Guidelines for Rhine Swimmers

The watertight swimming bag was developed so that you can discover or rediscover the joy of swimming in moving water. You can put your dry clothes in the bag and conveniently take them with you as you are swimming downstream. The bag’s bright colors make it easier for people on ships, boats and smaller watercrafts to see you. Please note that only experienced swimmers who are also able to dive should swim in the Rhine. It is not enough to be able to just float downstream.


Here are a few important rules for swimming in the Rhine:

  • Don’t swim immediately after a meal and never swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Don’t swim alone
  • The use of inflatable swimming aids such as tubes, air matrasses and swimmies is not allowed
  • The watertight swimming bag is not a swimming aid and should not be tied around the body or to one’s arms and legs
  • Check the water temperature – Information at:

    • Rheinbad St. Johann: Phone 061 322 04 42
    • Rheinbad Breite: Phone 061 311 25 75
    • Radio Basilisk: 12o’ clock news

  • Choose the distance you want to swim according to the water temperature
  • Pay attention to the water levels – the current can change completely when water levels are high 
  • Information about water quality can be found at: 
  • Don’t ever jump into the Rhine – always enter the water carefully from the bank
  • The area close to the bank in Kleinbasel is best suited for swimming
  • Stay calm if you miss the place where you wanted to get out of the water and swim to the next bank calmly
  • Look repeatedly upriver and check for approaching ships – empty ships usually travel downriver and are very quiet, sit higher up in the water and are difficult to steer
  • Pay close attention to the bridge piers and to the eddies forming behind them – the turbulences are dangerous
  • Always swim downriver past the fishing weirs – dangerous debris can collect in the fishing weirs (this poses a risk of injury!)
  • Swimming in the Rhine ports and close to the hydroelectric power plants is prohibited
  • Jumping from the any of the bridges is prohibited
  • When the Rhine reaches flood levels, ships sometimes use the weaker current in Kleinbasel, and don’t go through the marked arches of the bridge – be careful – ships may unexpectedly appear behind you
  • Keep your distance when swimming past a ship and never swim near the turbulences behind a ship – you could get caught in the ship’s propeller.
  • Please pay attention to the markings for ships on the bridges’ arches – don’t swim in the navigation channel
  • Docks for ships and ferries are not to be used by swimmers