Can I get a Ferry to Berlin?
May 5, 2008 2:46 AM   Subscribe

BargeFilter: What is the maximum height vessel I can bring down to Berlin from the Baltic sea?

I've been looking into a barge to live/work in and in the course of my research came across a description of a converted car ferry which was pretty spectacular. Naturally, within hours I was able to find a not too expensive one online. One of the biggest stumbling blocks is that it is quite high from the water-line to it's highest point (more than six meters). Between Berlin and the Baltic there are many bridges, most fixed, and I have not been able to find any standard on how high is too high.
posted by From Bklyn to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
IANAFP. (I am not a ferry pilot.)

From the Wikipedia page on the Elbe River (which you'll have to sail up to get to the Havel, which leads to the Spree), I found Noordersoft, which makes a program called PC-Navigo (for Windows). It's a "route planner for Europe's inland waterways" by "calculating the navigability of waterways for a specific ship, considering all the parameters that make a waterway navigable," which sounds perfect. Assuming the ferry is, uh, somewhere in coastal Europe (right?), they've got all kinds of navigational stuff for you - the order page shows prices.

You are consulting with the Germans on this, right?
posted by mdonley at 3:12 AM on May 5, 2008

You will probably be better off checking with the Berlin Port Authority on this, though my gut feeling is that 6 mt over the waterline is a bit high but not impossible.

Other than that, a barge to live/work in, in some city of Europe, is probably my lifetime's dream, so best of luck and keep the post updated so I can visit when coming to Berlin!
posted by _dario at 3:26 AM on May 5, 2008

Binnenschifffahrt means inland water transport. This is a good word to know for googling.

Perhaps they can help you: Bundesverbandes der Deutschen Binnenschifffahrt e. V. (BDB)

Also some info here

Maybe they can give you some tips on who to ask. Or look up Binnenschiffer or Binnenschifffahrt in your local business directory. You can probably find a company that specializes in canal transportation and you can consult with them. If it's coming from the Ostsee, it looks like it will coming over Stettin in Poland i.e Oder-Havel-Wasserstra├če - HOW. However, what I have seen on the Elbe Seitenkanal, most of the ships are pretty low and flat. So, also keep in mind the ferry's width and depth (draft?) when passing through locks. I don't know if there are any Locks on the canals between Berlin and the Baltic sea but it issomething to consider.

Good luck. Please let us know how this develops.
posted by chillmost at 3:43 AM on May 5, 2008

WSV is the official governing body of the inland waterways in Germany (in your case you should contact WSD Ost and WSA Berlin, I would think). My German is quite rusty so I can't help you further. This country wide map seems to indicate that the waterways from the Baltic to Berlin are class IV but unhelpfully the class IV waterways have bridges either 5.25 or 7 meters high. As far as I can tell, more accurate maps are not available online.
posted by Authorized User at 4:19 AM on May 5, 2008

Binnenschifffahrt is most certainly the key word. I was having a serious language-brain-lockup and couldn't even think of where to look in English, thanks.

And the map actually pretty much answers my question - certainly enough for these initial steps.

For the record, my problem started here, in the NYTimes , and then went through here where there are LOTS of converted barges to be had. The roll-on/ roll-off car ferry I had in mind I'm keeping secret until I'm sure I can't do this.

posted by From Bklyn at 8:44 AM on May 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

Live the dream dude, live the dream
posted by chillmost at 11:19 AM on May 5, 2008

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