An action plan for monitoring recreational boating at the Wadden Sea

In collaboration with CELTH and numerous other parties, we work on an action plan for recreational boating at the Wadden Sea. The purpose of this plan is to encourage responsible boating behaviour. With this, nature can develop in a balanced way and there is room for recreational boating at the Wadden Sea. The research is the result of a joint cooperation between several Wadden Sea stakeholders.

As part of a large-scale integrated monitoring study, ETFI investigates recreational boating on the Dutch Wadden Sea. In the Wadden Sea region a wide variety of users can be found. However, there is known little about what these users actually do. It will be investigated which attitude they possess when being active on the Wadden Sea, how they actually behave on the Wadden Sea and how they experience the Wadden Sea.


  • The ultimate experience on the Wadden Sea consists of sailing, drying out, tides, birds and seals
  • Unique large scale analysis of radar and AIS data: insight into the actual behavior of sailors throughout the Wadden Sea area
  • If there is disturbance in the Wadden Sea area, this is caused 70% by humans and 30% by birds (predatory birds)
  • More familiarity with the locations of shellfish banks would help sailors to avoid drying out on those banks


  • Strengthening the balance between nature and recreational boating on the Wadden Sea
  • Strengthening the perception of the UNESCO World Heritage status
  • Foundation for a (responsible) increase of the number of berths in the marinas at the Wadden Sea
  • New insight into users of the Wadden Sea

The research is the first in a series of three years. The findings are from the year 2016.