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Boating Season About to Begin – Remember Sea Area Restrictions

Publication date 28.4.2021 11.38
Press release

As the boating season is about to begin, the Finnish Navy would like to remind boaters and others on the water about restricted sea areas and actions when discovering a military explosive. 

Restricted sea areas are areas in parts of Finnish territorial waters that are important for national security and for the arrangements of territorial surveillance. The boundaries of the areas have been carefully determined. Finland’s restricted sea areas are located in the Gulf of Finland and in the Archipelago Sea. The purpose of the restrictions is, in part, to ensure Finland’s territorial integrity. The restricted areas often contain military areas, which forbid entry within 100 metres. Landing is marked as forbidden by law and anchorage in these areas is restricted.

Activities requiring a permit in restricted areas

While in the restricted area and engaged in activities requiring a permit, you must have the permit issued to you by the authorities with you, as well as a form of identification, that you are required to present to authorities conducting territorial surveillance. You will still need a restricted-activities permit for the activities listed in the act, even if you have an entry permit issued for the restricted area based on the Territorial Surveillance Act. When moving in a military area, you will also need permission from the local Finnish Defence Forces brigade-level unit (equiv).

Without permission, the following activities are not allowed in a restricted area:

Scuba diving or other underwater activity which does not normally form part of navigation, for example anchoring buoys to the sea bed, laying cable, dredging and piling of the bottom soil. Snorkelling does not require a permit.

Fishing with fishing tackle dragged along the bottom or heavy tackle anchored at the bottom, such as a seine, trawl or large bow net. The restriction does not apply to angling, ice fishing, fishing with lures or with weirs, wire cages, fike nets or with nets.

- Anchoring a vessel other than a pleasure craft outside an anchorage marked on Finnish nautical charts, unless this is necessary for reasons of navigational safety, force majeure or an emergency. 

- Moving in a public water area or on ice outside a public fairway within 100 metres of land areas which are used by the Defence Forces and where landing is marked as forbidden by law.

A permit is not required for movement in a private water area or on public fairway within 100 metres of military areas in the restricted zone. An entry permit to the military area within the restricted zone allows one access inside the 100 metre zone. 

Firings at sea areas

The Finnish Defence Forces issues notices on firings at sea areas at its website and through the Finnish National Broadcasting Company, YLE. The firing notices name the areas that must not be entered during the firing exercises. The firings are constantly monitored so that bystanders do not enter the danger area by accident.

If something is observed in the firing area that does not belong there, the firing is immediately aborted. Plan your route so that you are not moving close to the danger area.

The unit responsible for the exercise will provide further information. If you have any questions, please contact the brigade-level unit (eqiv.) responsible for the exercise. 

Finding Military Explosives

If you find unexploded military explosives in bodies of water or in the archipelago, report them to the police. The police will request assistance from the Defence Forces to dispose of the military explosive.  Do not, under any circumstances, touch the suspected explosive or try to move it.