Inland waterway

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Inland waterways are called the waterways , i.e. navigable traffic routes, inside a land mass. This includes larger rivers and canals as well as inland lakes connected by them . As explained in the following chapter, is, inland water road 'is not synonymous with, inland nautical road'.

Inland waterway in Germany

Germany and neighboring waterways network

The German inland waterways are predominantly owned by the federal government and thus federal waterways . In addition, there are state waterways in some federal states .

The following apply under shipping law :

An inland waterway can in terms of priority use and accordingly traffic rules either an internal Maritime road be or lake nautical road. Subject to the appropriate technical requirements, inland waterway vessels may also operate on sea waterways and seagoing vessels may also operate in inland waterway routes.

The so-called inland waterway # Basics of the classification CEMT classification system was introduced in the waterways and shipping administration of the federal government on March 24, 1993 by decree of the Federal Ministry of Transport for the classification of German inland waterways. Information about the possible navigability is also provided by the Inland Waterways Regulations or the ELWIS electronic waterway information system .


See the list of navigable rivers and canals in France


Waterways within the meaning of Lithuanian inland waterway law are the Nemunas and its tributaries (such as the Neris tributary ).


Polish inland waterways

Poland's most important waterways are the Oder and Vistula . In the east there is a connection to the Dnieper-Bug Canal .


Waterways within the meaning of Austrian shipping law are the Danube (including the Danube Canal in Vienna) and its tributaries as well as the mouths of the March , Enns and Traun .


Dutch inland waterways

The Netherlands has an inland waterway network of around 6,200 kilometers in length, which mainly consists of canals.

Classification basics

The inland waterways are subdivided into classes according to the navigability of their fairway / fairway depending on the maximum size of the ships. The main dimensions of length and width are decisive here. Permissible discharge depths, height above the waterline and buoy information are basically variable (e.g. depending on the water level), but are given as an additional guide. The Europe-wide classification serves to promote a uniform inland waterway network. The classification system developed by a working group of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations (English: Economic Commission for Europe , ECE) in 1992 has been adopted by the European Conference of Transport Ministers (CEMT, hence the name CEMT classes ).

Definition of classes

class length width Draft Type
VII 285 34.20 2.50-4.50 3x3 lighter
VI c 280 22.80 2.50-4.50 3x2 lighter
VI c 195 34.20 2.50-4.50 2x3 lighter
VI b 195 22.80 2.50-4.50 2x2 lighter
VI a 110 22.80 2.50-4.50 1x2 lighter
V b 185 11.40 2.50-4.50 2x1 lighter
V a 110 11.40 2.50-4.50 Large ship on the Rhine
IV 085 09.50 2.50-3.00 European ship

Class 0

This fictitious class is used to designate unclassified waterways that are used regularly by shipping, e.g. B. by pleasure boats or excursion boats takes place.

Classes I – III

Péniche or Spits, 38.5 x 5.0 m

Regional classes for smaller barge types, defined differently in detail east and west of the Elbe. Class I – III corresponds to the Péniche or the Groß-Finow- measure, BM-500 and Gustav-Koenigs-class . Applies e.g. B. for the Saar from Saarbrücken to Sarreguemines , km 91.40 - km 64.98.

Class IV (Europawasserstraße)

Cabin passenger ship on the Maindreieck (near Würzburg )

Every canal and river that allows so-called European ships to navigate this waterway is called a European waterway. The Europaschiff is an inland waterway vessel and has a standardized size that is valid for all European waterways. The European ship has the following dimensions: length 85 m × width 9.50 m × draft 2.50 - 3.00 m.

Class Va

Inland tanker of the large Rhine ship type

Designates inland waterways that can be navigated by the so-called "Great Rhine Ship" or large motor cargo ship . The Great Rhine Ship has the dimensions: length 110 m × width 11.40 m × draft 2.50 m - 4.50 m.

Class Vb

Referred to inland waterways, of thrust associations with two barges , can be driven coupled in series. A push convoy with two barges has the following dimensions: length 172 m - 185 m × width 11.40 m × draft 2.50 - 4.50 m. This type of ship is at home on all of the aforementioned waterways except the Neckar . The Main only has Vb from its mouth to kilometer 174.20, then to 384.07 km Va, the Moselle has Vb from its mouth to the German-French border, kilometer 242.20, class Vb, the Saar from 87 km, 20 to the mouth at Conc .

Class VIa

Push ship Bratislava in push convoy with two push barges on the Danube (near Vienna)
Coupling formation with three barges, about 10,000 tons of coal

Describes inland waterways that can be navigated by push convoys coupled with two barges side by side. A pushed convoy with two barges has the following dimensions: length 110 m × width 22.80 m × draft 2.50 m - 4.50 m

Class VIb

Like class VIa, but with four, i.e. two next to each other + two in front. The dimensions can be 195 m × width 22.80 × draft 2.50 - 4.50. These types of ships are only at home on the very large inland waterways such as the Rhine , Danube , Rhone and Waal .

Class VIc

Like class VIb, but with six barges, either 3x2 or 2x3 barges. Maximum dimensions 280 m × 22.80 m, or 195 m × 34.20 m. These combinations only operate on the Middle and Lower Rhine , from Bad Salzig to the Dutch border, depending on the water level.

Class VII

Like class VIb, but with nine barges in a formation three times three, i.e. three rows of three ships next to each other. The dimensions are length 285 m × width 34.20 m × draft 2.50 - 4.50 m.

Rivers and canals with waterway class (examples)


Waters class from ... to
Danube VI below Regensburg
Danube Vb above to the Main-Danube Canal
Elbe Va from the Czech border to Wittenberge
Elbe VIb from Wittenberge to the Hamburg port area
Elbe Va below the Hamburg port area
Fulda 0 between Kassel and Hann. Münden
Lahn 0 between Wetzlar and the estuary
Main Vb in the lower part
Main Va in the upper part
Moselle Vb to the French border
Rhine VIb Basel to Bad Salzig (km 564.3)
Rhine VIc from Bad Salzig to the Dutch border
Weser VIb below Bremen
Weser IV above Bremen


Waters class from ... to
Dortmund-Ems Canal IV (partial expansion to Vb is ongoing)
Dortmund-Ems Canal Vb Port of Dortmund section - junction of the Wesel-Datteln Canal
Elbe Lateral Canal Vb
Main-Danube Canal Vb
Mittelland Canal Vb west of the Elbe Lateral Canal
Mittelland Canal IV east of the Elbe Lateral Canal (expansion to Vb in progress)
Kiel Canal VIb
Wesel-Datteln Canal Vb

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Breakdown of federal waterways:
    • Quote: Most of the inland waterways of both categories are also inland waterways. Inland waterways are maritime waterways if, like the lower reaches of the Warnow, Trave, Elbe, Weser and Ems as well as the Kiel Canal, they are mainly used for shipping. Seagoing ships also use inland waterways in so-called inland-sea traffic - insofar as their design allows this. Conversely, inland waterway vessels that meet certain requirements are allowed to travel on sea waterways.
    • List of those inland waterways on which the Sea Waterways Regulations apply