Where to hire a yacht?
On the trails of the Żuławy Loop and on the entire Vistula Lagoon there are only a few marinas where it is possible to charter a yacht. Shipowners and companies have a total of about 30 sailing yachts available, but the number is growing. The number of people interested in sailing on houseboats (motor barges) is on the increase as well.
An interesting solution is the charter of a yacht in Iława Lake District, in Iława or Ostróda, by two crews. The first crew sets off from Iława and, after sailing through the Elbląg Canal, finishes the trip on the Vistula Lagoon, in a selected harbour on the Żuławy Loop trail or in Gdańsk. The other crew sails the way back. This allows you to avoid covering the same route twice. In Gdańsk you can hire yachts with a draught appropriate for Gdańsk Bay but not necessarily for the Vistula Lagoon.
Rzeki Pętli Żuławskiej
Regulations impose no obligation to possess special licences. On the Loop’s rivers there is a possibilityof hiring yachts – houseboats without motorboating or skipper’s licences. So, all aboard!
The Vistula Lagoon
Since 2007, non-commercial seagoing yachts are exempt from the obligation to have Safety Certificates (KB), Movable Equipment Inventories (WWR), or other documents. In principle, it is allowed to sail on the waters of the Vistula Lagoon on any inland sailboat. However, the person in charge of the vessel must be a licensed yacht skipper.
What equipment should a yacht have on the Vistula Lagoon?
Recommended essential equipment:
– a storm jib
– an orange smoke buoy
– red signal flares
– a VHF radio
– a GPS device
– safety harness
– a life buoy with a heaving line
Other essential items are:
– a foghorn
– a torch with spare batteries
– life preservers or automatic life jackets
– a chemical toilet
– a second anchor
– a bilge pump
Useful: spare lines, a second stay, a topping lift.
Caution! It is good to have a well-equipped boatswain’s toolbox with you. In the Żuławy Loop, sailors will only find shopping possibilities in Gdańsk and (modest) in Elbląg.
The technical condition of the yacht
The technical condition of the vessel should be thoroughly examined before every trip: running and
standing rigging, sails, as well as fuel and water supply. When planning to enter the Vistula Lagoon,
you should also inspect the yacht’s ballast. Remember that, on the water, your vessel may be the only one around, with no one to ask for help.
At what times to navigate?
For safety reasons, navigate the rivers of the Żuławy Loop from dawn to dusk only. The sailing hours will also depend on lock opening times. Before setting off, check what stretch it will be possible to cover during one day and plan appropriate stops. A motor vessel covers an average of 6 to 8 km per hour. On the Vistula Lagoon also sailing by night is allowed. After dark, the yacht must have proper documents and equipment: navigation lights, properly fitted safety equipment (e.g. safety harness with lights attached). Caution! When navigating by night, you may easily get entangled in unmarked fishing nets.
How to lock?
On the Żuławy Loop there are 6 locks enabling passage between different levels. Locking requires concentration and good organisation. Optimally, entering a lock should be arranged half an hour in advance with the facility staff. Telephone numbers are given in the Information section.
Approaching a closed lock, moor the vessel in the outer port and wait for the gate to open. The lock staff usually open one gate, which gives you c. 4.5 m (14.7 ft) width for performing the entrance and exit manoeuvres.
Before entering the lock, prepare the mooring lines in order to moor the vessel to bollards, to a mooring ring, or to a ladder inside the lock. Due to the changes in water level, always be ready to slip the moorings while inside the lock. Enter the lock slowly, but maintain sufficient gear to be able to manoeuvre. Two people are enough for locking: one at the helm and the other to handle the mooring. Experienced boaters will manage on their own. Caution! During high water stages on the Vistula, the locks connecting it with the Nogat (Biała Góra), the Szkarpawa (Gdańska Głowa), and the Martwa Wisła (Przegalina) are closed since the Vistula was regulated. This should be checked before the trip!
How to pass bridges and drawbridges?
Every bridge has a specified span clearance at high water (HWL) and at medium water (MWL). The place for safe passage under the bridge is indicated with a yellow tooth mark on the span.
The drawbridges on the Żuławy Loop are opened at specified hours. Look them up before setting out on a trip at www.petla‑zulawska.pl. Do not proceed until the bridge span has been raised.
How to read the aids to navigation on the Vistula’s banks?
Green rhombuses and yellow X signs stand on the left bank; red squares and yellow crosses are placed on the right bank. The signs always come in pairs, but in different orders. Sometimes, additionally, green or red beacons are anchored on water, marking the left and right edges of the fairway. River bank marking is particularly important at low water stages. Considerable amounts of sand are then deposited, forming sandbars that obstruct navigationand sometimes block the mainstream; depths below 1 m (3.3 ft) are not unusual. The width of the water surface is c.
500 m, which makes it important to have binoculars with you, enabling you to read the signs placed on the opposite bank clearly. This is often a challenge. It happens that signs are destroyed or covered by vegetation.
How to gain time for reading the river on the Vistula?
If you wish to gain time for finding the signs or for more precise reading of the river, we advise you to turn the yacht bow against the current and maintain it in proper gear. For this reason, it is worthwhile fitting your yacht with a spare motor or at least with an effective anchor, which will facilitate braking the vessel and prevent dangerous collisions with stone wing dams in the event of propulsion failure.
What surprises inland sailors on the Vistula Lagoon?
– Very quickly changing weather. Sudden emergence of short and high waves, which may cause trouble even to seasoned seamen. Combined with high wind, this makes it necessary to reduce sail and weather. Using outboard motors is often a problem: the screw leaps out of water. Due to a break in the weather, you may be stranded in the port even for 2 or 3 days.
- A change of wind direction while sailing, when the wind turns back. Differences in wave height and wind strength depending on wind direction. This has an important influence on the planning of trip route.
- The necessity of receiving weather forecasts every day. If you have no radio, you can always phone the Harbour Master’s Office in Elbląg (Tel. (55) 234 77 11 – a 24-hour line), the Harbour Authority in Tolkmicko (Tel. (55) 231 66 14, 07:00–15:00) or in Frombork (Tel. (55) 243 72 19, 07:00–15:00).
- A large number of fishing nets, frequently placed just beside the fairway. They are improperly marked or not marked at all.
- No possibilities of spending the night “in the wild” near the bank, as between you and the bank there is a broad strip of shoals and reeds. Spending a night at anchor may be hazardous when the wind suddenly becomes stronger or changes direction. There are exceptions to this rule. You can safely spend the night “in the wild” in the estuaries of rivers (the Szkarpawa, the Nogat, the Wisła Królewiecka, or the Pasłęka) and in Elbląg Bay.
- The necessity of keeping to approach fairways when sailing into ports, due to shoals. There are exceptions to this rule as well, mainly in the case of lift keel yachts.
- Entering and leaving ports with the motor running. Krynica Morska and Kąty Rybackie are the only harbours you can enter safely and easily under sail.
- Numerous navigational marks (daytime and night-time) – beacons, buoys, lights, and even a lighthouse – which help you keep track of your position.
- The possibility of being controlled by Border Guards, especially near Piaski or Nowa Pasłęka.
Have a safe holiday on the waters of the Żuławy Loop!
Part One. Discovering the Żuławy Loop
Tales of the Loop: A Page from History
Harmony: The Key to Reading the Landscapes of Żuławy
Architecture: The Land of Arcaded Houses and Hydrotechnical Monuments
Part Two. The Sailing Routes of the Żuławy Loop: Sailing and Sightseeing
The Martwa Wisła, the Śmiała Wisła, the Motława Gdańska
The Wisła Królewiecka
The Elbląg River and the Jagielloński Canal
The Wielka Święta–Tuga
The Vistula Lagoon
Pasłęka River and the Canal of Pasłęka
The Kaliningrad Lagoon
Part III. The ABC of Sailing: Before You Sail on the Żuławy Loop
Proposed Trip Routes
II. The Little Loop of Żuławy
III. To the Capital of the Vistula Żuławy
IV. From Gdańsk to the Vistula Lagoon
V. Down the Vistula to Gdańsk
VI. Around the Vistula Lagoon
Część IV. Nautical Base of the Żuławy Loop. Ports and marinas.
Mooring Platforms in Tczew
The passenger and yacht harbour in Tczew
The fishing port in Świbno
The fishing harbour in Mikoszewo
Marina in Błotnik
River side hostel in Wiślinka
Maritime Yacht Club “Neptun”
Marina Delphia Yachts - Górki Zachodnie
Gdańsk Shipyard Yacht Club
Joseph Conrad Yacht Club
Academic Maritime Club in Gdańsk
AZS Cosa - Academic Sports Association in Gdańsk
The National Sailing Centre of the University School of Physical Education and Sport
Gdańsk Maritime Club Yachting Harbour
Marina on „Tamka” Street
Yachting Harbour “Stewa”
Northern Yacht Club Harbour
WOPR Gdańsk Harbour
Kayak and Motorboat Harbour “Żabi Kruk”
Marina Sienna Grobla II
Polish Maritime Club Harbour (Wisłoujście)
Mooring piers in Drewnica
Harbour in Żuławki
Mooring piers in Rybina
Yacht harbor in Rybina
Yacht harbor in Osłonka
Houseboat Harbour in Rybina
Marina Baltica in Sztutowo
Yacht harbor in Sztutowo
Yacht Wharf by the Zygmunt August Boulevard in Elbląg
Yacht harbor Fala
The marina of Scout Water Centre “Bryza”
Yacht Club Elbląg
Yacht harbor in Biała Góra
The harbour of the Sports and Leisure Centre in Malbork.
Castle Harbour in Malbork
“Park Północny” harbour in Malbork
The harbour in Kamienica Elbląska
The harbour in Nadbrzeże
The harbour in Suchacz
The harbour in Kadyny
The harbour in Tolkmicko
The port in Frombork
The port in Piaski
The yacht port in Krynica Morska
The fishing port in Krynica Morska
The port of Kąty Rybackie
Yacht harbor in Kąty Rybackie
Sailing harbour “Neptun” in Kąty Rybackie
The port of Nowa Pasłęka
“Dom Rybaka” harbour in Stara Pasłęka
Stara Pasłęka harbour
Yacht harbor in Braniewo
Explanation of the symbols of services available on harbours and their surroundings (1.5 km).
Water nodes of the Żuławy Loop.
Gdańsk Water Tram