Inland navigation

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Logo. Feature : Inland navigation
One example for Feature : Inland navigation
inland navigation along rivers, canals and on lakes and other waterways.


Inland navigation explains how to add tags to waterways (rivers, canals and lakes) that are provide information about the availability of particular stretches of water for navigation purposes by various types of vessel from large ships on major waterways, to pleasure boats or other craft.



Limitations of the size or speed of vessels using the waterway at a particular point.

  • maxheight=* is used to mark headroom or clearance under a bridge, tunnel or other obstruction that limits the available height. The maxheight tag is normally applied to a node on the lower way or on the way itself. The tag is not used on the bridge, but on the waterway that passes under the bridge.
  • maxwidth=* maximum width for a vessel to pass.
  • maxlength=* maximum length for a vessel to pass the obstacle.
  • maxdraft=* maximum permitted vessel draft.
  • maxairdraft=* maximum permitted vessel height AWL.
  • maxspeed=* speed limit on the waterway. km/h assumed.
    Add ' knots' to the value if this is the unit used, for example maxspeed=10 knots


  • disused=yes marks obstacles which are not available for use. They may later be reopened or may be permanently unavailable. For long terms, e.g. locks under repair.
  • opening_hours=* opening hours of locks, lifts or draw brides. e.g. Apr-Sep: 9:00-18:00. Outside of these times navigation will not be possible.
  • website=* URL of the website of locks, lifts etc.
  • email=* email address to contact personnel of a lock, opening bridge etc.
  • phone=* phone number to personnel.
  • fax=* fax number to contact personnel.
  • vhf_channel=* VHF channel to contact personnel by radio.
  • vhf_mmsi=* MMSI number to contact personnel by radio.


Inland waterways are navigable if one of these tags are used:

Navigable waterways are rendered in dark green on the map.

An other example: Navigable Waterways, Europe


Locks are an important potential obstacle on waterways, especially regarding opening times. They should be tagged as describe in lock=*. The above tags as applicable are tagged one the way between the lock gates waterway=lock_gate.

Lift gates should be tagged as a bridge with maxheight=* at the node of the lock gate, as the reference level refers to the waterway in front or behind the gates, while the level of the lock basin itself varies.


see OpenSeaMap/Bridges


The use of the following tags has been suggested or trialed. Status is not currently known. All measurements are in meters unless otherwise stated in the value.

  • maxdraft=* or maxdraught=* maximum draught of a water-borne craft that is suitable or allowed.
  • maxairdraft=* maximum permitted vessel height AWL.
  • maxclosedheight=* headroom or clearance when a feature (such as a swing-bridge) is closed.
  • maxheight_referencelevel=* water reverence level of the waterway.
  • maxsideheight=* headroom or clearance at the lowest part of the fairway (for example at the sides of channel under an arched bridge.
  • passage_time=* usual time needed to pass through a lock or similar.
  • CEMT=* European standard for sizes of vessels that can use a waterway.
  • waterway=milestone Waterway distance milestones should be set at full kilometers as described in DE:key:waterway. They should be tagged at obstacles too, because their position is mostly exactly known, while the full kilometers will be rather inaccurate, even if marked by a sign on the riverbank.

See Also