Dive Switzerland

Swiss law concerning scuba diving

The articles below are freely translated from the Swiss Order on interior navigation from 8th November 1978 (standing on 12th February 2019). The translation may not to be "legally accurate" but gives a general idea. The original text can be found in French, German, and Italian on the Swiss governement website.

Art. 20 Signs, flags and balloons

1 Signs, flags and balloons prescribed are positioned in such a way that they are well visible. Their colour must be easily recognisable. Signs and flags must have a height and width of at least 60 cm. Balloons must have a diameter of at least 30 cm.

2 Balloons can be replaced by devices of similar appearance, excluding any confusion.

Art. 32 Signalling during scuba diving

1 When scuba diving from the shore, a sign reproducing the letter "A" from the International Code of Signals (flag in the shape of a two-point handelbar whose half on the pole side is white and the other half is blue) must be hoisted.

2 When scuba diving from a boat, the sign endorsed in paragraph 1 must be on the boat and visible from all sides.

3 At night and on overcast days, the sign endorsed in paragraphs 1 and 2 must be effectively lit.

Art. 49 Behaviour towards scuba divers

Any boat keeps a distance of at least 50 m from the boats or locations on land signaled in conformity with art. 32.

Art. 54a Use of underwater scooters

1 Underwater scooters can only be used to move under the water surface. Their use on the surface is permitted only for rescue puproses or, over short distances, to enter and exit the water.

2 The use of underwater scooters is exclusively reserved to scuba divers who:

  1. are members of an authority, the police, the army or a rescue service;
  2. are using them for commercial purposes; or
  3. are using them during research activities.

Art. 77 Swimming and scuba diving

1 Swimming is prohibited in a 100 m radius around harbour entrances and passanger boat landing stages located outside of the zones authorised by the authorities and signalled as such. The same applies for other harbour entries if the navigation is hold up as a result.

2 It is prohibited to come close to moving boats or to catch hold of them if not allowed to.

3 Scuba diving is prohibited:

  1. on the trajectory of boats on regular shipping service;
  2. in narrow ways;
  3. at harbour entrances and in their proximity;
  4. in proximity to officially authorised mooring spots;
  5. in a 100 m radius around landing stages authorised by the authorities for boats on regular shipping service.