Protected areas in South-Estonia allow now motor vehicles on water bodies for longer period


Margit Turb vana

Movement authorization on the protected areas of South-Estonia water bodies can be applied for 5 years since 2018.

Environmental Board Senior Nature Conservation Specialist Kaili Viilma: „This amendment will decrease the number of permit applicants and also the work load of the Environmental Board specialists. Rules and regulations about driving on the protected areas water bodies are sufficiently precise and avoid any possible damage to the environment. Therefore all the general terms are now included in the application form.“

Water vehicle movement authorization can be applied for 5 years to drive on the water bodies of Jõgeva, Viljandi, Tartu, Põlva, Valga and Võru counties.

Consent from the Environmental Board is not neccessay for the water bodies outside protected areas, Lahepera river and navigable water bodies such as Lake Peipus, Võrtsjärv and Emajõgi. However there are water bodies on certain protected areas where driving with motor vehicles is completely forbidden, which is why Environmental Board does not issue permits to those areas.

Water vehicles with internal combustion engine are not allowed on the lakes covering less than 100 ha and on the rivers where the width is below 10 meters. This restriction is not applied for the electric motors.

Floating structures with any motor are forbidden based on the protection regulations, for example  on Endla river (Endla Nature Reserve), Kuningvere and Alatskivi Landscape Conservation Area, Ähijärve in Karula National Park, Koosa lake in Peipsiveere Nature Reserve and on the lakes of Vooremaa Landscape Conservation Area, excluding Saadjärv.

„Please keep in mind that using motor vehicle is disturbing the nature and therefore one should always prefer movement without motor – this allows you to better see, hear and explore what is going on in the nature,“ explained Kaili Viilma

Application using motor vehicle on the water bodies in the protected areas should be sent either by post to any Environmental Board office or sent by e- mail and digitally signed to

Additional information: tel +372 7302 240 or e-mail