Kommentarwerk Onlinekommentar

Besonderer Teil: Bretter mit Paddelantrieb

Stand Up Paddling

Zitiervorschlag: Daniel Burgermeister, Stand Up Paddling,
in: Anne Mirjam Schneuwly (Hrsg.), Wassersportkommentar, https://wassersportkommentar.ch/BT_SUP, 1. Aufl., (publiziert am 13. Juli 2022).


Kurzzitat: Burgermeister, Rz. xx.


Literature

Materials

  1. General information about water sports
    1. Emergence
    2. Fields of application
    3. Sports variants
  2. Public law aspects
    1. Basics and terminology
      1. Definition of the board according to BSV
      2. Definition of the board according to other regulations
        1. Lake Constance
        2. Lake Geneva
        3. Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano
      3. Conclusion concerning the different definitions
    2. Stand Up Paddling on Swiss Waters
      1. Shore zone
      2. Access and driving bans
    3. Marking of the SUP
      1. Inland waters (BSV)
      2. Lake Constance
      3. Lake Geneva
      4. Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano
    4. Equipment
      1. Rotating light
        1. Inland waters (BSV)
        2. Lake Constance, Lake Geneva, Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano
      2. Rescue means
        1. Inland waters (BSV)
        2. Lake Constance
        3. Lake Geneva
        4. Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano
        5. Conclusion
    5. Traffic rules
      1. Right of way and distance rules
        1. Inland waters (BSV)
        2. Lake Constance
        3. Lake Geneva
        4. Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano
      2. General rules of conduct
        1. Basics
        2. Prohibition of driving while unfit to drive
    6. Bird protection and SUP
  3. Liability law


Disclaimer: This version is a www.DeepL.com machine translation of the original German text and is intended to give the reader an overview of the contents. Only the German version is authoritative; the translated form of this text may not be quoted.


Suggested citation for the original German text: Daniel Burgermeister, Stand Up Paddling, in: Anne Mirjam Schneuwly (Hrsg.), Wassersportkommentar, https://wassersportkommentar.ch/BT_SUP, 1. Aufl., (publiziert am 13. Juli 2022).

Literature


Barth, Christian, SUP – Stand Up Paddling: Material – Technik – Spots, Delius, Klasing & Co. KG, 5. Aufl., Bielefeld 2019; Bull, Matthias/Rödl, Thomas, Stand Up Paddling (SUP): Eine neue Trendsportart als Problem für überwinternde und rastende Wasservögel? in Berichte zum Vogelschutz 55/2018, S. 25–52; Chismar, Steve, Stand Up Paddling, Faszination einer neuen Sportart, Delius, Klasing & Co. KG, 1. Aufl., Bielefeld 2013; Werner, Stefan/Strebel, Nicolas: Avifaunistische Bedeutung des WZV-Reservats Nr. 113: Aare bei Solothurn und Naturschutzreservat Aare Flumenthal (SO). Schweizerische Vogelwarte, Sempach, 2021 (zit. Gutachten Vogelwarte Sempach); Gfeller, Katja, Wassersport auf öffentlichen Gewässern der Schweiz, in: Anne Mirjam Schneuwly (Hrsg.), Wassersportkommentar; Märki, Raphaël/Wyss, Karl-Marc, Bungeesurfen im Recht, Eine verwaltungsrechtliche Einordnung des Bungeesurfens im Kanton Bern sowie haftpflicht- und versicherungsrechtliche Hinweise, in: Jusletter 8. April 2019; Schneuwly, Anne Mirjam, Kitesurfen, in: Anne Mirjam Schneuwly (Hrsg.), Wassersportkommentar.

Materials


Medienmitteilung der SUVA vom 6. August 2019; vks, Vereinigung der Schifffahrtsämter, vks-Merkblatt Nr. 6: Stehpaddler SUP (Stand Up Paddling), Ausgabe 2-2017 (zit. vks-Mekblatt); Wettkampfbestimmungen Stand Up Paddling der SUP Alliance Germany (SUP AG) von DKV, DWV und GSUPA vom 17. Januar 2019; Swiss SUP Flatwater Championships Race Rules der Swiss Stand Up Paddle Boarding Associaton SUP Suisse, Version 1.1 vom 5. August 2021 (zit Wettkampfbestimmungen SUP AG).

