Enjoy the freedom of boating

When you leave the shore, you can set your course towards an adventure, big or small. Whether you have a smaller motorboat, a speedy yacht or an old wooden boat, Finland’s rugged coastline and diverse archipelagos offer sights to see and experience, from early spring all the way to late autumn.

Boating is a fun family hobby, regardless of your age or gender, and gives the opportunity to learn something new about the weather, nature, yourself and your travel companions. Your boat and the surrounding landscape form a microcosm where all worries are left behind and you can enjoy life with all your senses. If you switch from motor to sails, the unexpectedly changing sounds will take you by surprise: waves roaring in the aft, the wind whistling in your hair and the screaming of faraway seagulls. 

It is said that the sea brings people together for life. Experiences at sea connect people in a unique way. 

 A sailing boat gliding across calm waters.
Sailing is a way of life.

Changing seasons set the pace of a sailor’s life

In Finland, the boating season is short and intense. While it always seems to stop before it even starts, it still offers incredible experiences.  

The spring comes slowly and colours trees with green at the same time as people on the mainland are already trying on their summer clothes. In spring, the archipelago is bustling, as migrating seabirds populate different islets and water areas. It is time for mating and nesting. 

Bright summer nights, rocks heated by the sun and the upbeat sounds of guest harbours. For a moment, the entire archipelago is filled by cheerful people enjoying their summer holidays, and the population of small villages increases tenfold. 

The archipelago quiets down when schools start. Some lucky ones can still enjoy the darker, but still warm, nights of August. Come autumn, the coast and archipelago dress in colourful yellow, red and brown, and the warm sea keeps the cold air away. Then, clear starry nights can best be witnessed at sea, when all the lights of cities are far off in the horizon.  

 The sun setting in the horizon on the open sea. Bare trees stand out as dark figures against the grey sky.
When boating, every day is like a new experience.

The archipelago is full of scenic routes, sights, services and endless experiences

Finland has a coastline of more than 4,600 kilometres, over 73,000 islands and the largest unbroken archipelago in Europe – there is more than enough to see and do. 

Our archipelago features various harbours. There are excursions, services, guest harbours and five magnificent national parks, all with different and unique characteristics. Harbours provide various services from campfire sites to five-star restaurants, places to moor for the night, accommodation, showers and bathrooms, septic tank pumping stations and services to refill your galley and fuel tank. 

The diverse coastline and the changing archipelago offer experiences from day trips to travels of many months. Best of all, the Baltic Sea is connected to the world’s oceans via the Danish straits. There’s no stopping you – you can even sail to the other side of the globe. 

 A motorboat moored in shallow waters. Two people sitting on a beach behind the boat. The sky is clear.
Boating gives you the freedom to explore numerous islands off the coast.

Get started by attending a navigation course

In Finland, you may not need to own a boat to get started. You can jump into the boat of one of your friends or relatives, find companions or a ride from online discussion forums, join a yacht club or rent a boat, with or without a skipper. 

Boating requires not only well-functioning equipment, but also skills, understanding and common sense. You should always share your experiences with other sailors, try and test your skills in practice and boldly ask for help from more experienced boat owners. 

Adult education centres and yacht clubs offer navigation courses based on theory and practice to help you to better know and understand how to behave at sea, how to navigate and how to handle and manoeuvre your boat. 

Remember proper seamanship

It is always important to remember proper seamanship. Let’s respect other people, avoid accidents, look ahead and take good care of our boats, fellow travellers and sensitive nature. 

Above all, let’s greet other boaters with a hand wave. Boating at sea is our pride and joy! 

 Two people sitting at the aft. Threatening clouds approaching from the horizon.
You will experience all kinds of weather and need patience when boating.

Boating in the Åland Islands is a unique experience

The numerous beautiful bays and thousands of islands in the Åland archipelago are waiting for you. There is more than enough room for everyone, and you can usually enjoy the open sea all by yourself. Mainland Finland and Sweden are close, but far enough away that you can feel the excitement of an adventure. 

The Åland archipelago is situated in the middle of the Baltic Sea and the largest island area in the world. This one-of-a-kind setting consists of nearly 7,000 islands. Diverse nature offers experiences ranging from green inner islands to red granite islets in the outer archipelago. 

After a long trip, you can refill your stocks and energy levels in any of the various guest harbours, such as Kökar, Föglö or Eckerö. Often, there are also shops and restaurants nearby. Of course, Mariehamn has the most to offer to sailors – excellent services, various restaurants and a night life. 

Practical instructions for boating in the Åland Islands

There is room for everyone. However, steer clear of larger yachts, cruise ships and island ferries. Keep an eye out for large cargo ships, take a look around you every now and then and remember navigation channels. 

Everyman’s rights and obligations apply in the Åland Islands, with a few restrictions. The Åland Islands follow international navigation rules. However, note that speed limits are indicated in km/h. 

According to Finnish law, septic tanks cannot be pumped into the sea. It must be possible to pump septic tanks through the deck on boats navigating in the territorial waters of Finland and the Åland Islands. Most guest harbours in the Åland Islands include a septic tank pumping station. 

In the event of an accident, contact Åland Marine Rescue (Sjöräddningen) by calling +358 294 1000 or call the emergency number 112. 

 The sun setting on the horizon. The water is calm and reflects the last rays of the sun.
When the weather is good, stop to enjoy the peace and quiet.