ferry operation teams are trained to respond to all types of emergency situations at sea.
In order to ensure sustainable and environmental-friendly operations, Jalboot complies with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) standards to maintain a zero-waste policy and ensures that waste is kept onboard each vessel until it can be safely disposed. Jalboot also employs the latest, cutting-edge, low emission diesel engine technology. Its ferries are also designed with water jet propulsion instead of conventional propellers to reduce damage to precious marine lives and corals, making them especially suitable for the geography of the Maldives.
With its vast experience in managing the world-renowned Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, Jalboot is also gearing up to manage the first ever international yacht marina in the Maldives. Drawing from its operational excellence in countries such the UAE, China, Germany and Thailand, Jalboot will manage the luxury marina at the Crossroads integrated tourism destination being developed by Thailand’s premier property development company Singha Estate.
Crossroads spans nine islands in the Emboodhoo Lagoon and will have a plethora of dining, retail, entertainment, recreational and leisure-lifestyle offerings, including a 50-berth marina. In addition to SAii Lagoon Maldives, the first Curio Collection by Hilton resort in the Maldives which will be set exclusively on one of the islands within the integrated destination, Crossroads will also be home to Hard Rock Hotel Maldives and Hard Rock Cafe Maldives — the first development in the Maldives by world-class entertainment and lifestyle brand Hard Rock International.
With its close proximity of a 15-minute boat ride from the Maldives main Velana International Airport and capital Male, Crossroads aims to captivate leisure travellers and family markets with a development spanning nine islands, boasting 1,300 rooms and a retail space of over 11,000 square metres.
The project’s leisure and entertainment hub, Marina @ Crossroads will house a variety of international restaurants, retail outlets, a world-class wellness spa, a Maldives Discovery Centre with coral preservation and coral propagation activities, a diving centre, a multi-purpose hall, a kids club, and a cultural centre. World-renowned partners at the Township include Hard Rock Café Maldives, Café del Mar, and two of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, Ministry of Crab and Nihonbashi.
As part of a 10-year exclusive deal with Singha Estate, Jalboot will be providing a full spectrum water transport solution for Crossroads. Alongside managing Crossroads’ luxurious berth yacht marina, Jalboot will be providing a comprehensive range of luxury cruise services at the integrated destination. Totalling six vessels initially, Jalboot’s services will include round-trip ferry transportation services to and from Velana International Airport and other nearby islands, a yacht chartering service, as well as cutting edge electric Dhoni boats providing inter-lagoon services at Crossroads.
The first year of Crossroads will see the operation of four of these ferries by Jalboot, with two vessels servicing guests arriving from Velana International Airport and two vessels servicing Maldivians and residents from the capital Male. From the collaboration with Singha Estate, Jalboot plans to enhance employment opportunities amongst Maldivian communities by sharing its specialised know-how with a local team at Croassroads via a specially formed start-up group.
“Our operation will provide career opportunities for local communities by allowing Maldivians to benefit economically. When it comes to career opportunities, our focus is to offer job opportunities to locals,” said Fathmah Thaufeeq, HR Manager at Jalboot Maldives.
Despite being relatively new to the Maldives, Jalboot has already been successful in transforming the water transport sector in the Maldives. Its modern boats and integrated water transport solutions are becoming increasingly popular in an industry that had until now remained stagnant for far too long. But this is just the beginning; as more and more leading resorts in the Maldives adopt Jalboot’s technology, gone will be the days of unpleasant rides through Maldivian waters!