Kiel Canal facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsNord-Ostsee-Kanal
Current map of Kiel Canal in Schleswig-Holstein
|Length||98.26 km (61.06 miles)|
|Maximum boat length||235 metres (771 ft)|
|Maximum boat beam||32.5 metres (107 ft)|
|Minimum boat air draft||40 metres (130 ft)|
|Start point||Brunsbüttel (North Sea)|
|End point||Kiel (Baltic Sea)|
The canal was first opened to traffic on 19 June 1895. It was then improved to allow the largest warships to pass through. The formal reopening of the improved canal was on June 24, 1914. The Kiel Canal is the busiest artificial waterway for seagoing ships worldwide. In 2014, 32,600 ships passed through the waterway.
An average of 250 nautical miles (460 km) is saved by using the Kiel Canal instead of going around the Jutland Peninsula. This not only saves time but also avoids storm-prone seas and having to pass through the Sound or Belts.
Besides its two sea entrances, the Kiel Canal is linked, at Oldenbüttel, to the navigable River Eider by the short Gieselau Canal.
There are detailed traffic rules for the canal. Each vessel in passage is classified in one of six traffic groups according to its dimensions. Larger ships are obliged to accept pilots and specialised canal helmsmen, in some cases even the assistance of a tugboat.
Furthermore, there are regulations regarding the passing of oncoming ships. Larger ships may also be required to moor at the bollards provided at intervals along the canal to allow the passage of oncoming vessels. Special rules apply to pleasure craft.
All permanent, fixed bridges crossing the canal since its construction have a clearance of 42 metres (138 ft).
Local traffic is also catered for by 14 ferry lines. Most noteworthy is the “hanging ferry” beneath the Rendsburg High Bridge. All ferries are run by the Canal Authority and their use is free of charge.
Images for kids
Locks at Brunsbüttel connecting the canal to the River Elbe estuary, and thence to the North Sea
Kiel Canal Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.