Greetsiel's harbor is home to East Frisia's largest fishing fleet. Around 30 cutters have at times anchored here. Shellfish fishers, excursion boats, Dutch Tjalken and a sailboat harbor complete the picture.
The harbor itself is not affected by tides. By means of a lock on the Leyhörn, which was built at the beginning of the 1990s, ebb and flow have lost their effect.
In the past, ships that came from the inland used the sluiceway to enter upon open sea. Traffic from Greetsiel to the islands was very busy.
In the Sielstraße, directly on the harbor, stand the town's oldest residences. Many of these homes date back to the 18th century.
On their decorative pediments, one sees heraldry giving information about the house's age and early owners: for example, the house of the married couple Tobias Wilhelm Damme and Elke Ubben from the year 1741, or the home with the inscription "IN DOMINO CONFIDO" ("in God I trust") whose Keystone stirs the fantasy of the village historian.
Hardly any stone traces remain from the time of the Cirksenasian fortress, which was destroyed in 1777 under Prussian rule. After East Frisia fell to the Prussians, the town landscape changed considerably. The sluice was built in the center of town in 1798 under Prussian administration -- hence the eagle above the sluice gate. In the 19th and 20th Centuries, the harbor developed more and more from a commercial to a fisher port.
The fishing ground before and after WWI was the Leybucht, which was not yet surrounded by dikes. Formerly, fish were caught in stationary nets ("Reusen" or baskets) and with sailboats. Today, modern cutters travel as far as Schleswig-Holstein and fish off Sylt and Amrum. Fishermen often stay at sea for many days. Sometimes they fish into December, weather allowing.
Two clubs for recreational boating have their docks in Greetsiel. The Greetsiel Yacht Club and the Leybucht-Sportboot e.V.. Greetsiel's harbor master can be reached by telephone, mobile 0 151 - 12 22 62 62.
Yachtclub Greetsiel e.V.
The Greetsiel Yacht Club was founded in 1971 and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1996. It possesses a floating clubhouse and modern docks and also offers guests the possibility to anchor here. Plumbing, toilets and showers in the clubhouse are open to the crews of ships moored in Greetsiel's port.
The Lock Facility in Leysiel
As was mentioned above, ebb and flow have lost their influence on the harbor in Greetsiel by construction of a lock system. Since 1991 the Leysiel lock facility with its drainage canal and floodgate provides the final stage of the dike outlet "Leyhörn", the core of the coastal protection system Leybucht.
The Lock Facility assures that through the shipping channel and the reservoir basin, the fishing and sport fleets that lie in Greetsiels's harbor can enter the North Sea independent of tides. The 30 m wide sluice supports the drainage function of the facilities in Greetsiel and Leybuchtsiel. The inland dike's 200-hectar reservoir lake serves to absorb water flowing through the sluice and, in the event of several days' storm flooding, to store water pumped in from inland.
Annual Business Hours for the Sluice-Works in Leysiel
15.03. - 31.10: Monday - Saturday: 4 hours before until 3 hours after high water, Friday/Saturday until 10.00 p.m., Saturday/Sunday not before 5.00 a.m.
01.11 - 14.12: Monday - Friday: 4 hours before until 3 hours after high water, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: by appointment and Sunday evenings 4 hours before until 3 hours after high water
15.12 - 14.03: Monday-Friday: 7.30 a.m. - 4.00 p.m., Saturday, Sunday and Holidays by appointment.
Lock business hours depend upon the Norderney Tide. For information during business hours call 049 26 - 20 00.
The Lock is also reachable by USW-Radio, Channel 17.
Source and Map: State Waterworks, Coast and Nature Preservation (NLWKN) of Lower Saxony