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Roadstead in front of Surabaya
Roadstead in front of Falmouth (Cornwall)

The roadstead is an anchorage in front of a harbor or the mouth of a waterway where ships can wait.


The word roadstead goes back to the rēde or reide ("anchorage"), which was adopted in the written German language from Middle Low German in the 17th century . Compare with the Dutch ree (older form: reede ) and the Swedish redd . The further origin of the name of the anchorage is unclear. On the one hand, roadstead in the sense of “place where the ships are equipped” can belong to the clan of the Middle Low German [ge] rēde or rēden for “ready, prepare, [equip]”. On the other hand, roadstead in the sense of “place where ships ride the waves in front of the harbor” can belong to the verb ride .

Roads on rivers (for example the Rhine ) are located above or below certain port entrances, sometimes up to 5 km away. Ships wait here to enter the port , canal or river. Other ships are emptied here (their cargo transferred to smaller ships). In some cases, e.g. B. during an economic crisis , but they also wait indefinitely for roadstead for cargo or orders. Then there is only a reduced crew on board, which maintains an emergency operation in order to keep the ship in readiness for navigation.

In front of the island of Helgoland , the seaside resort ships remain “in the roadstead”, and the passengers are brought to the island from there by boat .

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Art. 12, roads that lie outside the territorial waters can be included in them. This is the case in German waters at the Tiefwasserreede around 30 kilometers west of Helgoland, where the lightship Amrumbank was previously located, although this area is already outside the 12-mile zone (territorial sea).

Ships are also in the roadstead when the port is (still) occupied. Then, as in front of a lock , a waiting position is taken outside the fairway .

Web links

Commons : Roadsteads  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Roadstead  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. DUDEN, Volume 7, Dictionary of Origin. The Etymology of the German Language, Mannheim 1963