Bringing a boat on a trailer to Finland

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Trailer1

The Finnish archipelago and the inland lakes are rather sheltered waters. Both the archipelago as well as the lakes are also very accessible by car. This makes them a perfect for destinations for exploring with boat on a trailer. Find out what you need to consider if you want to bring a boat on a trailer to Finland. The guidelines concern non-commercial transports, obviously you can haul bigger boats to Finland as well, but then we are mainly talking about commercial services which needs special permits etc.

Customs and insurance

When you bring your trailer into Finland, both the car pulling the trailer and the trailer must be registered and properly insured. Both need to have license plates as well as country stickers (unless there is a country identification code on the license plate). You also need to have a document to prove that you are either the owner or have the permission to use the trailer (for instance a rental agreement if the trailer is rented).

Arriving from a EEA country

Arriving with a trailer from an EU or EEA country into Finland is very straight forward. Having a Green card is good, but not mandatory. Trailers from the EEA countries can be used in Finland for up to one year so you can even leave your boat on a trailer in Finland over one winter if you want to.

Arriving from a non-EEA coutry

Bringing a trailer from outside the EU has a little bit more red tape. If you have a valid insurance from your country of origin, you must have a Green card for both the car and for the trailer. If you do not have a Green card, you can (and must) buy an insurance for the car and trailer and the border. Most non-EU trailer traffic arrives in Finland across the Russian-Finnish border where they can also do technical inspections of the car and trailer to ensure that the car follows the Finnish regulations.

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Proper loading and fastening ensure safe towing

 

Size and weight restrictions for trailers and loads

The second thing to ensure is that the trailer fulfills the technical requirements in Finland. These mainly have to do with the weight and size of the trailer and load. The weight details are a bit tricky, both the cars used for towing as well as the trailers have two distinct “weights” that need to be considered. The first weight is the maximum permitted weight (including load) by the car or trailer registration certificate. The other weight is the actual or loaded weight. In this case the weight is defined by the actual amount of load carried/pulled.

Drivers license required to tow a trailer

This article only considers the rules for non-commercial (B class) driving licenses. Below you can find the rules for the registered weight of the car and trailer combinations for the different types of driving licenses as they apply in Finland. Remember that these weights indicate are the maximum weights registered for the car and the trailer. The actual (load) weight does not matter in this case, you need the same license regardless if the trailer is empty of fully loaded.

Driving licensemax towing
vehicle weight
max total
trailer weight
(registered)
combined
max weight
(registered)
B (option 1)3500 kg < 750 kg4250 kg
B (option 2)3500 kg> 750 kg3500 kg
B963500 kg> 750 kg4250 kg
BE3500 kg3500 kg7000 kg

Actual weight restrictions

Actual car and trailer total weights obviously have to be below the registered maximum weights. The type of trailer (brakes or no brakes) as well as the type of the car (car or wan) used to tow the trailer put restrictions on maximum trailer weight.

Remember to also consider all the extra stuff that you have loaded onto the trailer (eg equipment carried in the boat etc). If you are close to the weight limits, it might make sense to find a car scale somewhere close to you and check your weights.

The size and weight limits for the actual load being towed are listed in the table below

Trailer typemax total
trailer  
weight
compared
to towing car
max total
trailer weight
if allowed by
car
 No brakes50%750 kg
 Brakes, towed by car100%3500 kg
 Brakes, towed by wan150%3500 kg

The size limits for car and trailer

The maximum height is clear, it is 4.4 meters. The width and length restrictions are a bit more complicated. The maximum width of the towing car is 2.5 m but the maximum width of the trailer and/or load is 2.6 m. Normally the load cannot be wider than the trailer, but transporting a boat is an exception and the boat can be wider than the trailer end extend beyond the widest part of the trailer.

There is also a special rule for the overall length of the car and trailer. Normally this lenght is 18,75 m but when towing a boat the maximum total length is 20 m. This includes a possible mast or similar carried on top of the boat and protruding behind it. The load can protrude 2 meter over the back end of the trailer and if it protrudes further than 1 meter, it must be market with a red flag.

A couple of examples

Below are a couple of example configurations using Citroen cars and Finnish Muuli trailers that follow all the rules.

Citroen Cactus BlueHDI 100 +
Muuli V450P

Citroen Jumpy HDi 163 +
Muuli V1650A

Cactus_red

Citroen Cactus BlueHDI 100

Jumpy

Citroen Jumpy HDi 163

Car total weight: 1610 kg Car total weight:  2805 kg
Max trailer weight, no brakes: 570 kg Max trailer weight, no brakes: 750 kg
Max trailer weight, brakes: 825 kg Max trailer weight, brakes: 2000 kg
Max weight car + trailer: 2210 kg Max weight car + trailer: 4805 kg

13_Muuli_V450P_hr_rgb

Muuli V450P

13_Muuli_V1650A_takaa_hr_rgb

Muuli V1650A

Type: without brakesType: brakes
Max load: 329 kgMax load: 1267 kg
Registered total weight: 464 kgRegistered total weight: 1650 kg

Max total weights and license needed for the car/trailer combinations

Combined max weight: 2074 kgCombined max weight: 4455 kg
Driving license: BDriving license: BE

 

Special considerations

A couple of more things to pay attention to. The first is the amount of fuel you carry with you. The boat being towed can have a full fuel tank. In addition you are allowed to separately carry at most 240 liters of spare fuel. The additional fuel must be stored in containers specifically designed for storing fuel and the maximum size of each container is 60 liters. If you carry more fuel than 240 liters or in bigger vats, the transport is considered a “dangerous transport” and requires a special permission. Note that these limits are on maximum allowed fuel, not the tax-free limit. In theory the amount of fuel you can bring is lower and you could end up paying tax for part of the fuel.

The second thing to pay attention to is that the boat must be properly fastened to the trailer. Especially if you plan on reaching some more remote destinations, the roads can at times be dirt roads which puts extra strain on your fastening system.

You will not have a problem finding trailer ramps in Finland.

You will not have a problem finding trailer ramps in Finland.

Boat ramps in Finland

To get your boat into and out of the water you obviously also need a boat ramp, also known as a slipway. The boating magazine Vene has listed over 300 boat ramps in Finland in marinas and guest harbors. The magazine kindly allowed Sail in Finland to reproduce the map. The original map of the ramps here. A warm “Thank you” to Vene-lehti for sharing this information!

As you can see from the map, there is no shortage on ramps. In addition to the listed ramps, there are also lots of smaller and unofficial ramps. To locate one of these, just ask the locals! Most of the time, the use of the ramps is free, but check first with the harbor owner. For ramps outside big cities, there is also normally free parking somewhere in the vicinity where you can leave your car. Again, check with the harbor owner/manager and they will help you. If you click on one of the map icons, the link will take you to the Vene-lehti information page (in Finnish) with some additional information on the marina or harbor.


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Images courtesy of Auto-Bon (Citroen/Finland) and Konekesko (Muuli trailers)