Ghent is a city of water thus ideal to visit by boat. You can dock in no less than five marinas, the most recent of which is the Portus Ganda.

More and more visitors are finding their way to Ghent across the water. The water is the extra authentic touch of Ghent. It runs through the entire city. 

The city’s berthing docks and yacht marinas are the perfect base for a wonderful trip along the Belfry and the beguinages, across bumpy squares and alleys and through impressive museums, spiced up with a mix of trendy design and surprising city festivals. 

Marinas and public toilets in Ghent 

If you have your own boat you can easily reach Ghent via the Lys river, the Scheldt, the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal and the Ghent-Ostend Canal. Below you can find the sailing map. 

The waterways payment receipt

Click here for the waterways payment receipt: who needs it and where is it on sale? 

Frequently asked questions about boating in Ghent

How do I reach Ghent by boat?

If you have your own boat, you can easily reach Ghent via the rivers Lys and Scheldt and the Ghent-Terneuzen and Ghent-Ostend canals. View waterway maps here. 

Please note: foreign pleasure craft need a waterway vignette to enter the waterways. 


Where am I allowed to sail in Ghent?

Boating is permitted everywhere on Ghent’s inland waterways, but boating in the (tourist) city centre is discouraged due to the commercial shipping (city tours) taking place. Moreover, there are plenty of alternative navigation routes available outside the city centre. Boating on the Lieve canal is also discouraged because this waterway is too narrow and unsafe. Only commercial shipping by the city tour boats takes place on the Lieve canal. Rafts are preferably not used on Ghent’s inland waterways. 

Non-motorised vessels (canoes, rowing boats, etc.) are allowed as indicated by the signs. 

At Hoofdbrug bridge (near the Castle of the Counts), there is a sign that says passing through is prohibited for motorised watercraft, except for commercial shipping. So no private motorised vessels are allowed to pass under this bridge. It is also forbidden to moor at the Castle of the Counts. 

Watercraft powered by human effort are allowed to navigate everywhere, but this is not advisable because of the narrow waterways and low bridges.  In addition, the operators of tourist excursion boats cannot hear the canoes, kayaks and other non-motorised vessels coming, which may lead to hazardous situation. So although it is not prohibited, it is strongly advised against. 

If you want to boat with a motorised vessel, you need to contact the Martime Police
Both the vessel and the skipper must meet a few requirements. 

For waterways outside Ghent, you must contact De Vlaamse Waterweg

Are there any marinas in Ghent?
Are there any locks in the centre of Ghent?

Yes, this way, boats can sail all the way around Ghent. 

The Scaldissluis lock 
A lockkeeper manually opens and closes the lock: 

  • Weekdays and Saturdays: open at 9 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. 
  • Sundays and public holidays: open at 1 pm and 2 pm. 

The Sint-Jorissluis lock 
The same lockkeeper also manually opens and closes this lock: 

  • Weekdays and Saturdays: open at 10 am, 2 pm and 4 pm. 
  • Sundays and public holidays: open at 2 pm and 3 pm. 

You can check the most up-to-date operating times here

Are there any slipways in Ghent?

Near the marinas at Langerbrugge and Snepdijk, boats can be launched at a slipway. 

Are water sports enthusiasts (canoe, etc.) allowed to boat on the Ghent inland waterways?

Individual water sports enthusiasts are allowed to sail on the rivers, but large groups or event organisers need to ask permission from De Vlaamse Waterweg.  

Please always sail on the right and take account of other waterway users. Never block the waterway with your boat! 

Are groups of water sports enthusiasts (canoe, etc.) allowed to boat on the Ghent inland waterways?

Individual water sports enthusiasts are allowed to sail on the rivers, but large groups or event organisers need to ask permission from De Vlaamse Waterweg. For example, large groups of water recreationists are no longer allowed during the breeding season. 


Where can I launch my canoe or kayak?

You can launch a canoe at Gentse Roei- en Sportvereniging vzw, Vissersdijk 1, 9000 Ghent. 

The safest locations to embark and disembark are the Krommewalbrug bridge and Baudelokaai quay. 

The water stairway is meant for embarking and disembarking, not for mooring. The staircase must always remain clear for other waterway users or for people who accidentally end up in the water. 

The Maritime Police regularly monitor compliance with these guidelines. 


Where can I moor my canoe or kayak?

Canoes or kayaks must not be left unattended. Otherwise, De Vlaamse Waterweg will remove these canoes and kayaks. It is therefore advisable to put a mobile phone number or telephone number of the owner on the vessel. 
You can leave your canoe or kayak in a marina. Never leave it at a water staircase or quay wall. 
Applications for this can be submitted to De Vlaamse Waterweg, but these moorings can only be authorised for events or group visits. 

Am I allowed to paddle on the Ghent inland waterways?

Paddling (Stand Up Paddle, SUP) is allowed, but you have to behave according to the shipping regulations: shipping has priority at all times. Activities on Watersportbaan are the competence of the Sports department.