This week, Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Court ruled that the Sealander, a floating caravan, is allowed on Swiss waters, reported SRF.
The German-designed Sealander, a rolling-floating caravan, ran aground recently in Switzerland. A business in the town of Root in the canton of Luzern had been renting Sealanders for outings on Switzerland’s lakes for a number of years after receiving approval from the authorities to do so.
However, in 2022, a new directive issued by the Federal Office of Transport banned amphibious vehicles on Swiss lakes and rivers over fears of possible water contamination from fuel, chemicals and waste water.
The Sealander rental business in Root challenged the ban in court arguing that the business was built on the basis of the initial approval it had received and that the new rule would put the survival of the business at risk.
This week the Federal Administrative Court decided that the Sealander does not fall into the category of amphibious vehicles and so does not fall under the ban. The technical reason for the exclusion is that it does not have its own engine – the engine is a detachable outboard motor. The court also noted that the business originally received approval for the floating caravan and was built on that basis. Changing the rules after approval would be a breach of trust. The court also brushed aside environmental concerns.
The ruling means the business can continue to import, sell and rent the boaty-caravan in Switzerland. However, the decision is not yet legally binding and could be appealed to the Federal Court.
SRF article (in German)