Despite of the general principle of free public access, some restrictions to movement apply even in Finland.
Diving (or swimming for that matter) is not allowed in harbour areas without a special permission of a harbourmaster.
Landing on bird nesting islands is not allowed during the breeding season.
Grey seal protection areas
With a total area of 192 sq.km of state-owned marine areas, seven protected areas were established in 2001 by a statute to protect the grey seals and their habitats.
All movement is forbidden year round inside an area of half a sea-mile from any island, rock or skerry marked on a map of a protected area. From 16. June through to 31. January movement in other parts of a protected area is allowed, but during 1. February - 15. June a special permit is required.
Using any official sea-lanes marked on the map is always allowed, even when they go through a protection area.
More information can be found on internet address www.metsa.fi/sivustot/metsa/en/NaturalHeritage/ProtectedAreas/SealReserves/Sivut/SealReservesHelpSustainSealPopulations.aspx.
Under the Act on Territorial Surveillance, Section 17, the following activities are not allowed without permission within a restricted area:
- Scuba diving or underwater activity that normally is not included in navigation such as, for instance, the anchoring of buoys at the bottom, dredging and piling of bottom material, lowering of cables.
- Fishing without permission with fishing tackle dragged along the bottom or with heavy tackle anchored at the bottom, such as seine, trawl or large bow net.
- Anchoring other than pleasure craft outside anchorages marked on the Finnish sea charts unless necessary due to navigational safety, force majeure or an emergency situation. A pleasure craft means a vessel with an overall length (LOA) under 24 metres, intended for use in sport and recreation.
- Movement in a public water area outside public fairways 100 m closer to such land areas used by the Finnish Defence Forces at which landing, based on law, has been marked as prohibited. The regulation governs movement on ice as well. Movement in a private water area or a marked fairway running closer than 100 metres to the above military areas is not subject to permission. A permit granted to enter into a military area within a restricted area gives the right to move within the above100-metre zone.
When engaged in an activity subject to permission in a restricted area, the person in question must carry a permit issued by the supervisory authority and an identity card, which he or she is obliged to present, on request, to the territorial supervisory authority in the supervising function.
Under the Act on Territorial Surveillance, the territorial supervisory authority has the right to give, if necessary, admonitions, warnings and orders to the person who violates or runs the risk of violating this law or the rules and regulations given based on it.
More information, application forms etc. can be found on internet address www.mil.fi/merivoimat/esikunta/suoja_index.dsp.