Boating on the canals in Amsterdam

Are you going boating on the Amsterdam canals? Please stick to the speed limit of 6 kilometres per hour and note that some canals have one-way traffic only. Similarly, all outboard motors in Amsterdam are required to be cleaner. Please view our tips for boating in Amsterdam.

The Amsterdam canals are becoming more and more crowded. An increasing number of people are renting out boats on the canals. We would like everyone to continue to safely enjoy boating. Therefore, please follow the boating rules and regulations.

The most important boating rules and regulations:

  • Do not exceed the boating speed limit of 6 kilometres per hour.
  • Always stick to the right-hand side (starboard) of the waterway.
  • Boats longer than 20 metres have the right of way.
  • A skipper should not drink any alcohol.
  • Give your boat a name.
  • Want to moor your boat? Make sure to get a harbour fee sticker.
  • Dont blast amplified music on your boat.

How fast may I legally go on a boat in Amsterdam?

The boating speed limit in Amsterdam is 6 kilometres per hour.

However, there are a few exceptions to the rule. The speed limit is 7.5 kilometres per hour on the following waterways:

  • de Kostverlorenvaart
  • het Oosterdok
  • de Nieuwe Herengracht
  • de Amstel in the direction of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel

Never exceed the speed limit? Download our app!

Our free VaarWater App shows exactly how fast your boat is travelling. It also includes a handy navigational chart!

Download the VaarWater App

Would you like to moor your boat? Make sure you have a harbour fee sticker (vignette)

Do you plan to moor your boat in Amsterdam outside a marina? Then you are required to pay a harbour fee and apply for a harbour fee sticker. You can either apply for a one-day or an annual harbour fee sticker.

Apply for your harbour fee sticker (form in Dutch)

One-way traffic on the Prinsengracht, Grimburgwal and Singelgracht

From 1 April 2017 to 1 April 2018, one-way traffic regulations are in effect on the Prinsengracht and the Grimburgwal. Red-white-red waterway signs indicate the one-way traffic regulation at the beginning of the canals.

The one-way rule applies on the Singelgracht until 1 October 2017.

Clean outboard motor requirements for boats

Since the 1st of January 2017, outboard motors in Amsterdam are required to be much cleaner. This means that you may no longer sail with two-stroke outboard motors purchased before 2007 in most waterways. (Historical vessels are exempt).

Exemption from the clean outboard motor requirement

Do you only sail on the main waterways in Amsterdam? For example, the IJ, the Amstel route and the Kostverlorenvaart route? Then you are permitted to sail with two-stroke outboard motors purchased before 2007.

No amplified music rule

You are not allowed to blast music on your boat. If you still decide to do so, the police or Waternet is allowed to confiscate your audio system. You will also receive a fine.

Boating after dark? Make sure to display appropriate lighting

  • Boats of less than 7 metres in length: a white (masthead) light that is visible from all around
  • Boats over 7 metres in length: a green sidelight on starboard (the right-hand side). And a red sidelight on port (the left-hand side). You also need a (masthead) light that is visible from all around. Or a front (masthead) light and a white stern-light.

Boating outside Amsterdam

Are you leaving Amsterdam to explore the surrounding area? Please take note of the speed limits. In most places this is 6 kilometres per hour. The speed limit on some rivers and channels is 9 kilometres per hour. For example, on the Weespertrekvaart.

You can find all of the speed limits outside of Amsterdam on the website of the Regional Public Water Authority Amstel, Gooi en Vecht.

View speed limits outside of Amsterdam