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Rubber boats

Year after year, abandoned ‘rudderless’ boats drifting down the Aare trigger complex and costly search operations. These searches could be prevented by observing a few simple rules. The proper conduct when using dinghies on the Aare River helps to prevent dangerous situations and search operations of this kind. So do your bit to help!

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As the owner of a rubber dinghy you are required to observe a few important rules, some of them prescribed by law, to make sure your boating trip does not end up being an expensive outing:

Do not tie or strap dinghies together; they are no longer manoeuvrable as a result.

  • Before you set off, explore any sections of the river you are unfamiliar with.
  • Life jackets must be worn by anyone using a dinghy.
  • Do not exceed the load capacity indicated on the dinghy.
  • Label your dinghy with your name and address.
  • Call the police emergency number 117 or 112 immediately if you become separated from your group or if you have lost your dinghy and it is drifting rudderless down the Aare River.
  • Give the all-clear once everyone is safe.


Contacting the police – even in the event of a seemingly harmless incident – makes it easier for rescue teams to assign unattended dinghies to their owners; it also helps to avoid time-consuming searches. The inland navigation regulations provide the legal basis.

Search operations caused by grossly negligent behaviour may result in the operation costs incurred by the rescue services being charged to the dinghy owners – and these costs can quickly add up to several thousand Swiss francs.

See here for more general information issued by the Water Police.

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