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CANAL PROFILE

The Bydgoszcz Canal (BC) is the oldest functioning navigable canal in Poland, included in the register of historic monuments in 2005. The area it runs through served as a trade connection with the West of Europe as early as the 15th century. The lighters, punts, and dubas boats (flat cargo boats propelled by oars) navigating the Noteć and the Brda were placed on wheels and rolled from one river to the other. The canal was built in 1772-1774, and its construction took only 18 months. Initially, it was only 26.6 km (16.5 mi) long and consisted of 9 locks built of wood and clay. This kind of material did not work well, and soon – at the beginning of the 19th century – the locks began to be converted to the still surviving stone and brick ones. The reconstruction of the BC in 1908-1915 marked out its eventual course: a shorter branch was opened, connecting it with the Brda, and the number of locks was reduced to six. The oldest fragment of the canal is nicknamed “Old” and, surrounded by an extensive park, constitutes a tourist attraction of Bydgoszcz.

Currently, the BC measures 24.5 km (15.2 mi) in length and is the only artificial artery connecting the two longest Polish rivers: the Vistula and the Odra. Recognised as a class II waterway, it is divided into 6 sections separated by 6 locks. The canal begins in Bydgoszcz, at km 14.4 of the V-O W, and ends at km 38.9, in Nakło. In the west, it is a right tributary of the Noteć, and in the east – a right tributary of the Brda. It is fed by the waters of the Noteć, drawn through the Upper Noteć Canal, connected with it at the peak section. The direction from Bydgoszcz to Nakło is treated as the downstream direction. The current is barely perceptible, although heads on the locks are quite high: from 1.9 m (6.23 ft) to over 7.5 m (24.6 ft). Every few kilometres, on the right bank (RB), posts are visible with kilometres of the V-O W.

NAVIGATIONAL INFORMATION

DEPTH
The navigable channel of the Bydgoszcz Canal (BC) is 28-30 m (91.9-98.4 ft) wide and 1.6-2 m (5.25-6.5 ft) deep.
POWER LINES AND BRIDGES
Power lines run at the height of at least 8 m (26.2 ft) above water surface. The lowest bridge over the canal, located near Lock no. 6 Osowa Góra, has a clearance of c. 3.7 m (12.1 ft) at HNW, and its width is equal to that of the locks.

LOCKS
There are 6 locks in operation on the Bydgoszcz Canal:
km 14.8 the Okole Lock;
km 15.97 the Czyżkówko Lock;
km 20.0 the Prądy Lock;
km 20.97 the Osowa Góra Lock;
km 37.2 the Józefinki Lock;
km 38.9. the Nakło Wschód (Nakło East) Lock.
All the locks on the BC have the same dimensions: 57.4 m (188.3 ft) in length and 9.6 m (31.5 ft) in width. Except for two locks – Okole and Czyżkówko – all the others require the work of human muscles. For small watercrafts, the staff usually open only one wing of the double-wing gate. The actual width at the entrance is 4.7 m (15.4 ft). When passing through the lock, you can ask the staff to phone and ask the lock-keeper of the next facility to prepare, which will considerably shorten your locking time. The charge, as everywhere, is payable in the lock chamber, at the upper water level.

VEGETATION
As on the entire V-O W, also on the BC water vegetation occurs that is not mown very often. The greatest impediment to navigation in this region is Lemna minor, popularly called duckweed. Between mid-July and the end of October, it forms large green carpets that may cover 100% of channel width with a layer 5 cm (2 in) thick. It is often a nuisance for vessels with weak engines and for those with external cooling – clean the filter frequently.

MOORING
The banks of the BC are not fit for mooring but, in exceptional cases, it is possible to “poke” the boat gently into waterside vegetation. It is also possible, with the consent of the staff, to moor in the lower or upper outer port of each lock. Professional service is offered at only marina on the BC – “Gwiazda”, and it is located in the place of joining the old Bydgoszcz Canal to present section of Bydgoszcz Canal. It is on its right bank, at Sports Club ‘Gwiazda” (“Star”) buildings. It is next to two monumental locks: Czyżówko and lock nr VI. It is the beginning of Park and a pedestrian way along the Old Bydgoszcz Canal leading to the city center. The infrastructure consists of about 15 stop stands for vessels with essential facilities. The harbor is also the last stop of ‘Szlak Śluz” (“Lock Route”) Of Bydgoszcz Water Tram.
 
HYDROTECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS

THE OKOLE AND CZYŻKÓWKO LOCKS
Built in 1908-1915, the locks allow to move through the elevation of 7.5 m (24.6 ft). Each has two water saving basins, which we see filled or drained when locking. This used to make a difference when traffic was heavy on the canal. The use of the basins enabled a 40% saving of water. The Okole Lock was the place where episodes of the famous series “Four Tankmen and a Dog” (Czterej pancerni i pies) were shot – its gate served as the scenery for blowing up a dam. Also known is the scene of the destruction of the tank Rudy and its turret getting thrown off. Since 2010, the turret can be seen on the escarpment over the lock. In August, battle scenes are acted out near the lock.















THE PEAK SECTION OF THE VISTULA-ODRA WATERWAY
This stretch of the BC is enclosed by locks: Osowa Góra in the east and Józefinka in the west. It is the highest elevation of the Odra and Vistula rivers watershed. The gradient in both directions is minimal, and the difference of water levels between this section and the Vistula is c. 32 m (105 ft). This is the place where the route called the Great Wielkopolska Loop begins.


TOURIST HIGHLIGHTS

MARINA “GWIAZDA”
Opened in 2009, this marina for about 25 vessels of different sizes is situated at km 16 of the V-O W. Comfortable stay is guaranteed by access to water and electricity at the quay, 24-hour video surveillance, the possibility of disposing of the wastes, access to showers, a launderette, a drying room, and a sauna. Nearby, there are groceries, a petrol station and a public transport station. In the season, the marina is also used as a water tram stop.


THE BYDGOSZCZ BRIDGEHEAD
The fortified area defending Bydgoszcz in 1939. Between Zielonczyn and Osówiec, 17 ferroconcrete bunkers were built, connected by trenches. In front of them, there were barbed wire entanglements and minefields. These fortifications delayed the entry of German troops into Bydgoszcz for three days. At about km 24, utility buildings are visible to starboard; it is possible (with the host’s permission) to moor to a pier and take a 3-4 km (1.8-2.5 mi) hike to see the open-air museum of fortifications in Zielonczyn as well as the tourist route along the Bydgoszcz Bridgehead fortifications.


CARDINAL’S PONDS
Stopping at km 31.7 near the road bridge, you can take a walk in the northern direction in order to see the remains of Lake Ślesińskie, the so called Cardinal’s Pond (Staw Kardynalski). The neighbouring area is a sanctuary of many protected species of birds. After a “hunt” with a pair of binoculars and a camera, it is possible to replenish your provisions in the village of Gorzeń.


 

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6

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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