New navigation rules for the Wadden Sea – Updated kite zones now valid

The latest regulation for the North Sea now regulates where kiters, wingsurfers and windsurfers are allowed to practice their sports – and where not.

In April the Federal Ministry of Transport published the new North Sea navigation regulations, which come into force immediately.

This regulation came after a long process of amendment and has met with mixed response due to the treatment of various water sports.

The discussion about the amendment of the “Ordinance on the use of federal waterways in national parks in the North Sea area” (NordSBefV for short) lasted for many years and involved politicians, nature conservation organizations and representatives of water sports enthusiasts.


During this time kiters were worried about their spots. The main problem was that water sports such as kite surfing should generally be banned in the Wadden Sea National Park and would only be allowed in special zones. This led to widespread opposition, which was ultimately unsuccessful, as the new regulation shows. Although the general ban could not be averted, partial success was still achieved, especially for kiters and wingers.

The new regulation defines a total of 52 zones in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony in which kitesurfing is permitted. Eleen Rauterberg, who played a key role in the negotiations, emphasized the importance of planning security and that the defined zones apply for the next ten years. Nevertheless, some questions remain unanswered, particularly regarding the marking of the zones by buoys and the different regulations between the two federal states.

Interestingly, the regulation only mentions kitesurfing and wingsurfing, while windsurfing remains unmentioned. This has led to confusion as it is not clear what regulations apply to windsurfers. However, wording in the regulation could potentially also affect windsurfers, as they could be considered a similar sport.

Overall, the new regulation ensures clear regulation of the kite zones in the Wadden Sea, while some questions regarding the treatment of different water sports still need to be clarified.


Wadden Sea Regulation for Download