Traffic Regulations for the Göta Canal

SJÖFS 1998:2

1. These regulations apply to vessel traffic using the Göta Canal, including the navigable routes between Mem by Slätbaken and Motala by Lake Vättern (eastern section) and between Karlsborg by Vättern and Sjötorp by Lake Vänern (western section).

2. In these regulations a Canal employee is understod to mean managing director, chief technician, foreman, Canal mechanic, and lock or bridge-keeper employed by AB Göta kanalbolag (the Canal Company).

3. The Ordinance (SFS 1986:300) which includes the International Collision Regulations applies to vessel traffic in the Canal, if utless another specific regulation is given in these traffic regulations.

Opening times

4. The Canal Company decides the times when the Canal is open to traffic. A decision on the operating times shall be notified by the Canal Company in Swedish Notices to Mariners (Ufs) and Swedish Notices to Yachtsman (Ufb) and shall be published so that the information about the operating times are well known and sufficiently distributed. 

5. The Canal Company may temporarily open and close the Canal without a decision according to paragraph 4 if it is essential for safety or other reasons. Information about such a measure shall be notified in Notices to Mariners and Notices to Yachtsman if the measure is not of short duration or otherwise has little effect on the traffic.

Size of vessels

6. Vessels with an overall length exceeding 30 metres, a height above water exceeding 22 metres, a beam exceeding 7 metres or a draught exceeding 2,82 metres must not enter the Canal without permission from the Canal Company in each specific case. Vessels with an overall length exceeding 25 metres have a duty to notify the Canal Company before entering the Canal. The Canal Company may temporarily decide to reduce the maximum allowable draught. Such a decision shall be notified in the manner it is described in paragraph 4. 

7. Where appropriate, a tonnage certificate, letter of certification, control book and insurance certificate shall be presented on request.

8. Pleasure craft may tow no more than two other pleasure craft. For any other towing operation permission must be given by the Canal Company.

Permitted speed

9. Vessels must not go faster than 5 knots in the excavated or blasted sections of the Canal.

Right of way and signals

10. A Canal employee will direct the traffic according to the prevailing traffic situation. In other cases the rules are that passenger vessels which commercially carrying passengers have right of way over other vessels. Pleasure craft shall give way to all other kinds of vessels. In Billströmmen and Spetsnäskanalen eastbound passenger vessels have right of way. 

11. The following sound signals shall be given by a vessel:

                                                      Eastbound                 Westbound

Before entering Spetsnärkanalen       –                         – – –

Before entering Billströmmen           – – .                      – –

Carl Johans slusstrappa i Berg


12. When entering a lock, the greatest care shall be taken when manoeuvring a vessel to prevent any damage to the lock gates or other vessels.

13. When entering a lock for upward lockage, one person shall be set ashore with mooring lines.

14. When entering a lock for downward lockage, the whole vessel shall be clear of the yellow mark on the side of the lock, which indicates the lock sill.

15. During lockage, a vessel shall have at least two mooring lines ashore. These lines shall be watched to prevent the vessel from drifting during the lockage. The propeller shall be stopped or adjusted to zero pitch. If possible, idling the engine shall be avoided in the locks.

16. During lockage, the crew of the lockaging vessel shall, if requested by a Canal employee, assist him and in other respects follow his instructions.

17. A vessel leaving a lock must not be set in motion until the lock gates are completely open or a signal for headway has been given by a Canal employee. The vessel shall leave the lock at its lowest possible speed.

18. A Canal employee may temporarily interrupt lockage or bridge opening during thunderstorms or when he for any other reason considers it necessary for safety reasons.

Other regulations

19. In an excavated or blasted section of the Canal, a vessel must not sail, anchor or moor. Mooring in an excavated or blasted section of the Canal is allowed only at a landing-stage or in a harbour. Passenger vessels are only allowed to turn around in lakes or in the specific areas directed by a Canal employee. The vessel shall turn around with lowest possible speed.

20. In the Canal between Lanthöjden and Tåtorp vessels should pass each other only at one of the nine passing places which have been marked with notice boards on the northern (eastern) Canal bank.

21. Advance warning of bridges and locks is given in the form of a diamond-shaped white board approximately 300 metres before a bridge or lock.

22. A vessel must not pass the red/white marker pole in front of a lock or a bridge until the lockage operation in progress has been completed or another vessel has passed the bridge. A sign or signal from a Canal employee shall be awaited before passing a marker pole.

23. When traffic signals are given by a red or green light signal or any other signals these shall be obeyed. Traffic directions by a Canal employee have priority over stipulated light and sound signals.

24. Loading and unloading of goods, and passengers boarding or disembarking a passenger vessel, are only allowed at a place directed by a Canal employee.

25. Any person who has caused a fixed or floating mark to be moved or damaged, any other Canal installation to be damaged or an accident at sea to occur, shall immediately report the occurrence to a Canal employee. The same applies to any other person using the Canal, who has observed any such incident.

26. Any person who has caused any damage such as mentioned in paragraph 25. or any person who has suffered damage shall remain at the location until a Canal employee arrives 

27. Swimming in the vicinity of bridges and lock facilities is prohibited.

Remote-controlled bridges over the Göta Canal

Bridge                                                 Controlled from  

E22-bridge, Söderköping                       Söderköping lock   
Vänneberga bridge                                Snövelstorp bridge   
Loddby bridge                                       Snövelstorp bridge        
Björnavad bridge                                   Norsholm lock   
Old E4-bridge, Norsholm                        Norsholm lock   
Malfors bridge, Ljungsbro                       Heda lock   
Ljung's W bridge                                    Ruda bridge  
Sjöbacka bridge                                     Ruda bridge
Ruda bridge                                           Ruda bridge
Sörby bridge                                          Ruda bridge
Kungs Norrby bridge                              Ruda bridge
Näs bridge                                              Ruda bridge 
Charlottenborg bridge, Motala                 R50-bridge Motala   
Karlsborg bridge                                     Forsvik lock   
Brosundet bridge                                    Forsvik lock
Vassbacken bridge                                  Stång bridge   
Jonsboda bridge                                     Stång bridge
Rotkilen bridge                                       Töreboda road bridge  
Gastorp bridge                                       Töreboda road bridge  
Lövsäng bridge                                      Töreboda  road bridge
Rogstorp bridge                                     Old E20-Bridge, Lyrestad
Lyrestad, E20-bridge                             Old E20-Bridge, Lyrestad