I. General information about water sports

A. Emergence


Today's Stand Up Paddling (SUP) can be traced back to the surfing that originated in Hawaii. Various stories are told about the invention of SUP. For example, John "Pops" Ah Choy, who was born in 1920 in O'okala, Hawaii, is said to have spent every free minute on his surfboard and, when his knees began to bother him as he got older, decided in the 1950s to use a kind of walking aid on the water (Steve Chismar, Stand Up Paddling, p. 17; Christian Barth, SUP - Stand Up Paddling, p. 17). To do this, he used a large canoe paddle to reach the waves quickly enough. Other "beach boys" are said to have then imitated and further developed the technique (Christian Barth, SUP - Stand Up Paddling, p. 17). Starting in the 1960s, surf instructors also used a paddle to better observe their students while standing on the surfboard and to take photos of the surfing tourists. A pioneer was John "Zapped" Zapotocky, who could still be found on the SUP up to his old age of over 90 years (Steve Chismar, Stand Up Paddling, p. 12 and p. 17; Christian Barth, SUP - Stand Up Paddling, p. 17 f.).


The SUP was really rediscovered in Hawaii in the mid-1990s and thus developed into an actual sport: it is reported that the surfers Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama wanted to take photos for a well-known surf brand on so-called longboards in the summer of 1995. But since the waves were small, they soon got bored and Dave Kalama had the idea to get a canoe paddle, which he happened to have in his car. While surfing with the paddle, they noticed how much fun it was. But since the canoe paddle they were using at the time was rather too short, Laird Hamilton had a longer wooden paddle made. And that is how the modern SUP is said to have been born (Christian Barth, SUP - Stand Up Paddling, p. 18.; Steve Chismar, Stand Up Paddling, p. 12 and p. 21).

B. Fields of application


SUP boards can be paddled in various waters. In Switzerland, paddling on flat water, especially lakes, is probably the most common. But rivers are also attractive. In Switzerland, SUP surfing on a wave in the open is difficult. To do this, you need to visit an appropriate surf park, a standing river wave or, abroad, the sea. During storms, it can happen in rare cases that waves can be surfed on larger Swiss lakes (Surfing on Lake Geneva, article of 02.11.2010 on supsurf.ch).

C. Sports variants


Roughly speaking, SUP can be divided into the sport variants Race, Whitewater and Wave (SUP AG competition regulations, section 2.3). In addition, there are recreational variants such as touring or SUP yoga (Christian Barth, SUP - Stand Up Paddling, p. 131 f.; Steve Chismar, Stand Up Paddling, p. 31). For the different sport variants differently formed boards (length, width, thickness etc.) are used: In the race area, for example, long and rather narrow boards are used. According to the competition regulations of the German SUP League, these boards may have a maximum length of 14' (428 cm) for women/men and juniors, and a maximum length of 12' 6'' (381 cm) for students and youth classes.


Furthermore, different competition styles have to be pointed out: In the German SUP League there are the value classes Sprint (max. 500 m), Distance (between min. 2000 m for pupils aged 10 to 15 years up to min. 8000 m for adults) and Technical Race (Competition rules SUP AG, para. 1.34 and 2.5). A Technical Race has no prescribed distance and is usually held on the sea (Competition rules SUP AG, para. 2.5). Whitewater SUP uses wider boards that provide more stability. In this discipline the competitions take place as time races or in heat elimination (Competition rules SUP AG, point 2.5). The category Wave is based on the competition rules of the International Surfing Association ISA (Competition rules SUP AG, point 2.5). According to the rules of the German SUP League, there are no special rules regarding board size in the Wave discipline (Competition rules SUP AG, para. 2.3). Usually Wave SUP boards are rather shorter. For the flatwater championships held in Switzerland, the Swiss Stand Up Paddle Boarding Association - SUP Suisse has issued corresponding rules (Swiss SUP Flatwater Championships Race Rules).

II. Public law aspects

A. Basics and terminology


In principle, the Inland Navigation Act (BSG) and the Inland Navigation Ordinance (BSV) are authoritative for navigating waters in Switzerland. Exceptions are the border lakes Lake Constance, Lake Geneva, Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano. For these lakes, other principles apply in part (see below; cf. also Gfeller, para. 31 ff.).

