Sailing and Boating in Hungary

Information on the boat licence and sailing permit requirements in Hungary, water rescue services and details of places to go sailing....

Hungary is a landlocked country and therefore has limited options for sailing and boating. A licence is required for all types of boating.

The Hungarian Yachting Association (HYA) (in Hungarian) is the national body that oversees sailing activities and provides information about regulations, news, events, regattas, championship ranking and clubs.

Emergency Contacts

The Water Rescue Services of Hungary (WRS) is a government authority in charge of lifeguards, event rescue support, as well as deep water rescue from lakes and rivers.

WRS can be called for help in an emergency in various ways depending on the type of craft, onboard communications and distance from the shore.

In the case of an emergency, the following channels can be used:

  • Mayday or Pan-Pan message on VHF channel 16 (frequency 156.8MHz)
  • BalaTronk radio system 3E, 13E emergency channel,
  • Mobile phone: (30) 383 8383

In all emergency situations where a boat is involved, the authorities require the following information:

  • MMSI number and vessel name
  • Position
  • The nature of the situation (for example, "rig failure")
  • What/where the caller intends to do/go next

To contact a WRS office:

  • Tel: (87) 568 168

Weather Forecasts

The Hungarian Meteorological Service provides information related to weather forecasts, for both aviation and water sports. It is also responsible for determining the status of weather warnings, if necessary. Information is available on a countrywide basis or locally, and includes temperature, wind speed and direction, water temperature, time-records for lightning and more. For Lake Balaton, forecasts include the height of waves, water temperature and wind direction.

Sailing Clubs

Most people in Hungary who sail regularly have a club membership. Membership fees, which are usually charged annually, can include boat storage, rescue cover, entry into racing events, and access to the club's facilities and social activities.

Sailing clubs and commercial sailing schools offer HYA-approved courses.


Personal Watercraft (PW) such as jet skis, Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) and powerboats can be hired and used in most areas. The exception is Lake Balaton where motorboats are not allowed.

Sailing Areas

Lake Balaton is a popular boating destination. It is 524 KmĀ² in size and has more than 100 docks. One hour from Budapest by road, it offers plenty of opportunities for windsurfing and yachting. There are boats to rent, as well as sailing and boat licence courses. During the summer, there are numerous competitions. Accommodation is also available.

There are special packages available for a weekly, monthly or an annual fee which cover rescue services, towing, recuperation of equipment dropped into the water and a significant discount for rescuing sunken vessels.

The only location for sailing in Budapest is Kopaszi Gat, a small island in the Danube. It is a favourite destination for children who want to learn how to sail and adults who want to have fun and relax.

Other destinations which offer sailing include (all websites are in Hungarian):