from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
European waterways
Shipping channels are also sometimes referred to as waterways (here the German research vessel Polarstern )

A waterway is understood to mean navigable rivers and canals . Straits with the attribute “street” are sea streets . (Administrative provisions can have other language regulations, which, however, have not found their way into colloquial or seaman's language.)

While sea canals as the Suez Canal , the Panama Canal or Kiel Canal , two oceans and marine parts join together, complement inland channels , the navigation on the rivers, two types can be distinguished: side channels are based on a river and flow further down mostly back into him. Watershed canals connect two river basins .

Ownership and management in Germany

The most important waterways in Germany are federal waterways owned by the Federal Republic of Germany and under the administration of the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV), an administration belonging to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure . The administration of a federal waterway can also be delegated to a federal state (so-called "delegation routes", for example the Elbe above Tinsdal to Oortkaten , the Hamburg port area, to the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg ) and vice versa. Other waterways are subject to the administration of the federal states as state waterways.

Landeswasserstraße (in Zehdenick )

With regard to the right of way position (construction and maintenance), the federal government distinguishes between sea waterways and inland waterways. According to the applicable shipping law, a distinction is made between sea waterways and inland waterways. On sea waterways , the sea waterway regulations or the international waterway regulations on the Ems estuary apply , on inland waterways the inland waterway regulations and, for cross-border waterways, corresponding internationally agreed regulations (Rhine, Danube and Moselle waterway regulations).

The federal inland waterway network is currently around 7,290 km (and 23,000 km² of lake waterways) - around 6,550 km of which are inland waterways, around 690 km of sea waterways and around 50 km of delegation routes.


The main function of waterways is the transport of goods and people as a transport function. In addition, there are the functions of water runoff, drinking water supply , irrigation and drainage, energy supply (through hydropower plants and in a cooling function for conventional thermal power plants ) as well as the leisure function and recreation and finally fishing as a safeguard of the food base. The economic importance of waterways is therefore significant.

In the EU white paper "European transport policy until 2010: Setting the course for the future", inland shipping is described as the "most environmentally friendly and safest mode of transport with particularly favorable energy efficiency and considerable growth potential".

Federal waterways (selection)

The longest rivers in Germany (over 200 km) are:

The Moselle canalization took place 1958–1964. The Neckar was essentially expanded into a major shipping route from 1921 to 1968.

The longest canals in Germany (over 100 km) are:


Inland waterways are classified into seven classes on the basis of a European convention issued in the mid-1970s , which are identified with the Roman numerals from “I” (only small ships) to “VII” (largest class).

Waterways in Austria

Waterways in Austria are:

  • Danube in the entire course including the Vienna Danube Canal (except certain oxbow lakes and the New Danube ) - about 300 km, with the river in both the west and east a piece with the border with Germany (left bank for 20 km) and Slovakia (right 8 km) coincides.
  • Traun up to km 1.80 (entry into the VOEST heavy-duty port )
  • Enns up to km 2.70 ( Ennshafen )
  • March to km 6.00

Individual evidence

  1. Sailing manuals for the relevant areas,
    textbooks for the relevant patents
  2. a b c Lengths of the main shipping lanes of the federal inland waterways, Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration

See also




Web links

Wiktionary: Waterway  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations