Federal waterways and shipping administration

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The the federal ministry of transport and digital infrastructure downstream waterways and Shipping Administration of the Federal ( WSV ; previously Waterways and Shipping Administration , as amended by WSV jurisdiction Adjustment Act of May 24, 2016 I, p 1217th , before Waterways and Shipping Administration with two " f “) is responsible for the administration of the federal waterways of the Federal Republic of Germany and the safety and ease of shipping on the (federal) federal waterways.


The WSV essentially performs the following tasks:

  • sovereign tasks as federal administration (e.g. promotion of shipping, approval procedures, shipping police tasks)
  • Maintenance tasks of the federal waterways and their structures
  • Planning and construction supervision for extensive replacement or new construction projects in the federal waterway area

The legal basis is Article 89 of the Basic Law , according to which the federal government is the owner of the former Reich waterways, "which it administers through its own authority, the federal waterways and shipping administration". Further legal bases are the Federal Waterways Act , the Inland Shipping Tasks Act , the Maritime Tasks Act and the Act on the Property Relationship of Federal Waterways .


Organizationally, the WSV belongs to the subordinate area of ​​the Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure, formerly the Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Urban Development.

The General Directorate for Waterways and Shipping (GDWS) in Bonn is subordinate to the Federal Ministry . The GDWS was subordinate to 35 waterways and shipping authorities (WSA / WSÄ - previously waterways and shipping authorities, changed by the WSV Responsibility Adjustment Act) as well as waterways new building authorities (WNA) as sub-authorities. Over the next few years these will be merged into 17 new traffic district-related offices.

The WSV is supported by the higher federal authorities, the Federal Institute for Hydraulic Engineering (BAW) and the Federal Institute for Hydrology (BfG), the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) and the Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation (BSU - former Federal Higher Sea Authority ). The Havariekommando is a joint institution of the federal government and the coastal states.

In addition, there are specialist and special offices in the WSV that perform bundled cross-sectional tasks from the line organization.

Location of the traffic control centers on the German coast

The WSV is assigned to nine German traffic control centers , which are responsible for traffic safety in shipping on the German coast. They are affiliated with the waterways and shipping authorities in Emden, Weser-Jade-Nordsee, Cuxhaven, Brunsbüttel, Hamburg, Lübeck and Stralsund. The Hamburg Nautical Center , on the other hand, is subordinate to the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA).


Approx. 12,500 employees work in the WSV. The WSV employs qualified personnel for the areas of administration, law, construction, hydrology, surveying and cartography, mechanical engineering, communications engineering, the legal regulations of the federal electrical engineering, etc. For the majority of WSV employees in the Branch offices of the waterway and shipping authorities (in the so-called outskirts and building yards) are trades in the fields of electrical engineering , communications technology and metalworking , navigators in traffic control centers, hydraulic engineers , divers , skippers and sailors of ferries, measuring, work and pollution control vessels , etc. required.

Authority reform

The WSV as a federal administration is retained. The age and condition of the infrastructure, the budgetary staff cuts of around 5500 for 20 years, demographic change and the shortage of skilled workers require, among other things. a. structural reforms in the administrative structure. The new administrative structure should allow the WSV to manage future tasks and the necessary resources (staff and material) centrally, i. H. to distribute nationwide according to traffic needs and to make the use of resources “on site” at the offices more flexible. With the current WSV reform, the changed framework conditions (transfer of tasks to the WSV, relocation of tasks from the WSV within the ministry of the BMVI, limited resources, significant changes in the workforce) are counteracted so that this administration is "a powerful, efficient and at the same time economically working WSV" remains.

The reform affects not only changes to the administrative structure (establishment of the General Directorate for Waterways and Shipping and a reduction in the number of the last 39 waterways and shipping offices to 17), but also their tasks and responsibilities. By transferring tasks and responsibilities from the higher administrative level, the competence of the subordinate authorities is strengthened. The WSV Responsibility Adjustment Act (published in BGBl Part I, Edition 24 of May 31, 2016) traces the organizational changes in the federal legal regulations.

License Plate

License plate of the waterways and shipping administration of the federal government, here General Directorate for waterways and shipping, place of work in Würzburg

The service vehicles have their own authority abbreviation in the license plate : BW (for Federal Waterway Administration ).

The first digit indicates the regional vehicle-driving area (location of the GDWS or the local authorities):

  • 1 - North (Kiel, as well as waterways and shipping authorities Lübeck, Tönning, Brunsbüttel, Kiel-Holtenau, Stralsund, Hamburg, Cuxhaven)
  • 2 - Northwest (Aurich site, as well as waterways and shipping authorities Weser-Jade-Nordsee, Emden)
  • 3 - Mitte (location Hanover, as well as waterways and shipping authorities Hann.-Münden, Verden, Minden, Braunschweig, Uelzen, WNA Hanover and WNA Helmstedt)
  • 4 - West (Münster as well as waterways and shipping authorities in Cologne, Duisburg-Rhein, Duisburg-Meiderich, Rheine, Meppen and WNA Datteln)
  • 5 - Southwest (Mainz, as well as waterways and shipping authorities for Upper Rhine, Bingen, Neckar, Mosel-Saar-Lahn and ANH Heidelberg)
  • 6 - South (Würzburg location, as well as Aschaffenburg, Schweinfurt, Donau MDK and WNA Aschaffenburg waterways and shipping authorities)
  • 7 - East (Magdeburg as well as waterways and shipping authorities in Dresden, Magdeburg, Lauenburg, Brandenburg, Berlin, Eberswalde, WNA Berlin and WNA Magdeburg)
  • 8 - GDWS (Bonn, central office)

The following numbers are purely differentiating numbers with and without a system (differentiation between the respective departments and re-assignments in the case of vehicle immobilization and new registrations).


  • see publications of the external link as of September 10, 2019 [1]

Web links

  • Official website of the waterways and shipping administration (description of authorities, tasks, area responsibilities on the federal waterways, contact addresses, tenders, etc.)

Individual evidence

  1. Chronicle of the legal status of the federal imperial waterways / inland waterways in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany after October 3, 1990. Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration, Bonn 2006 (status: February 2013).
  2. Press release No. 097/2016: The WSV's new area-related office structure has been established. ( Memento from June 21, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, June 17, 2016 (with map of the new responsibilities).
  3. We ensure safety through traffic monitoring and traffic analysis. Waterways and Shipping Office Brunsbüttel ( Memento from July 16, 2018 in the Internet Archive ).
  4. About us. Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration, accessed on May 4, 2020.