1. Definition of the board according to BSV


A watercraft or other floating body intended for locomotion on or under the surface of the water, or a floating body is referred to as a vessel (Art. 2 para. 1 lit. a No. 1 BSV). According to para. 11, a rowing boat is a vessel that can be propelled only by means of an oar, a pedal or hand crank, a paddle or in a similar manner by human power. A rowboat is referred to in item 21 as a paddleboat if the vessel is propelled by one or more double paddles or paddles propelled by human power; paddleboats are considered a subset of rowboats. A SUP board is usually propelled by means of a long stand-up paddle. Accordingly, a SUP is a paddle boat in the sense of the BSV (so also vks bulletin).

2. Definition of the board according to other regulations.

a. Lake Constance

For paddling on Lake Constance, the Lake Constance Navigation Ordinance (BSO, SR747.223.1) is authoritative in addition to the BSG. Art. 0.02 lit. a BSO defines vehicles as inland vessels, including boats and ferries, other floating bodies intended for locomotion as well as floating devices. According to Art. 0.02 lit. j BSO, a vessel is a rowing boat if it is propelled only by oars or other devices operated by human power. Since a SUP is propelled by a paddle, consequently by human power, it is a rowing boat as defined by the BSO.

b. Lake Geneva

Anyone traveling on Lake Geneva by SUP must comply with the provisions of the Agreement between the Swiss Federal Council and the Government of the French Republic concerning navigation on Lake Geneva of December 7, 1976 (SR 0.747.221.1) and the Regulations concerning navigation on Lake Geneva based thereon (SR 0.747.221.11). In the definition of the regulations on navigation on Lake Geneva, vehicles of any kind intended for movement on and in the water are called vessels (Art. 1 lit. a). According to Art. 1 lit. ebis of the Regulations, rowing boats are vessels that can be propelled only by means of an oar, pedal or hand crank, paddle or in a similar manner using human power. According to the aforementioned definition of the Regulations on Navigation on Lake Geneva, SUPs fall into the category of rowing boats.

c. Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano

The legal classification of a SUP on the two large border lakes of Ticino is governed by the agreement between Switzerland and Italy concerning navigation on Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano and by the implementing provisions in the International Regulations on Navigation on Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano (SR 0.7.47.225.1). According to Art. 1 lit. a of these regulations, a vessel is a vehicle, boat, mobile device or installation intended for movement on water. A rowboat is a vessel that is propelled by oars only. Vessels propelled only by human power, such as pedalos, are considered rowing boats (art. 1 lit. d of the International Regulations for Navigation on Lakes Maggiore and Lugano). Consequently, on Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, a SUP is considered a rowing boat.

3. conclusion concerning the different definitions


Apart from Art. 134a BSV, Art. 2.01 para. 1 lit. b and Art. 13.20 para. 5 lit. a BSO, SUP is not explicitly mentioned in any provision of the Swiss Navigation Standards. Therefore, in order to know which rights and obligations as well as prohibitions apply to SUPs, the above definitions are decisive. In principle, SUPs are considered to be ships. Accordingly, all provisions applicable to ships are also binding for SUPs. However, depending on the provision, there are exceptions. These exceptions relate to the different categories of vessels. Therefore, it is significant that a SUP is defined as a rowing or paddling boat.

B. Stand Up Paddling on Swiss Waters


According to Art. 42 BSV, vessels shorter than 2.50m (Art. 16 para. 2 let. b BSV), beach boats and the like (Art. 16 para. 2 let. c) may only operate within the inner shore zone (150m) or at a maximum distance of 150m around vessels accompanying them. Since SUPs are usually over 2.70m (9') long and are not considered beach boats, they may operate not only within the inner and outer shore zone, but also outside the shore zone. However, certain rules apply in this case, which are explained below.

1. Shore zone


For the understanding of the applicable rules, e.g. concerning rescue equipment and the traffic regulations, the definition of the term shore zone is of importance. According to Art. 53 para. 1 BSV, the inner shore zone is the watercourse belt up to a distance of 150 m from the shore, and the outer shore zone is that outside the inner shore zone up to a distance of 300 m from the shore, from stands of aquatic plants upstream of the shore or from structures in the watercourse (cf. Gfeller, para. 25). On Lake Constance, no distinction is made between the inner and outer shore zone. The shore zone there is defined as the area 300 m from the shore or a reed belt in front of the shore (Art. 6.11 para. 1 BSO). The Convention and the Regulations on Navigation on Lake Geneva do not use the term shore zone. In the international regulations on navigation on Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, as in the BSO, a distinction is made between the inner and outer shore zones. The same values apply as in the BSV of 150 m from the shore for the inner shore zone and 300 m for the outer shore zone (Art. 1 lit. t and lit. u of the regulations).

