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Boating rules Amsterdam Canals

When you go cruising the canals in Amsterdam, you have to follow a few rules. The Amsterdam canals can be quite busy at times, so it’s very important to read up on the navigation regulations before you start your boat trip.

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Amsterdam Canal Rules

Are you planning to go boating in Amsterdam? If so, be sure to read the Amsterdam boating regulations before you go. The rules should always be followed. They are strictly controlled by the municipality of Amsterdam. The following rules are there to help you navigate the canals safely.

Safety is paramount, never take any risks

Not sure if you can overtake or enter a certain canal in Amsterdam? Please take some time to look at the signs. You can always call us if you have any questions while cruising the canals. In any case, please read the following Amsterdam canal cruise rules so that you are well prepared.

How old do you have to be to cruise the canals of Amsterdam?

You have to be at least 18 years old to steer our boats.

What is the speed limit on the canals of Amsterdam?

The maximum speed limit on the Amsterdam canals is 6 km/h (3,7 mph). Our boats adhere to this limit.

Which side of the canal should you stay on while boating?

Make sure you always steer to starboard. This means that you keep to the right. This prevents collisions with other boats and makes boating safe for everyone. Also, approach bridges in such a way that you are visible to any oncoming traffic.

Who has right of way on Amsterdam’s canals?

Always give way to commercial shipping and boats that are bigger than your boat. This includes the touring boats.

Are you allowed to cruise Amsterdam with alcohol on board?

You may bring alcohol on board of the boat, but the driver of the boat must remain sober. It is forbidden to drive a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Are you allowed to have music on board of the boat?

Loud music is not allowed on the canals at all times.

Respect the neighbourhood

People live on and around the canals. Please respect their privacy. Please do not cause any unnecessary (noise) nuisance.

Are you allowed to go everywhere on the canals in Amsterdam?

You can cruise almost everywhere in Amsterdam. Except on the IJ and the open harbour front (that is in front of the Central Station). Also, some canals are one-way traffic. So pay close attention to the signs.

Where are you allowed to moor the boat in Amsterdam?

Would you like to moor your boat while cruising the canals? This is allowed, but not everywhere. You are not allowed to moor to trees, under or to bridges and in places where this is indicated by means of a prohibition sign. Mooring to houseboats and other vessels is also not permitted.

Amsterdam boating signs

There are various signs for boats on the canals in Amsterdam. Please read these signs carefully when navigating the canals. This way, boating in Amsterdam remains safe and fun.

signs on the canals amsterdam

Boating in Amsterdam rules private boat

Do you have your own private boat and are you curious about the Amsterdam boating rules? Then please check the general boating rules of the municipality of Amsterdam. You can find here all the rules that apply on the canals.

Questions about cruising the canals in Amsterdam?

Do you have any questions about the Amsterdam cruising rules? Please contact us or take a look at our frequently asked questions. We are happy to help!