Water police

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The water protection police (abbreviation WSP or WaPo ) is an organizational unit of the state police in Germany, which is responsible for compliance with sea and inland waterway regulations , security in the area of shipping , environmental protection and, depending on the country, border police measures.

The Mayor Weichmann police boat ( Fassmer FPB 29 model ) of the Hamburg water police

It is not to be confused with the Coast Guard and Maritime Police .

Material responsibility / tasks

In addition to the general police duties, the waterway police on the federal and state waterways as well as in the ports are responsible for the enforcement duties of the shipping police.

The enforcement duties of the shipping police include:

  • Recognizing dangers to shipping and taking measures to avert them that cannot be postponed.
  • Compliance with regulations serving the safety and ease of shipping, e.g. B. the behavior in traffic, the equipment, the crew and the manning, the operation and marking of the watercraft and floating facilities.
  • Review of the ship's papers and certificates of qualification of the skippers, crews, raft drivers, ferry drivers and pilots on the watercraft.
  • When handling incoming ships in the seaports, the waterway police also act as the representative of the immigration authorities . So z. B. for foreign seafarers who are subject to the visa requirement, locally and temporally limited visas issued, the so-called shore permits .
  • The function of the water police as the executive body of the environmental authorities is also becoming increasingly important. This includes, above all, the monitoring of the international maritime environmental agreement ( MARPOL ). For this purpose, the individual water protection police usually maintain their own specially trained departments (groups), which are particularly technically trained and are often recruited from technical sea professions (e.g. machinists).

Local responsibilities

All state police forces, with the exception of Thuringia, maintain a water police whose local jurisdiction is usually limited to navigable waterways and the adjacent bank, locks and port facilities. The area of ​​responsibility of the water police in the German coastal states also regularly includes the German territorial sea up to the 12 nautical mile limit. Outside this area, the federal coast guard , consisting of the federal police , federal waterways and shipping administration , federal agency for agriculture and food and customs, is locally responsible for water protection police measures. The WSP control center in Cuxhaven was set up in 2002 to coordinate larger water protection police situations in the German coastal sea.


In Baden-Wuerttemberg , the police headquarters are responsible as the highest authority with the water police in Bruchsal for all service areas of the water police stations. These 14 stations in Friedrichshafen , Gambsheim (France), Heidelberg , Heilbronn , Karlsruhe , Kehl , Langenargen , Konstanz , Mannheim , Mannheim-Rheinauhafen, Reichenau (island) , Stuttgart , Überlingen and Vogelgrun (France) observe the Neckar and sections of Lake Constance and of the Rhine .


In Bavaria, the "Wasserschutzpolizei-Zentralstelle" exercises technical supervision in the context of the performance of water protection police tasks. It reports directly to the Central Franconia Police Headquarters and is based in Schwabach . This authority issues guidelines for the implementation of the water police enforcement service and coordinates duty and patrol planning on inland waterways. The individual water protection police tasks are carried out by the water protection police stations or groups on the federal waterways and the police inspections with water protection police tasks on the larger lakes and the Bavarian part of Lake Constance.

There are “real” water police groups at the offices along the inland waterways

In addition, officers from other police inspections are deployed to carry out water protection police tasks on the larger Bavarian lakes. The responsibilities here are as follows:

Middle Franconia

Upper Bavaria



The Bremen water police is responsible for water police tasks and the enforcement of the shipping police on the Weser . The Water Protection and Traffic Police Directorate, D WV, has three offices, in the Vahr , in the Doventor ( Bremen ) and at the container terminal in Bremerhaven . The tasks of the WSP include deployment and patrols , crime control , transport of dangerous goods monitoring , environmental protection , maritime security, prevention and contact service in the recreational marine environment .

Until 2011, the WSP Bremen was also entrusted with the police control of cross-border traffic in the seaports of Bremen and Bremerhaven. On January 1, 2012, the task was handed over to the Federal Police at the instigation of the police command. The Lower Saxony water police has been responsible for the section from Bremen to Bremerhaven since 2003 . The last Bremen coastal patrol boat , the Bremen 3 , was sold to a Dutch ship dealer in April 2012. Since then, the Bremen water police have been at sea in cooperation with the Lower Saxony WSP with the Lower Saxony coastal patrol boat WSP 3 and on the river with the two long- distance boats Visura and Lesmona .

For the area of ​​the city of Bremen, the WSP Bremen - currently still - also maintains the combined service boat "Bremen 1" for the police and the Bremen fire brigade . The handover of the boat to the Bremen fire brigade is scheduled for January 2019.

In 2005 the water police were merged with the traffic police. Over 270 officials were employed in this directorate.

At the beginning of 2016, the water protection and traffic police directorate was split up into a water police directorate - now headquartered in Bremerhaven - and a traffic police directorate - based in Bremen .

In August 2017 - as part of "Reform 2600" - the Water Police Department became Department E2 - Water Police - the new Bremen Police Department , in which the former departments of the riot police, protection police, traffic police and water protection police have been combined.

In 2011, the Bremen water protection police repeatedly took part in a rubber dinghy safety training by Greenpeace , while the water protection police of Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Hamburg refuse to cooperate.


4. Water police station of the Hamburg police in Cuxhaven

There is also a special feature on the Elbe : On the Elbe sections that belong to Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein below the lock and the Geesthacht barrage to the mouth near Cuxhaven , the tasks of the water police are uniformly carried out by the Hamburg water police. The WSP Hamburg maintains a water protection police station (WSPR 4) in Cuxhaven (Lower Saxony) for this purpose.

