As a canal pilot , referred to cooperative freelancers the pilotage duties on the Kiel Canal meet. The approximately 300 canal pilots are organized in two pilot brotherhoods , one of which, the pilot brotherhood of the Kiel Canal I with 140 employees (std 2017), in Brunsbüttel and the other, the pilot brotherhood of the Kiel Canal II, Kiel, Lübeck, Flensburg, is stationed in Kiel-Holtenau . Both are subordinate to the North branch of the General Directorate for Waterways and Shipping in Kiel .
Pilots on the Kiel Canal
With over 32,000 ships passing through the locks in Brunsbüttel and Kiel-Holtenau every year, the Kiel Canal is the busiest canal in the world. Ships over a certain size are obliged to take a pilot on board on this shipping route .
Until 1922 the pilotage on the "Kaiser Wilhelm Canal", as the waterway was called at that time, was organized by the state and the pilots were civil servants. Nowadays the canal pilots are self-employed and organize themselves in so-called pilot brotherhoods. A prerequisite for joining a pilot brotherhood is in principle years of professional experience as a sea officer. Applicants must also be able to show a master's license or have an equivalent qualification from one of the EU member states . The training course for aspiring sea pilots is completed with the respective pilot association. This course was introduced in 2008 and shortened the training time to become a canal pilot on the Kiel Canal from the previous two years to half a year. The gross income depends on the number of pilot assignments. In 2009 it was an average of € 8,500 gross monthly with a weekly working time of 60 to 70 hours. The Maritime Pilot Act stipulates that canal pilots retire at the age of 65. Currently around 10% of the Kiel Canal pilots retire annually.
In addition to the canal pilots, who have an advisory role to the captain on board, the ships in Brunsbüttel and Holtenau also take canal helmsmen on board, who take over the helm during the passage of the Kiel Canal on the ship. Just like the canal pilots, the canal controllers are changed at the pilot transfer point in the middle of the route.
Pilot transfer point
Halfway along the route, at canal kilometer 55, is the pilot relocation point, the joint station for the canal pilots of the Kiel and Brunsbüttel brotherhoods. The facility consists of a waiting hall, a common room, a control center with radio and radar and a dock. Here, the pilots on the passing ships take turns in a flying change during the journey. For this purpose, a pilot boat drives up to the moving ship and hands over a new pilot, who goes on board via a rope ladder, a so-called pilot ladder . The previous pilot then disembarked and was brought ashore in the pilot boat.
The pilot transfer station used to be in Nübbel . Today it is located on the other side of the canal in Rüsterbergen. In the garden of the pilot station, between the building and the canal, a memorial stone has been erected to commemorate the canal pilots who died in World War II.
The General Pilot Ordinance (ALV) defines seven pilot areas on the waterways and sea areas of the Federal Republic of Germany . Two of these are on the Kiel Canal. The sea pilot area Kiel Canal 1 (NOK 1) extends from Brunsbüttel to canal kilometer 55. The sea pilot area NOK 2 extends from here to the Kiel Fjord . A total of 300 canal pilots are organized in the two pilot brotherhoods that cover the two areas. Each of the two brotherhoods is headed by a so-called "elder man" who is elected by the respective brotherhood. The older men represent their respective brotherhood in the Federal Chamber of Pilots .
The pilots of the Lotsenbrüderschaft Nord-Ostsee-Kanal I are stationed in Brunsbüttel. Since the state organization of pilotage ceased to exist in 1922, the canal pilots have been organized as independent freelancers on a cooperative basis. This applies equally to social and health issues. The model for this was the self-organization of the Elbe Pilots' Association . The canal pilots of the Kiel Canal I Pilots Brotherhood take over the ships when entering the Kiel Canal from the Elbe pilots, who are responsible for the approach from the German Bight or across the Elbe from Hamburg .
The Pilot Brotherhood of the Kiel Canal II, Kiel, Lübeck, Flensburg is located in Kiel-Holtenau. In addition to the eastern section of the Kiel Canal , their area of operation also includes the pilot districts in the Kiel Fjord , on the Trave and in the Flensburg Fjord , where this pilot brotherhood is also responsible for more than 15,000 additional ship passages. Around 180 canal pilots are organized as members in the Kiel, Lübeck and Flensburg pilot brotherhood, making it the second strongest German pilot association after the Elbe pilots. In 1922, it was the first pilot brotherhood to require a captain's license as a prerequisite for membership.
The members of both pilot brotherhoods founded two pilot choirs independently of one another in the course of a few years. The choir of the Brunsbüttler pilots was named after a nautical signal device, the rigging . The pilots of NOK 2 founded a choir in Kiel-Holtenau that named itself after a fish that makes strange noises when it is pulled ashore: gurnard .
Pilot choir "riggers"
The Lotsenchor der Brunsbüttler Lotsen was founded in February 1919, when shipping traffic on the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal at that time was severely restricted due to icing and drifting ice. "Takelure" was founded on February 18, 1919, initially as a quartet in the then base of the pilots, the hotel "Zur Kanalmünd". The “Gesangverein der Lotsenbrüderschaft NOK I zu Brunsbüttel-Koog Takelure”, as the full name of the choir is, initially interpreted folk songs and hits until shanties were added to the repertoire in the 1960s .
Pilot choir "Knurrhahn"
The pilot brothers of the NOK 2 founded their pilot choir "Knurrhahn" in the waiting hall of the lock in Kiel-Holtenau in 1929, also during a harsh winter that restricted shipping. The full name of the choir is “Lotsengesangverein Knurrhahn von 1929 e. V. ". In 1932, under the direction of Klaus Prigge, the "Knurrhahn", an annotated collection of songs by the Holtenau pilot choir, was published. Many shanties that are still known today, such as Hamborger Veermaster or Rolling Home, found their way into this popular collection at the time.
- Website of the Pilot Brotherhood NOK 1 (Brunsbüttel)
- Website of the Pilot Brotherhood NOK 2 (Kiel-Holtenau)
- Spiegel report on the canal pilots 09.2015
- Article about the NOK pilot association in the Westfälische Nachrichten 05.2014
- Article about the canal pilots in the Verkehrsrundschau 02.2009
- report in the Norddeutsche Rundschau 12.2013
- Ordinance on the maritime pilot areas, pdf from Juris
- Website of the Lotsengesangverein Knurrhahn
- Jochen Wiegandt : Do you sing in Hamburg? From the Tüdelband to the Veermaster. edel: Books Verlag, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 978-3-8419-0195-8 , p. 104 and p. 176–181