Boating in Finland

Finland's archipelagos and thousands of lakes are ideal for boating. You do not even need your own boat as you can use public waterway transport, for example the boarding crafts between islands in the archipelagos. Also, many municipalities and private entrepreneurs offer boat transport.

A view of the Finnish archipelago with several sailboats.


The most important equipment for a boater is common sense. Accidents tend to happen without asking and boaters should be prepared for anything, so plan your boating trip carefully beforehand. If something happens during boating, the help might not reach you immediately.

Remember to always wear a life west and make sure that your phone's battery is charged.  If you are in an emergency, you can make the emergency call either to Maritime Search and Rescue +358 249 1000 or to the national emergency number 112.

Choose your clothing according to the weather and the type of boat you are on. If the boat does not have a cabin, make sure that you have enough clothing. Even during summer, the weather can be quite chilly on open water.

If you are boating with your own boat, familiarise yourself with the water areas, service harbours and nature harbours before your boating trip.

Remember to check the weather ( and ensure that your boat is suitable for the water area you plan to boat on. Weather at marine areas or large open lakes can change rapidly and therefore your boat should be seaworthy. Smaller water areas with sheltering islands are suitable for smaller boats, kayaks and canoes.


The everyman's rights ( allow you to boat on the different water areas in Finland. However, remember to respect the privacy of others and keep at least 50 meters distance to private summer cottages.

Along with the rights come responsibilities and the unique lakes and archipelagos in Finland are worth preserving for future generations. Every boater has a responsibility to keep the environment clean and the same principle applies in boating as in any outdoor activity: do not leave any trace of your visit. Note that it might be prohibited to boat at certain water areas or land at certain shores at certain times of year. This might be due to the protection of the nesting birds, for example.

If you have your own boat with a septic tank, do not to empty the septic tank to water bodies. Septic tanks must be emptied at sewage pumpout stations. See the locations of the sewage pumpout stations from the map, "septit" in Finnish (