2. Access and driving bans


On Swiss waters there are areas where navigation is prohibited. The general prohibition sign (prohibition of passage) shows three superimposed bars (red-white-red, see Appendix 4 BSV, A.1) and applies to all vessels - including SUP. According to the BSV, there is no special prohibition or permission sign for SUP - such as the prohibition of sailing with sailboards (Annex 4 BSV, A.4bis ) or the permission to sail with kite sailboards (Annex 4 BSV, E.5ter ). The prohibition signs must be visible and clearly recognizable for the users of the water areas. For example, a decision of the Cantonal Court of Basel-Landschaft in 2021 dealt with the disregard of a driving ban by a SUP paddler. The subject of the decision of the Cantonal Court Basel-Landschaft of May 4, 2021 was a discontinuation order of the Public Prosecutor's Office Basel-Landschaft against a paddler who had violated an access ban on the area of a navigation facility because he had paddled his SUP in this prohibited area (decision Cantonal Court BL 470 21 42 of May 4, 2021). Initially, the paddler had been sentenced to a fine by the public prosecutor's office due to the prohibited stay by means of a penalty order. The paddler objected on the grounds that the corresponding prohibition sign mounted on the shore path could be seen from the shore, but not from the water. Following this reasoning, the public prosecutor's office discontinued the proceedings. The operator of the facility in question defended itself against this decision by filing an appeal with the cantonal court, which rejected this appeal on the grounds that the sign in question and the lettering on it were effectively illegible from the water and therefore could not have been perceived by the paddler.

C. Marking of the SUP

1. Inland waters (BSV)


In principle, vessels stationed on or above a water surface or used on a public water body must bear the markings assigned by the competent authority (Art. 16 para. 1 BSV). Since SUPs are considered paddleboats, they are exempt from this marking requirement according to Art. 16 para. 2 lit. d BSV, but according to Art. 16 para. 3 BSV they must bear the name and address of the owner or keeper of the SUP in a clearly visible manner (so also vks leaflet). By means of the labeling, abandoned boards can be identified on the waters, which, among other things, supports the work of the police and rescue forces and can avoid unnecessary search and rescue operations (Märki/Wyss, marg. no. 21; Schneuwly, marg. no. 15).

2. Lake Constance


On Lake Constance, according to Art. 2.01 para. 1 BSO, every vessel must bear a license plate assigned by the competent authority. SUPs are explicitly exempt from this obligation; however, they must bear the name and address of the owner or other person authorized to dispose of the vessel (Art. 2.01 para. 1 lit. b BSO).

3. Lake Geneva


The regulations governing navigation on Lake Geneva refer to the regulations in force in the country concerned with regard to the marking of vessels and floating equipment operating on Lake Geneva (Art. 18 para. 1 of the regulations). Accordingly, the regulations of the BSG and BSV apply to Switzerland. According to Art. 16 para. 2 lit. d BSV, SUPs are exempt from the affixing of an officially assigned mark. However, according to Art. 18 para. 3 of the Regulations on Navigation on Lake Geneva, vessels that do not bear registration or enrollment plates must be marked in a conspicuous place with the name and place of residence of the owner.

4. Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano


On Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, every vessel must also bear an officially assigned registration number (Art. 17, para. 1 of the International Regulations for Navigation on Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano). However, according to par. 5 lit. c of the mentioned regulation, SUPs considered as paddle boats are exempt from this obligation; however, they must bear a clearly visible sign or the like indicating the owner or keeper (art. 17 par. 5 second sentence).

D. Equipment

1. rotating light

a. Inland waters (BSV)

At night and in unsafe weather, non-powered vessels, including SUPs, must carry an ordinary white all-round light. This can also be designed as a flashing light (Art. 25 para. 1 BSV, Art. 18 BSV). This all-round light must be installed in a clearly visible position and must not dazzle the skipper (Art. 18b para. 1 BSV). In the case of a SUP, it is therefore recommended to install the designated light at the stern, i.e. behind the person paddling, so that he or she is not dazzled.

b. Lake Constance, Lake Geneva, Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano

On Lake Constance, SUPs must also carry a white all-round light in darkness and poor visibility (art. 3.06 par. 4 BSO). Whoever paddles with the SUP on Lake Geneva at night or if the weather conditions (fog, driving snow, etc.) require it, must carry the prescribed lights (art. 20 par. 1 of the regulations on navigation on Lake Geneva). For the SUP, a white all-round light, which can also be a flashing light, is sufficient (art. 30 par. 1 of the regulations). On Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, an ordinary white light must also be installed on the SUP at night (art. 20, art. 27 par. 1 of the International Regulations for Navigation on Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano).

