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RIVER PROFILE

The Szkarpawa is one of the delta branches of the Vistula (km 931), diverging from it to the east and enabling inland navigation from Gdańsk to Elbląg. At present, separated from the mainstream Vistula by the Gdańska Głowa Lock, it has practically no current. It measures 25.4 km (15.8 mi) and flows into the Vistula Lagoon with two branches. At km 15.3, the Wisła Królewiecka (the Königsberg Vistula) begins, which flows slightly more to the north from the main channel of Szkarpawa. The navigable channel is 30 m (98 ft) wide but spreads to 100 m (328 ft) in places, which makes it possible – with a favourable wind – to try tacking when navigating a sailboat. When doing that, watch out for fishing nets near the banks and for water vegetation. The landscape and other features of tourist interest make the Szkarpawa an attractive water body. Numerous meanders flowing through the plains of Żuławy add variety to navigation and, thanks to scenic landscapes, provide aesthetic experiences. Flat banks overgrown with rushes gradually give way to low flood banks, protecting fertile depression areas. Numerous drawbridges and swing bridges run across the Szkarpawa – one of them is part of the route of Żuławy Narrow-Gauge Railway (Żuławska Kolej Dojazdowa).

NAVIGATIONAL INFORMATION

DEPTH
The Szkarpawa is a class II waterway with a guaranteed depth of 1.6 m (5.25 ft). Still, within the marked navigable channel the depth is usually greater and rarely falls below 2 m (6.5 ft).

POWER LINES
You will see relatively numerous power lines along the Szkarpawa, of which the lowest runs at about 13 m (42.65 ft) above water surface.

BRIDGES
All the bridges along the route are drawbridges or swing bridges. The staff opens them at specified hours and sometimes also at boaters’ request. When trying to pass under a closed bridge, bear in mind the relatively high fluctuations of water level (up to 1 m / 3.3 ft over a short time) caused by backwater current from the Vistula Lagoon.

LOCK
The only lock on the route – Gdańska Głowa – has the following functional dimensions: 12.5 m (41 ft) in width and 61 m (200.1 ft) in length.

VEGETATION
The Szkarpawa’s barely perceptible current is conducive to the growth of water vegetation. Just like on the Nogat, floating salvinia – water fern – develops intensively here from August. For this reason, it is necessary to navigate along the middle of the waterway in order to avoid the cooling system getting clogged or the screw propeller getting entangled in plants.

MOORING
You will find several places along the river that are intended for mooring, e.g. in Drewnica and Rybina. Wild coves among rushes are also fit for stopping.

VESSELS
In the summer season, a large cruiser sails on the Szkarpawa, which – representing commercial shipping – always has the right of way before other vessels. Due to its dimensions and large displacement, the ship produces strong current near its sides and may cause large differences in water level between the bow and the stern. You are advised to wait in a riverside cove until it passes by.
 
HYDROTECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS

THE NARROW-GAUGE RAILWAY BRIDGE IN RYBINA
Before Rybina lies the bridge of Żuławy Narrow-Gauge Railway (ŻKD), built in 1905. The narrow-gauge railway runs on it in summer. The mechanism of the bridge is based on a system of gears and transmissions, and muscle power is necessary to operate it.


THE LAND DRAINAGE SYSTEM OF ŻUŁAWY
It includes e.g. Osłonka and Chłodniewo pumping stations. The latter is the largest facility of this kind in Poland and drains c. 22,000 ha (85 sq mi) of drainless areas. It can pump 7,000 litres in a second! Together with Osłonka, the two stations have replaced 69 polders. After contacting the management of the Melioration and Water Facilities Board of the pomorskie voivodeship, it is possible to observe the functioning of both these facilities with your own eyes.


THE GDAŃSKA GŁOWA LOCK
The construction of the Gdańska Głowa Lock in 1895 made navigation on the Szkarpawa possible again. The facility was named after the former fortress, which existed until the late 17th century at the bifurcation of the Vistula into the Martwa Wisła (the Dead Vistula) and the Szkarpawa. Apart from performing its main function, the lock protects the inhabitants of Żuławy from floods. Its buildings may only be seen from the outside. As a part of ‘Żuławy Loop’ project the electrical control was introduced in place of manual drive.




TOURIST HIGHLIGHTS

ARCADED HOUSES
Arcaded houses, with frame construction and brick filling, are one of the major monuments of Żuławy. They are distinguished by the arcade – a protruding floor resting on a few pillars. They initially performed a storage function, and, with the years, more and more often a residential function as well. Buildings of this type can be seen e.g. in: Żuławki, Żuławki Książęce and Izbiska.


DRAINAGE WINDMILLS
Windmills used to be a typical element in the landscape of Żuławy. A majority of those several hundred located here used to drain polders. The others would grind flour. Their construction differed, too – the simplest wooden windmills (koźlaki) were found here as well as more elaborate Dutch windmills (holendry). Gradually, however, windmills sank into oblivion, supplanted by steam pumps. Those found in Drewnica and Palczewo are among the last ones remaining.


THE ŻUŁAWY DEPRESSION
The Żuławy region attracts tourists not only with interesting architectural or hydrotechnical monuments but also with the landscape, so unique in Poland. It is one of the youngest and lowest-lying Polish geographical regions. 28% of the area of Żuławy is depressions, including the greatest one in Poland, 1.8 m (6 ft) bsl. It is located in Raczki Elbląskie, where a monument has been erected to mark this fact.


 

PAGE NUMBER

36

INTRODUCTION

1

IW E70 – THE EAST-WEST (E-W) STRETCH

2

THE BRDA

3

THE BYDGOSZCZ CANAL

6

THE NOTEĆ

9

THE WARTA

15

THE ODRA

19

IW E70 – THE SOUTH-NORTH (S-N) STRETCH

21

THE VISTULA

22

THE NOGAT

31

THE SZKARPAWA

36

THE VISTULA LAGOON

39

THE ELBLĄG RIVER AND THE JAGIELLONIAN CANAL

50

THE MARTWA WISŁA, THE ŚMIAŁA WISŁA, THE GDAŃSK MOTŁAWA

52

INFORMATOR

56

WATERWAY SIGNS AND MARKING

57

LEGEND

58

SCHEMES OF LOCKS AND HARBOURS

59

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