Tidal Current Data for Ship Handling Simulation at the WSV

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Provision of Flow Data for Ship Handling Simulation during Channel Navigation on the German Federal Sea Waterways

On these pages you will find suggestions regarding hydrodynamic-numerically modelled flow data for the navigational access channels to the German seaports, which are under the responsibility of the German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV).

For the training and further development of ship handling personnel in channel navigation, the use of ship handling simulators represents state of the art technology. During channel navigation in sea waterways, complex interactions occur between ship and waterway because of the flow conditions. The use of up to date flow data in the ship handling simulation must therefore be regarded as an aspect of quality assurance and is recommended by the German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV). Since the BAW’s Department of Hydraulic Engineering in the Coastal Areas, as the central specialist scientific institute for all seaport access routes, maintains up to date hydrodynamic numerical (HN) models for hydraulic-engineering system studies, the calculated flow data of studied reference states can be provided for training in ship handling simulation.

The following data results from the hydrodynamic numerical modelling of typical systemic features of the waterway. The animation illustrates the cycle of a tide, the typical dependence of the flow conditions on time.

Stroemungsdaten schiffsfuehrungssimulation animated Tide.gif

Information on the methods and procedures used can be found on the methods pages of the BAW website or here in BAWiki. When using the flow data, it is important to note that there may be limitations in the application of the flow data as a result of assumptions in the model and the model topography that was used as well as in the spatial and temporal resolution of the data. We therefore recommend that you contact the BAW in Hamburg before using the data for a ship handling simulation.

The following example of a lock approach shows that even small changes at the boundaries of an area may lead to deviations in the flow conditions that are of nautical relevance:

Stroemungsdaten schiffsfuehrungssimulation schleusenzufahrt.gif

Disclaimer: Liability claims against the BAW which refer to damages of a material or non-material type 
which may have been caused through the use or non-use of the information, programmes and similar offered,
or through the use of erroneous or incomplete information are not covered, in so far as no proven
intentional or grossly negligent blame exists on our part.

Data Currently Available:

Note: You may access the FTP server on request (
Flow Data for German Navigable Sea Waterways
German Bight
Approach Channel/Estuary Data processed
Lower River Ems 2005 (1)
Outer Ems 2005 (1)
Hunte River 2009 (4)
Outer River Weser 2002 (3)
Lower River Elbe 2006 (2)
Outer River Elbe 2006 (2)
German Baltic Coast
Approach Channel/Estuary Data processed

Herbrum (weir and lock to North Sea (EKM-107)
Annual topography 2005, simulation period May 2005
Irregular resolution 1000 m (seaward boundary) to 10 m (navigation channel DEK)
Surface data (2D depth averaged) every 10 minutes from 15th May 2005 at 6.50 p.m. to 30th May 2005 at 6.40 p.m.
Calculation method: UnTrim 2007 with hydrostatic pressure approximation
Elbe, weir at Geesthacht to beacon A (German Bight)
Annual topography 2006, simulation period June 2006
Irregular resolution of underwater geometry 1175 m (seaward boundary) to 0.45 m (tributary river, Lühe)
Surface data (2D depth averaged) every 10 minutes from 0.00 hours on 1st June 2006 to 24.00 hours on 30th June 2006
Calculation method: UnTrim 2004 (2nd October 2008)
Weser, Bremen to the North Sea (German Bight)
Annual topography 2002, simulation period June 2002
Irregular resolution of underwater geometry 845 m (seaward boundary) to 15 m (Lower River Weser)
Surface data (2D depth averaged) every 10 minutes from 0.00 hours on 31st May 2002 to 24.00 hours on 30th June 2002
Calculation method: UnTrim 2007

Your approach channel or estuary is not included? Please contact us and tell us what you require.

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