2. rescue means

a. Inland waters (BSV)

Art. 134 para. 4 BSV stipulates that a life-saving device must be available on ships for each person on board. There are exceptions to this regulation, among others, for water sports equipment suitable for competition, provided that these operate on lakes in the inner or outer shore zone (Art. 134 para. 4bis BSV). If paddling only takes place within the shore zone of 300 m, no life-saving equipment has to be carried or worn. According to art. 134a para. 1 BSV, SUP are explicitly classified as water sports equipment suitable for competition (see also vks-Mekblatt). For water sports equipment suitable for competition, such as SUP, it is permissible to carry buoyancy aids instead of rescue equipment in accordance with Art. 134 BSV, if this water sports equipment travels on rivers or on lakes outside the inner and outer shore zone (Art. 134a Para. 2 BSV).


Life jackets that comply with the SN EN ISO 12402-5:2006 standard as amended in November 2006 are considered buoyancy aids (cf. Art. 134a para. 3 BSV; in the meantime, however, reference should be made to the updated ISO standard 12402-5:2020). ISO standard 12402-5:2020 specifies the safety requirements for buoyancy aids with a buoyancy of at least 50 N that are used in protected waters with assistance and rescue in close proximity and in situations where bulky or buoyant devices may interfere with the user's activity, which will often be the case, especially in water sports (see also Schneuwly, para. 14 f.). The standard applies to buoyancy aids used by adults or children. The buoyancy aid must also correspond to the size of the person wearing it (Art. 134a para. 4 BSV).

b. Lake Constance

On Lake Constance, a life jacket with collar with a buoyancy of at least 100 N must be carried for each person on board a rowing boat outside the shore zone with a body weight of 40 kg or more (Art. 13.20 Para. 3 BSO). For persons weighing less than 40 kg, a suitable life jacket with collar and appropriate buoyancy must be provided (art. 13.20 par. 4 BSO). There is an exception to this for SUPs because they do not have a sufficiently splashproof or weatherproof lockable stowage space for carrying life-saving equipment in accordance with Art. 13.20 Para. 3 BSO. Therefore, outside the shore zone (300 m and more distance from the shore), a buoyancy aid of the already mentioned ISO standard 12402-5:2006 must be carried or worn on a SUP, i.e. a vest with at least 50 N buoyancy (art. 13.20 par. 5 BSO).

c. Lake Geneva

For Lake Geneva, there are no explicit regulations on the carrying of life-saving equipment in the corresponding regulations. Art. 4 No. 2 of the Agreement concerning navigation on Lake Geneva states that "the construction, equipment and manning of vessels must comply with the provisions of the regulations and the provisions of the national legislation in force at their location." Consequently, the provisions of the BSV discussed above apply on Lake Geneva with regard to life-saving appliances.

d. Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano

For the two large lakes in Ticino, there are no explicit regulations regarding life-saving equipment, neither in the corresponding agreement nor in the regulations based on it. Consequently, in application of art. 4 par. 2 of the agreement between Switzerland and Italy, reference must be made to the national regulations at the usual location of the SUP board or, in the absence of such a location in one of the contracting states, to the regulations of the state from whose territory the SUP board in question enters one of the two lakes (art. 4 par. 5 of the agreement). For paddlers residing in Switzerland, the BSV is therefore applicable with the provisions already listed.

e. Conclusion

It is worth noting that in SUP on any Swiss waters, the wearing of a rescue or buoyancy aid is not required by law, but only the carrying of the rescue device if the paddling person is outside the shore zone (300 m or more distance from the shore).

E. Traffic rules


The SUP is not subject to a driving license. However, the navigation traffic regulations according to BSV and the other decrees apply to SUPs, which are explained below. The disregard of these rules is punishable according to Art. 40 f. BSG under penalty.

