Poland

As Maringret prepared for her traverse of the Rhine/Danube in 2012 we passed through the extreme western part of Poland. It was unfortunate we only saw the extreme western end as Poland is a lovely country with rich traditions and extremely hospitable people. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Poland and only wish we had had more time to cover the northern ports also.

Note: Comments are based on 2012 passages.

Note: We used the http://www.noonsite.com website for information on sailing in Polish waters. As of late 2012 this information is out of date, inaccurate and often dead wrong!

We entered Poland at Swinoujscie after crossing the Baltic.

  • Customs and Immigration Formalities
    Poland is in both the EU and the Schengen Area.
  • Money Matters
    The Polish currency is the Zloty . We used a combination of  banking machines and charge cards. They all seemed to work interchangeably.
  • Buoyage
    Polish bouyage as we encountered it was very good and clear. The entrance to Swinoujscie was very well buoyed as was the River Oder.
  • Marinas
    We encountered the gamut from post-Soviet boat clubs through to modern marinas. Although the facilities varied the hospitality and welcome did not. It did seem the security was a universal concern as each of the 3 sites we stayed at had locked gates and night guards.
  • Diesel Fuel
    We did not purchase marine fuel while inPoland
  • Weather Forecasts
    Most of our time was on internal waters. We did not find an authoritative Polish weather site, the best we found was from the University of Warsaw. We used WindGuru on both laptop and Android for our weather forecasting.

Our first and only visit to Poland was after crossing the Baltic and entering at Swinoujscie. After excellent visibility during the crossing a thick fog descended as we approached the shoreline and we crept up the Oder river with 50 m visibility. The bouyage was excellent both on the Baltic and on the Oder River and matched German standards (which we think are very good). We used Navionics digital charts which was our first encounter with digital charting. Use of digital charts is different from paper charts, there are both benefits and drawbacks – see our article of impressions at XXX.

Arriving at Swinoujscie we felt our way up the Oder past the new guest harbour on the west bank of the river. In the winter of 2012 it was undergoing renovations and all floating pontoons had been lifted ashore and major work was occuring. There was not a single boat in the basin and so we decided to continue up to the other harbours on a western branch of the river about 1 nauticla mile further on – the branch which the cross-river ferries use. What were marked as guest harbours on our charts were populated by over-wintering German commercial tourist boats. We crept along and came to the XXX boat club. The facilities were dated but the welcome was genuine and extensive. Showers were available in the club house, electricity was available (which we did not need) and a laptop was available for us to check email and meteo etc. We were given maps to the town (which is small) and spent a pleasant afternoon exploring.

Continuing from Swinoujscie we crossed the Szczecin lagoon which once again had excellent bouyage. Due to the abbreviated length of daylight in November we stopped at Gocław Marina – Gocław is a northern part of the city of Szczecin. A very quiet marina off the busy commercial waterway, it is next to a tram terminus for the number 6 line running into the centre of Szczecin. We did not use the trams but rather continued on to Szczecin proper the following day in order to unstep our masts.

The city of Szczecin proper does not seem to have a marina or yacht facility in the town centre although they have announced an intension to rectify this in 2010. As of 2012 the yacht facilities were located about 7 km (by road) to the east of the city on the south shore of Lake Dabie. There are numerous yacht facilities along the southern shore, we stayed at Camping Marina PTTK and were treated royally. Camping Marina PTTK is the most easterly of the various yacht facilities. Websites we found listed sites with mast cranes but certainly the ones we found were not sufficient to unstep a 41 foot ketch. Camping Marina PTTK arranged for a mobile crane to be brought in on 1 days notice and aided in virtually every aspect of our stay. They have staff on duty around the clock, a restaurant and bar, chandlery, a fixed dock and box moorings. The 24 hour reception are all trilingual (Polish, German, English) and fully prepared to aid you in locating what you need. This is one of the marinas that we have stayed at that fully qualifies to be know as a “full service” marina. The town of Dambia is about 10 minutes by bicycle (also by frequent bus service) to the east and has banking machines and food stores. There is a bicycle path all the way there. The restored sailing vessel Olander is based out of this marina as was the Polish circumnavigator Ludomir Mączka (his boat Maria is still stored there).

Leaving Szczecin we exited from Lake Dabie via the cut onto the east branch of the Oder River and turned south. After three road bridges there is a  railway bridge where barges were waiting but we were able to pass under the opening span with about 1/2 a metre to spare. As per suggestions we had received we crossed from the east to the west river branch at km 703.5 which was referred to as “Regalica” on our charts. Just before we hit the cross-waterway there was a sign on the west back (of the east channel) with that name. The crossing is about 2.2 km long, runs in a NW to SE direction and we had ample depth for the whole length – we passed a commercial barge on this section. By crossing to the west channel of the Oder River you enter into the  channel that has been made into a canal with a lock up river controlling water levels and flows. By doing this you encounter much less current against you on your way up. Presumably if you were passing down the river then you would stick with the east channel and take advantage of the downstream current (although we have not done this). After about 15 km on the the west channel the national border follows the west branch of the river and from that point you have Germany on the west bank. Near the location 53° 10′ N 14° 22′ E which is approximately 30 km from where we crossed from the east to the west channel the west branch swings to the east and joins the east branch to become the Oder River. This is where boats bound for the Hohensaaten locks into Germany turn off onto the Hohensaaten-Friedrichsthaler Wasserstrasse – you weave between two small islands and the route is signposted. From this point both banks are German as the border follows the west channel as it swings to join the east channel, carrying the border with it. This waterway is from the Hohensaaten locks and so is completely controlled for current and depth.

  • Polish language book on the Berlin-Szczecin Waterways
    [Note: the preceding link is dead as of 2018 – w_w_w.aquariusmarine.com.pl/p/pl/112/szlak+wodny+berlin-szczecin-baltyk+-++zdzislaw+kilarski.html]

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