Pontoon sports

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The Pontoniersport is a traditional water sport of Switzerland . He is supported by the Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS). In this sport is mainly engaged in ferrying boats and Weidlingen rowing on rivers and lakes and goaded. In addition to strength, this sport also requires a great deal of knowledge about the element of water. In contrast to driving on the water , not only short times are expected of the competitors in pontooning, but also - as training for bridge building - enormous precision when driving.

The term comes from the pontoons , those hollow ship bodies used to build mostly makeshift bridges. There is a connection between the pontooning driving clubs (also pontooning sports clubs) and the pontooning in the military sector.


The pontoon sport is operated in pontoon driving clubs. They usually train two to three times a week in summer and once a week in winter. In summer, water driving is practiced on or on a river ( Rhine , Aare , Limmat , Reuss and occasionally also on the Rhone ), whereas in winter you can practice precision, endurance or swimming in the hall. In Switzerland there are a total of 41 clubs (as of 2006) that belong to the Swiss Pontoon Sports Association.


Around four Swiss races are held every year. In addition, various small races and special competitions are held. The competition course can be compared to an obstacle course on the water. It is about completing various parts of the exercise as quickly and precisely as possible and with perfect style.

Every year there is a Swiss championship and a Swiss championship for young pontooners. A federal meeting takes place every three years . The other competitions are not timed.

Individual competition

In individual races, the aim is to achieve as many points as possible as a pair of drivers. The competition elements in this area are:

  • Spike ride; The aim here is to cover a certain distance as quickly as possible against the current.
  • Descent below a "pole" or a "marked rock"
  • Driving into the "bridge line" (skill), (also called "anchor line"; this element does not apply to young pontooners). When entering the “bridge line”, you have to reverse the passage between two posts (instead of bridge piers).
  • Passage between marked bridge piers
  • Landing on a specific target
  • Landing on the highest target (land as high as possible on the opposite bank)
  • Certain objects have to be driven under time pressure, whereby the time is converted into a number of points.

Section competition

The section competition is about driving a course as perfectly as possible as a club or a group of a club with several transfer boats. In addition, everything has to be carried out at the same rate, with the same distances between the boats and with four instead of two people per boat (the driver pairs change while driving). The individual competition elements include:

  • Joint spike trip (half the length of the ship)
  • Crossing in line
  • Landing in line
  • Incidentally, the same competition elements are available as in individual driving

Special competitions

In addition to the competitions on the water, there are also competitions next to the water or in the water

  • Swim; swim a certain distance in the indoor pool, outdoor pool or river (freestyle)
  • Single cords; Course consisting of objects to which a specific knot must be attached. Alone against time.
  • Lacing an object; Creating a sniffing object in a group of three men on time and without errors.
  • Boat ferry construction; Creating a boat ferry across a river in a group of nine men on time and without errors.

Club life

Young pontoons

Every year there is a pontoon camp for young people in Einigen (BE) on Lake Thun. There they learn how to row , spike , how to drive a motorboat, swim, lacing , first aid, etc. At the age of 16, you are admitted to the motorboat preparatory course, and at 18 you can take the motorboat test. If successful, you will receive a military skipper's license , which you can convert to a civilian one at the Road Traffic Office (shipping) for an additional charge.

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