1. right of way and distance rules

a. Inland waters (BSV)

Art. 44 BSV regulates which ships must give way when meeting and overtaking. All other ships must give way to so-called priority ships (para. 1 lit. a). Priority ships are, in particular, course ships and other passenger ships, provided that they have been granted priority in accordance with Art. 14a BSV (Art. 2 Para. 1 lit. a No. 22 BSV). Then, according to Art. 44 para. 1 BSV, in the hierarchy of vessels with priority, come the cargo vessels (lit. b), the vessels of professional fishermen (lit. c), if they display the signs according to Art. 31 BSV (yellow or white ball, yellow round light at night), the sailing vessels (lit. d), the rowing boats (lit. e), the engine-powered vessels (lit. e) and finally sailboards and kite sailboards (lit. f).


Since SUPs are considered to be rowing boats (Art. 2 para. 1 lit. a No. 21 BSV), they have the right of way over motorboats (and sailboards and dragon sailboards) and do not have to avoid them. Ports and landing places represent a special situation (Art. 52 BSV). A vessel leaving the harbor has priority over vessels entering the harbor. If paddlers start their SUP tour at a jetty or slip of a harbor, they have right of way over other vessels when paddling out of the harbor, except with regard to any priority vessels (esp. course vessels) entering the harbor (Art. 52 para. 1 BSV). It is forbidden to enter or stay in the harbor entrance area if it is not intended to enter the harbor (Art. 52 para. 2 BSV). Exercises with the SUP must therefore take place outside this area. Also, priority vessels (course vessels) must not be obstructed when mooring and unmooring at a landing site. In addition, mooring the SUP at such a landing site is not permitted (Art. 52 para. 3 BSV).


If active diving points are marked in or on the water to be navigated (board with letter "A", half of which is white on the stick and the other half blue, Art. 32 BSV), a distance of at least 50 m must be kept from these points (Art. 49 BSV).


If there are aquatic plants such as reeds, rushes or water lilies on the shore, these may not be paddled and a distance of at least 25 m from these plants must be maintained (Art. 53 para. 3 BSV).

b. Lake Constance

According to Art. 6.05 BSO, the same priority and evasion rules apply on Lake Constance as on Swiss inland waters (Art. 44 BSV). Which vessels are considered as so-called priority vessels is regulated in Art. 1.15 BSO. These include, in particular, passenger ships. Also on Lake Constance, a ship leaving the harbor has priority over a ship entering the harbor (Art. 6.10 para. 2 BSO). In addition, SUP paddlers are not allowed to stay in the area of the fairway in front of the harbor entrance if they do not want to enter the harbor (Art. 6.10 para. 3 BSO). Also, the landing places must be kept clear of passenger vessels (Art. 6.10 para. 4 BSO). Consequently, these landing sites are not suitable for starting a paddling tour. Furthermore, the paddler must keep a distance of 50 m from marked diving sites (Art. 6.06 para. 1 BSO) and a distance of 25 m from stands of aquatic plants (Art. 6.11 para. 3 BSO).

c. Lake Geneva

On Lake Geneva, too, the same evasion obligations apply as those regulated in the BSV (Art. 64 of the Regulations on Navigation on Lake Geneva). Vessels leaving the harbor have right of way (Art. 68 para. 2 of the Regulations), landing places may not be obstructed (Art. 68 para. 4 of the Regulations) and mooring with the SUP at a landing place of a course vessel is prohibited (Art. 68 para. 5 of the Regulations). In contrast to the inland waters and to Lake Constance and the Ticino border lakes, the paddling person must keep a greater distance from divers. This distance is 100 m on Lake Geneva (art. 78 par. 2 of the regulations) and not 50 m as on the other lakes. It is interesting that the regulations on navigation on Lake Geneva do not contain any explicit distance rules to water plants such as reeds, rushes or water lilies. It can be assumed that corresponding water areas are marked with the general prohibition signs (red-white-red sign or yellow buoys according to Annex III A. and C. of the regulations).

d. Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano

The evasion obligations applicable on the two Ticino lakes according to Art. 45 of the International Regulations for Navigation on Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano correspond to the regulations of the BSV. Vessels leaving the harbor have priority over those entering (art. 53 par. 1 Regulations). The entry and exit of the harbors must not be obstructed. Thus, it is forbidden to stop near the port entrance (art. 53 par. 2 Regulations). The same applies at landing points of regular scheduled traffic, if the approach with the SUP obstructs the maneuvers of the landing or departing vessels. Also, paddlers are not allowed to moor at these landing places (art. 53 par. 3 Regulations).


As in the BSV and BSO, a distance of 50 m from divers must be maintained (Art. 50 Regulations) and navigation in protected areas and stands of aquatic plants is prohibited (Art. 54 para. 2 Regulations).


