Booze ban for rubber dinghy revellers to be lifted

Every summer, Swiss rivers fill up with people cooling off on rubber boats. Keystone

Connoisseurs of the regular Swiss summer pastime of drifting down rivers on rubber dinghies will most likely no longer have to watch what they drink. Regulations are set to change in the next few years, lifting the alcohol limit on people using small water craft.

This content was published on April 12, 2018

Parliament has backed a proposal to lift the limit partly because it is impractical to enforce. Every summer Swiss rivers and lakes fill up with people cooling off on a variety of rubber boats. 

Alcohol regularly plays a part in this pursuit, but keeping track of how much everyone has drunk has proved a difficult task.

The Federal Office of Transport has proposed amending statutes governing alcohol consumption that currently stipulates the same limit for rubber dinghies and large boats. 

Exceptions will soon apply to craft shorter than 2.5 metres, beach boats, canoes, racing rowing boats, windsurfing and kiteboards and non-motorised rubber boats up to four metres in length. The change is expected to be introduced in 2020.

But there is a darker side to water sports. Between 2007 and 2016, 448 people drowned in Switzerland, according to official statistics. Some 48 died in boating accidents and 166 while swimming in rivers and lakes.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Weekly top stories

Keep up to date with the best stories from SWI on a range of topics, straight into your mailbox.


The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.