The Hamburg waterway police are also responsible on land (traffic, criminal offenses, administrative offenses, etc.). She entertains u. a. three water protection police commissioners (WSPK), WSPK 1 in Hamburg-Waltershof, WSPK 2 in Hamburg-Steinwerder and WSPK 3 in Hamburg-Harburg. The WSP u. a. Transport of dangerous goods and waste. The WSP's emergency train is also used for demonstrations, football matches and other events throughout Hamburg. The WSP is responsible for other specialist areas throughout Hamburg, including a. in certain areas of animal welfare, dangerous goods and food law.

In addition, the Hamburg waterway police take over the border police handling of seagoing vessels in the port of Hamburg instead of the federal police.


Water police in Gernsheim am Rhein at the now dismantled Rhine bridge Gernsheim

The responsibility of the Hesse water protection police extends to the Hessian parts of the Rhine, Main, Lahn, Fulda, Werra, Weser, Diemelsee and the Edersee including the hydraulic structures, shipyards, quayside and transhipment facilities as well as ports and islands in the area of ​​the allocated water areas.

Subordinate to the water police department based in Mainz-Kastel with a central investigation group:

  • am Main the water police station Frankfurt am Main,
  • on the Rhine the water police stations Gernsheim, Wiesbaden and Rüdesheim,
  • on the Lahn the water police station Weilburg,
  • at the Edersee the water police post Waldeck as well
  • the water police station Kassel on the rivers Fulda, Werra and Weser.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Water protection tasks in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are carried out by the State Water Police Office Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (LWSPA MV) based in Waldeck. Responsibility extends to the area of ​​coastal waters and ports as well as navigable waterways, other inland waters and the associated facilities and roads.

The water police inspections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are subordinate to the State Water Police Office

Each water police station has one or more water police stations. The police helicopter squadron (PHuSt) in

is subordinate to the state water police office.

The detailed responsibilities are regulated in an administrative regulation (VV Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Gl. No. 2012 - 9 of April 13, 2011) in connection with a business allocation plan.

Lower Saxony

The area of ​​responsibility of the Lower Saxony water police includes the German territory of the North Sea.

North Rhine-Westphalia

The water police in North Rhine-Westphalia is responsible for researching and prosecuting crimes on the waterways and in the ports in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In particular, this includes the Rhine as the largest inland waterway in Germany and large parts of the canal network in north-west Germany. The water police in North Rhine-Westphalia lost its independence as water police headquarters in 2007 and has since been organized as a water police headquarters within the Duisburg police headquarters .


In addition to regulating shipping traffic, the water police in Rhineland-Palatinate is also responsible for the investigation and clarification of all administrative offenses and criminal offenses on the navigable waterways their tributaries, banks, facilities and ports in Rhineland-Palatinate.

A special feature is the area of ​​the Germany-Luxembourg condominium , in which both the Rhineland-Palatinate water police and their Luxembourg counterpart are locally responsible on the Moselle ( Moselle kilometers 205.870 to 232.290) and its banks. Joint exercise of rule by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg over the entire water surface of the Moselle with the exception of the lock structures.

There are further dual responsibilities of federal states on the Rhine in the area of ​​the state borders with Baden-Württemberg and Hesse .

The Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of the Interior, Sports and Infrastructure is currently examining the extent to which a transnational Rhine Police can be created in cooperation with Baden-Württemberg and Hesse in order to reduce this dual responsibility.


Main article: Schleswig-Holstein police

In Schleswig-Holstein the water police is organized in a water police directorate as a lower state authority. The water police areas of Section 4 in the State Police Office are responsible for the water protection police tasks, boating / nautical-technical IT and maritime security.

Baltic Sea: WSP area Kiel with branch Ostuferhafen , WSP area Flensburg with WSP station Maasholm , WSP area Heiligenhafen with WSP station Puttgarden , WSP area Lübeck-Travemünde with WSP stations Lübeck and Ratzeburg .

North Sea: WSP area Brunsbüttel with WSP stations Glückstadt and Rendsburg, WSP area Husum with WSP stations Büsum, Helgoland, Wyk on Föhr and List on Sylt. The island of Helgoland is a specialty, because all police tasks are carried out there by the water police.


The waterway police have sea and inland waterway vessels and boats. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the police helicopter squadron is part of the WSP.





The water police school was founded in the Hamburg free port in 1945 in order to train officers of the water police of all federal states in a joint facility.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Task description of Lower Saxony water protection police  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.polizei.niedersachsen.de  
  2. § 1 Paragraph 6 Bavarian Ordinance for the Implementation of the Police Organization Act (DVPOG) of March 10, 1998 (GVBl. P. 136), last amended by an ordinance of July 29, 2011 (GVBl. P. 398).
  3. a b For the individual responsibilities cf. Homepage of the Bavarian Police.
  4. See agreement between the states of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg on the performance of water protection police tasks on the Lower Elbe (Lower Elbe Agreement) of December 21, 2012, published in Hamburg GVBl. 2013, p. 184 , PDF doc. 143 MB, accessed on June 23, 2013. The agreement replaces an earlier agreement from 1974 and came into force on July 1, 2013.
  5. Border Police. Retrieved November 7, 2019 .
  6. § 6 Meckl.-Vorp. POG
  7. ^ Homepage of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Water Police ( Memento from February 21, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on February 23, 2012.
  8. Communication from ISIM dated November 3, 2011 Internal security / optimization of the police structure


  • Christian Ostersehlte: The water police in Prussia: From the beginning to the end of the First World War . In: Jürgen W. Schmidt (ed.): Police in Prussia in the 19th century . Ludwigsfelder Verlagshaus, Ludwigsfelde 2011, ISBN 978-3-933022-66-0 , pp. 72-115.

Web links

Commons : Marine Police  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Wasserschutzpolizei  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations