The Vistula

Profile
People call it the Queen of Polish rivers and Europe’s last wild river. It is the habitat of many species of birds and a sanctuary of beautiful nature. On the stretch of interest to us – from Korzeniewo (867.7 km) to Tczew (910 km) – the river is a class II waterway with a guaranteed transit depth of 1.4 m (4.6 ft). From that point to the very mouth (941.3 km), it has navigability class III and a guaranteed depth of 1.6 m (5.25 ft).

Navigational Information

How to navigate
Navigate the Lower Vistula like a regulated river, from one bank to the opposite one, then along the bank (from a few hundred metres to a few kilometres, depending on the sharpness of the bend), to further signs and the next crossing.

Caution! When navigating along the river bank, keep a safe distance from it (from several dozen metres to 200 m) so as to avoid dangerous wing dams. “Read the water” carefully and analyse its distortions, as hitting rocks may be very dangerous when sailing with the current. On the lower stretch of the Vistula, bank signs have to be obeyed. The “Captain’s Tips”. chapter will help you learn them. At low water, obeying the signs is absolutely necessary! Bank signs end at 928 km – before the bridge in Kiezmark. From that point on, navigating the entire breadth of the river is allowed – with due caution, naturally. Kilometre signs on white boards irregularly appear on banks.

Stopping
Since the banks of the Vistula are reinforced with stones, our advice is not to moor to them except in emergency situations. Try to find sandy coves between wing dams to stop at, watching out for fishing nets.

Current
The rapid current of the Vistula (c. 3 km/h) makes quick manoeuvring difficult. Information on how to gain time to find your bearings on the river or to find signs is given in the “Captain’s Tips” chapter.

Power lines
All power lines hang above 14 m (46 ft), and the vertical clearance of the lowest bridge, even at high water, is nearly 7 m (23 ft).

Wind
What may turn out to be a threat to boaters is wind. During a strong north wind – blowing from Gdańsk Bay – waves up to 1 m high form on the water. When it blows from the south, the engine has to be in high gear in order to overcome the current and the waves. A lowpower motor may not do.

River stage
High river stages and floods are a problem when navigating the Vistula. When they occur, the locks in Biała Góra, Gdańska Głowa, and Przegalina are closed, which cuts the Vistula off from the branches of its delta, resulting in all its waters flowing into the Bay through the Przekop Wisły Canal.

Caution! Entering Gdańsk Bay through the Przekop is a route for experienced sailors. Waves, rocky banks, no professional marking, varying depths at the estuary, and numerous fishing nets require increased caution.
 
Hydrotechnical Highlights

The Knybawski Bridge. When Polish sappers blew up the bridges in Tczew, German engineers built new ones. The one in Knybawa took only 18 months to build! How? Prefabricated bridge spans waited in Gdańsk and were brought here on barges. They linked the river’s two banks on the route of “berlinka” (the road connecting the Reich’s capital with Königsberg). The bridge was 982.5 m in length; it had bunkers and heavy artillery positions. In 1945 German troops blew it up. The bridge was rebuilt
in Gdańsk Shipyard, which took 4 years.



Tczew: Truss bridges. The construction began in 1845, and the bridge was opened in 1857. It cost 4 million thalers, had a trussed structure, and was 785 m in length – which, in 1857, made it the longest one in Europe. In 1891, when another bridge was built next to it, the old one began to serve as a road crossing exclusively. American Engineering Association put it on the list of monuments of construction engineering – the one that included e.g. the Eiffel Tower.


The Przekop Wisły Canal. Flood damage and the fear of recurring floods resulted in a decision to regulate the Vistula and give it a new mouth. The new river channel was dug in 1890–1895 from Przegalina to Gdańsk Bay. Day by day, a thousand people and 40 steam machines worked at it. The canal, 7 km long and between 250 and 400 m wide, was flanked with
10-metre (33 ft) high embankments. On March 31, 1895, upon the Emperor’s signal given by telephone, the president of West Prussia opened the way for the Vistula’s waters. The Przekop shortened the Vistula by 10 km.




Tourist Highlights

Hearts from hell. They are baked out of marzipan and potatoes in the village of Piekło (the name means “hell” in Polish) by Barbara Wichrowska. The hearts are small, cream-white, and topped with chocolate or jelly. The recipe is protected and has been entered on the list of traditional products. Whoever falls in love with this sweet may also taste Ms Wichrowska’s sourdough bread or Piekło sausage with black (devilish) mustard.



