Cruising grounds

Berthing and harbours

Almost every little coastal town has berthing facilities including such infrastructure as slips and sanitary installations. Although the number of berths is high, berthing can get scarce in the main travel destinations during the summer months. It may be necessary to assign raft mooring spaces to guest boats.

Good to know

“Alemannsrätten” falsely interpreted as everyman’s right by some includes the right of common use. Yet, this right to roam freely comes with more obligations than privileges. Do not disturb – this is the simple ground rule of this set of common law freedoms. Information on this subject is available at: www.allemansratten.se .

In Sweden, the mean tide level is much below 1m and the tides are mainly influenced by winds. Westerly winds make the water level rise, easterly winds make it sink. These winds are also creating currents, which can be quite strong in certain passages. Here, pleasure craft entering the skerries from the sea should stick to the marked fairways. Beyond the fairways marked on nautical charts, depth measurements may be incomplete and there is always a risk of contact with cliffs or shallows.

Sweden uses the international buoy system (A /(IALA).

The marks and abbreviations for small or pleasure craft nautical charts (INT 1) were published by the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH).

Local speed limits are displayed on yellow signs with the lettering “högst 5 knop” (5 knots max.) or on a white-and-red sign with a number indicating the maximum speed. In Sweden, foreign nationals are allowed to enter military reserves in times of peace. However, some areas and facilities may be closed.

In harbours, the head may only be used if the craft is equipped with a blackwater holding tank. Waste and blackwater disposal facilities or “Sopmajor” were installed on many islands. The filling station network for watercraft is relatively well developed in Sweden. Most bigger waterside towns provide bunkering opportunities.

Various guest harbours operated by the Swedish tourist agency or Svenska Turistföreningen (STF) are situated along the coast or the inland waterways. They are marked by a round dark-blue sign. On Swedish nautical charts they are marked with red grapnels against a green background. The anchorages of the Swedish Cruising Association or Svenska Kryssarklubben (SXK) are marked by blue and red mooring buoys. They are reserved exclusively for club members.

Sweden is crisscrossed by an extensive canal system. The Göta canal, with the Trollhätte and Södertälje canals and the Vänern and Vättern lakes form a waterway joining Gothenburg and Stockholm.


Safety gear

Below is a list of safety equipment mandated by law for sailing Swedish coastal and inland waterways:

  • a fitting lifejacket for each person on board
  • pumping equipment
  • anchors
  • oars or paddles
  • fire extinguisher

Operating a flare gun requires a gun licence and a European Firearms Pass.


Boat/boating liability insurance is not mandatory, but highly recommended.

VAT for boats within the European Union

You may need to produce such proof upon request for any vessel within the EU (e.g. original invoice with VAT shown, confirmation by an authority). If such proof is not available, VAT will be due on the spot when clearing customs for entry at any port authority in the EU or within territorial waters. The VAT will be assessed based on the boat’s market value.

Certificate for operators of pleasure craft

Under Swedish law such a certificate is not required but it is recommended to have one (for coastal or inland waterways).

Boat registration

You need to carry the registration required in the boat’s home country.

Identity documents

You must carry the ID required in your home country.

Motor vehicle papers

You must carry the driving licence and motor vehicle registration required in your home country.


EU pet passport documenting a valid rabies vaccination. Identification of the pet by a microchip or tattoo. Various special regulations can be checked at www.sjv.se (in English).

Boat towing

Speed limits

As required by the posted limits (within built-up areas). 40kph for unbraked trailers if the trailer is loaded and its maximum authorised mass exceeds 50% of the tractor vehicle’s kerb weight or if the trailer is empty and its kerb weight exceeds 50% of the tractor vehicle’s kerb weight.
80kph for passenger cars towing trailers on extra-urban roads and motorways.

Tractor-trailer combinations

The following maximum dimensions apply on Swedish roads: 2.60m in width, 24m in length. Drawbar trailers: 2.60m in width; no maximum length requirement.

Vehicle-trailer combinations and RVs whose dimensions exceed the allowed limits require special authorisation. The competent authority:

(Swedish Transport Administration)
Department of transport exemptions
Röda vägen 1
781 89 Borlänge
Phone: +46 77 19 21 921

Traffic rules

Headlights must be on during the day. Trams have the right of way. Where a continuous yellow line marks the edge of the road, stopping is prohibited. A discontinuous or zigzag yellow line means no parking. Bigger cities may have special regulations in force. Signs with a white letter M against a blue background warn of on-coming traffic and require motorists to pull into the next available layby.

Mind wildlife warning signs, notably at dusk. Inform the police after an accident involving wildlife. Winter tyres are mandatory from 1 December to 31 March (3mm min. tread depth) The police can demand fines to be paid on the spot.

Drink-drive limit



The Sound Bridge between Denmark and Sweden is a toll bridge. The urban charging in Gothenburg and Stockholm affects only vehicles with Swedish registration tags.

Helpful information

Roadside assistance

Motormännens Riksförbund (M)
Fridhemsgatan 32
112 40 Stockholm
Phone: +46 86 90 38 00

Emergency numbers

European emergency phone number 112

Distress calls

Vessels in distress can call for assistance using the “Sjöräddning” (maritime rescue) call name via any costal radio station (VHF channel 16). Emergency response services and the police can be called at 112.

Country code



Swedish VAT (MOMS) is 25%.


Swedish Krona (1 SEK = 0.09 EUR, Mai 2019)