In order to sail on the Flemish navigable waterways, certain vessels need a waterway permit.

You can apply for a waterway permit covering a single day, a few days or months, or a full year. This leaves you free to choose the day your waterway permit’s validity starts and the period it covers. This flexibility is not only a major advantage for the people with boats on trailers, this also offers greater freedom to 
foreigners and other visitors when planning a sailing holiday on the Flemish waterways. 

The waterway permit is a digital permit. After all, De Vlaamse Waterweg nv is continuing to strive for 'paperless sailing'. This is not only good for the environment; it is also more efficient.  

To promote sailing, we decided to require a valid waterway permit regardless of whether the vessel is moored (e.g. in a marina or at a berth along the waterway) or sailing. 

There are two instructional videos available below, the first shows how to create the account, the second describes purchasing the permit.


For which vessels?

The waterway permit applies to vessels that: 

  • are suitable for the carriage of passengers but without pursuit of a profitable purpose (i.e. no passenger transport for remuneration);
  • exceed 6 meters and/or sail faster than 20 km per hour;
  • are sailing on or are moored on a berth, with or without permit or concession, on navigable waterways in the Flemish Region.
    (You do not need a waterway permit on the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal, the Bruges-Zeebrugge Canal, the Grensleie, the Common Meuse, the Lower Sea Scheldt and the Scheldt-Rhine link).

Attention! Every vessel moored on the network is also required to have a valid waterway permit, even if it does not sail. 

How much does a waterway permit cost?

The amount you have to pay is calculated based on five daily rates. These daily rates depend on the method of purchase, i.e. over the counter or online.


Daily rate:

Day 1

Daily rate:

Day 2 to 7

Daily rate:

Day 8 to 30

Daily rate:

Day 31 to 90

Daily rate:

Day 91 to 365

Rates (€/m/day)







Rates (€/m/day)

Online purchase






The amount due is calculated in euro, based on the hull length of the vessel in metres (to 2 decimal points, i.e. down to centimetres), the number of days and the speed of the vessel. For a vessel that is capable of sailing faster than 20 km/h, a theoretical 6 meters is added to the hull length during permit application.

Example: 10.00 m vessel, 80-day permit, no fast shipping, online purchase:
10 * (1 * "daily rate 1 day" + 6 * "daily rate 2-7 days" + 23 * "daily rate 8-30 days" + 50 * "daily rate 31-90 days")
= 10.00 * (1 * 1.5000 + 6 * 0.5 + 23 * 0.1667 + 50 * 0.0556)
= €111.14

The rate for a one-year permit is €14.73 (incl. VAT) per meter.

When can I request my waterway permit and when is it compulsory?

You can apply digitally for your new digital waterway permit. You can set the start and end date of your permit’s validity yourself.

Every vessel, sailing or moored on the network, must have a valid waterway permit. De Vlaamse Waterweg nv will check this on the waterways, in the marinas and during passage through movable bridges and locks.

If a vessel does not have the correct waterway license (no license, an expired license, incorrect length, no fast-sailing option, etc.), a forfeit fee will be charged that is equivalent to twice the regular cost of a permit for 365 days according to the hull length and speed of the vessel in question, subject to a minimum amount of EUR 250, plus the administration costs for collecting the lump sum payment itself. Payment of this forfeit fee exempts the owner from purchasing a waterway permit for 365 days.

How to apply?

Online (rates "online puchase")


With the online application you can choose between payment with a payment card, a bank app or by bank transfer. The waterway permit is only valid after receipt of payment. So pay attention if you choose to pay by bank transfer, because the transaction can take several days. The waterways license is only valid after receipt of the payment, even if the waterways license was requested for an earlier date.


Telephone ticket booth ("booth" rate)

If you prefer, you can apply for and purchase your waterway permit through the ticket booth.

For the safety of our customers as well as our staff, De Vlaamse Waterweg nv has decided not to physically reopen the ticket booths for waterway permits. However, you can still count on our help. You can apply for your waterway permit by calling +32 (0) 11 27 99 03.

The telephone ticket booth is only accessible for actually purchasing your waterway permit. If you only want information or wish to report a problem, you can contact RIS via ris@vlaamsewaterweg.be.

Telephone ticket booth opening hours: every day (including weekends) up to 12:00 and after 17:00.

An employee will be ready to help you, and he or she will apply for your waterway permit digitally for you.


  • If you apply through the telephone ticket booth, the applicable prices for your waterway permit are higher than the rates for an online application (see the table above).
  • Due to administrative processing requirements, the start date of a waterway permit purchased from the telephone ticket booth can be at least 2 calendar days after the application by phone

In this case, the payment will have to be made by a bank transfer, after receipt of the request for payment by email. The waterway permit is only valid after receipt of payment, even if the waterway permit was applied for at an earlier date.

To make sure everything runs smoothly and to limit the waiting times for your fellow water recreationists, please keep the following information at hand when you call us

registratie visuris














Aanvraag waterwegenvergunning Engels




















How can I purchase a new waterway permit or extend my current waterway permit?

If your vessel already has a waterway license (or has had one in the past), you can easily purchase a new license, which may or may not match the end date of the previous waterway license.

To do this, log in to VisuRIS and then click on "My RIS" and "My waterway permits". Click on the waterway permit of the vessel for which you wish to purchase or renew a new one and choose "New permit" under "More details". In this way, VisuRIS automatically fills in the data from the previous waterway permit for you. Don't forget to check all data again, and indicate the start and end date of the new waterway license. 
The new waterway permit always starts in the tariff of day 1 (see prices above), even if the start date of the new permit is the same as the end date of the old permit.


Do you have any questions about the waterway permit or are you experiencing problems with the online application? If so, we will be happy to assist you.