Elbe ferry Coswig (Anhalt)

Opening hours

Month Monday – Sunday
March 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
April 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
May 9.00 am – 9.00 pm
June 9.00 am – 9.00 pm
July 9.00 am – 9.00 pm
August 9.00 am – 9.00 pm
September 9.00 am – 9.00 pm
October 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
November 10.00 am– 5.00 pm

All information without guarantee. There is no ferry service in January, February and December. In case of high water, ice, fog, strong wind or similar. In case of high water, ice, fog, strong wind or similar weather conditions (uncertain weather) the ferry service will be suspended.

Ferry service
Here you can find all the latest information about the Coswiger Elbfähre.

History of the Elbe ferry

Here at the old Elbe crossing in Coswig, a barge ferry was already described in the land register of 1566. This ferry needed for the 125m wide river, depending on the water level, 40-60 minutes to cross. On the then existing Fährprahm (a flat hull with a blunt bow and stern), there was only room for a horse-drawn carriage and horse.

At that time, the Elbe crossing was mainly used by the Anhaltian princely house as a connection to Wörlitz and Dessau, but also by the farmers who brought their hay from the Wörlitz Elbe meadows to Coswig. Since the ferry was leased as manorial property, the ferryman had the obligation to maintain the barges as well. In return for ferrying the princely family, he received a wisp of rye (about 1000kg) annually. For all other passengers there was no fixed tariff, the cost of the crossing had to be negotiated with the ferryman in each case.

Since Whitsun 1864 the old barge ferry Coswig was replaced by a new yaw ferry. The barge ferry, which had been in use up to that time, had to be brought to the other bank with great effort on the part of the ferrymen by means of piling and rowing. Due to the strong current of the Elbe, drifting could not always be avoided. The much larger yaw ferry, an invention of the Dutchman Hendrick Heuck, represented a significant improvement in every respect.

The carrying capacity was increased and the travel time was reduced from about 40 minutes to 5 minutes. The water power took away the heavy physical work from the ferrymen.

The yaw ferry is anchored at the end of a wire rope about 250 meters long. This splits just before the ferry. One end is attached to its bow and one to its stern. If the length of the ends is changed in relation to each other by winching, the angle of attack of the ferry to the current changes. The pressure of the water against the inclined broadside pushes the ferry to the other shore. The present hull is unsinkable, like a pontoon.

In 1978, the ferry was equipped with a cabin on the downstream side of the ferry, including a small room for tools and equipment. In 1996/97 the ferry was modernized for the last time. The two outriggers were extended by 1.5 meters, so that buses can now also use the ferry. In addition, the wooden planks of the usable surface were replaced by a grooved metal surface. With its motorless drive, the ferry has a load capacity of over 20 tons.

At normal water level, the Elbe River at Coswig has a water depth of 3m, which is 59.70m above sea level. If the water level reaches 61.20m above sea level, the ferry service has to be stopped. The ferry is in operation almost all year round, except for a winter break in the months of December to February.
Source: Municipality Coswig / Anhalt