There are two special regulations for Lake Lugano: At the dam bridge of Melide, navigation through the middle passage opening is only permitted for scheduled vessels (Art. 61 para. 2 Regulations). The other vessels must use the other passage openings. In the Lavena narrows, priority is given to vessels heading for Ponte Tresa. Exceptions to this are the scheduled boats, which always have priority (art. 62 regulations).

2. general rules of conduct

a. Basics

Art. 5 BSV stipulates general duties of care for boatmasters and thus also for paddlers. Paddlers must avoid endangering or harassing people, damaging other vessels, other people's property, the shore, the shore vegetation or installations of any kind in the water body or on its shore, obstructing navigation and fishing and polluting the water. The same duties of care also apply on Lake Constance (Art. 1.03 BSO), Lake Geneva (Art. 4 Regulations on Navigation on Lake Geneva) and Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano (Art. 4 International Regulations on Navigation on Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano).

b. Prohibition of driving while unfit to drive

Another general rule of conduct is the prohibition of paddling in an unfit condition. This may be due to alcohol or drug consumption or due to impairment caused by medication or overtiredness (Art. 40a BSV). This prohibition also applies to paddlers on Lake Constance (Art. 6.01 para. 2 BSO), on Lake Geneva (Art. 2 para. 5 Regulations on Navigation on Lake Geneva) and on Lakes Maggiore and Lugano (Art. 2 para. 3 International Regulations on Navigation on Lakes Maggiore and Lugano).

F. Bird protection and SUP


Paddling is restricted in waterbird and migratory bird reserves of international and national importance (Art. 1 WZVV) (see the Federal Inventory of Waterbird and Migratory Bird Reserves of International and National Importance of July 15, 2015). In terms of bird protection, SUP has been prohibited in some areas on the grounds that SUP represents a high potential for disturbance to breeding migratory birds. This was the case, for example, on a section of the Aare River in the canton of Solothurn. However, navigating these areas with a motorboat was still allowed, but paddling with the SUP was only allowed in a sitting position), which led to a lack of understanding in the SUP community SRF article of 08.04.2021; Solothurner Zeitung of 08.04.2021).


According to a study by the Landesbund für Vogelschutz in Bayern (LVB), the potential disturbances of SUP were investigated and documented. Accordingly, the escape distances of waterfowl of more than 500 m had occurred more frequently in disturbances by SUP and canoeists than in other water sports studied (Bull/Rödl, p. 28). Furthermore, in no other water sport studied were the maximum escape distances recorded higher than for SUP. Birds that had been disturbed by SUP often flew longer distances than average before landing again. Since October turned out to be a month with a particularly high intensity of disturbance, the authors recommend establishing refuges for waterfowl at least for the period from the beginning of October to the end of March and calming them before recreational use. In addition, it is essential to better mark protected areas and protected zones (Bull/Rödl, p. 48 f.).


In the canton of Solothurn, the above-mentioned ban on stand-up paddling and "sit-down paddling" was lifted again after an expert opinion by the Sempach ornithological station concluded that the reserve in question was of secondary importance for most waterbird species in the summer half-year (Sempach ornithological station expert opinion, point 5.2). The canton of Solothurn thus permits navigation on the Aare in the areas in question from May 1 to October 31 for SUPs as for all other watercraft. In the winter half-year, however, navigation is prohibited for all in the areas in question (Solothurner Zeitung of 15.12.2021).


A good overview of protection zones in map form and also of suitable entry and exit points can be found at https://www.paddle-spots.com/schweiz. Furthermore, there are sensible rules for behavior towards water birds on the website of the Sempach ornithological station or the Landesbund für Vogelschutz in Bavaria (etiquette for stand-up paddlers).

III. Liability law


In principle, liability insurance is mandatory for ships in Switzerland (Art. 153 para. 1 BSV; see further Gfeller, para. 21; Schneuwly, para. 30 ff.). According to Art. 153 para. 2 BSV, vessels without engine propulsion, rafts under 2.5 m in length and for sailing vessels without engine whose sail area is 15 m2 or less are exempt from this insurance obligation, provided they are not used commercially. Accordingly, the SUP is exempt from this requirement. Nor does the SUP fall under a special regulation such as the kite sailboard (Art. 153 para. 2bis BSV; cf. Schneuwly, para. 30 ff.). In the event of an accident, the fault liability according to Art. 41 OR generally applies.