The outbreak of World War II. The residents of Tczew say that it was in their town that World War II actually started. It was 4:34 am, September 1,
1939. Bombers and fighters commenced attack 11 minutes earlier than at Westerplatte. They bombed the area in front of the bridge so as to break the cable connecting it with the explosive charge planted by Polish sappers and prevent the blowing up of the bridge. Without success.



The Kociewie: A peaceful land. The peaceful land of Kociewie has many assets. It is worthwhile visiting Gniew and seeing the castle of the Teutonic Knights, and then moving on to Pelplin. The town is famous for one of the largest former Cistercian cathedrals and many antique books. This is where the only specimen of the Gutenberg Bible in Poland is kept. An absolute must-see is the fara (old parish church) in Tczew, in which Grzegorz Ciechowski used to sing.


INTRODUCTION

1

Part One. Discovering the Żuławy Loop

2

Tales of the Loop: A Page from History

3

Harmony: The Key to Reading the Landscapes of Żuławy

4

Architecture: The Land of Arcaded Houses and Hydrotechnical Monuments

5

Part Two. The Sailing Routes of the Żuławy Loop: Sailing and Sightseeing

6

The Vistula

7

The Martwa Wisła, the Śmiała Wisła, the Motława Gdańska

12

The Szkarpawa

14

The Wisła Królewiecka

16

The Elbląg River and the Jagielloński Canal

18

The Nogat

20

The Wielka Święta–Tuga

24

The Vistula Lagoon

26

Pasłęka River and the Canal of Pasłęka

29

The Kaliningrad Lagoon

30

Part III. The ABC of Sailing: Before You Sail on the Żuławy Loop

32

Proposed Trip Routes

33

II. The Little Loop of Żuławy

34

III. To the Capital of the Vistula Żuławy

35

IV. From Gdańsk to the Vistula Lagoon

36

V. Down the Vistula to Gdańsk

37

VI. Around the Vistula Lagoon

38

Informator

39

Captain’s Tips

40

signs shipping

41

signs shipping

42

Część IV. Nautical Base of the Żuławy Loop. Ports and marinas.

43

Mooring Platforms in Tczew

44

The passenger and yacht harbour in Tczew

45

The fishing port in Świbno

46

The fishing harbour in Mikoszewo

47

Marina in Błotnik

48

Harbour „Tęcza”

49

River side hostel in Wiślinka

50a

Maritime Yacht Club “Neptun”

50

Marina Delphia Yachts - Górki Zachodnie

51

Gdańsk Shipyard Yacht Club

52

Joseph Conrad Yacht Club

53

Academic Maritime Club in Gdańsk

54

AZS Cosa - Academic Sports Association in Gdańsk

55

The National Sailing Centre of the University School of Physical Education and Sport

56

Gdańsk Maritime Club Yachting Harbour

57

Marina on „Tamka” Street

58

Yachting Harbour “Stewa”

59

Northern Yacht Club Harbour

60

WOPR Gdańsk Harbour

61

Marina Gdańsk

62

Kayak and Motorboat Harbour “Żabi Kruk”

63

Marina Sienna Grobla II

64

Polish Maritime Club Harbour (Wisłoujście)

65

Mooring piers in Drewnica

66

Harbour in Żuławki

67

Mooring piers in Rybina

68

Yacht harbor in Rybina

69

Yacht harbor in Osłonka

70

Houseboat Harbour in Rybina

71

Marina Baltica in Sztutowo

72

Yacht harbor in Sztutowo

73a

Yacht Wharf by the Zygmunt August Boulevard in Elbląg

73

Yacht harbor Fala

74

The marina of Scout Water Centre “Bryza”

75

Yacht Club Elbląg

76

Yacht harbor in Biała Góra

77

The harbour of the Sports and Leisure Centre in Malbork.

78

Castle Harbour in Malbork

79a

“Park Północny” harbour in Malbork

79

The harbour in Kamienica Elbląska

80

The harbour in Nadbrzeże

81

The harbour in Suchacz

82

The harbour in Kadyny

83

The harbour in Tolkmicko

84

The port in Frombork

85

The port in Piaski

86

The yacht port in Krynica Morska

87

The fishing port in Krynica Morska

88

The port of Kąty Rybackie

89

Yacht harbor in Kąty Rybackie

90

Sailing harbour “Neptun” in Kąty Rybackie

91

The port of Nowa Pasłęka

92

“Dom Rybaka” harbour in Stara Pasłęka

93

Stara Pasłęka harbour

94

Yacht harbor in Braniewo

95

Explanation of the symbols of services available on harbours and their surroundings (1.5 km).

96

Water nodes of the Żuławy Loop.

97

Gdańsk Water Tram

98

Legend

99

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