The Waterways Police forces of the coastal federal states
The coastal waters of the Noprth Sea and Baltic Sea belong to the mostly frequented sea areas in the world - a risk potential which requires an efficient protection by the police of the coastal states. The Waterways Police forces primarily deal with shipping issues, more precisely with issues related to maritime, inland, harbour and leisure shipping. One of their most important duties is to perform so-called "shipping police law-enforcement tasks" which means they
- identify hazards to shipping as well as hazards caused by shipping, especially hazards to the quality of the water, and avert such hazards,
- make sure that shipping regulations are observed, e.g. regulations on equipment, ship crews, safe and smooth shipping traffic as well as behaviour in shipping traffic,
- check ship's papers and qualification certificates of shipmasters, ship officers and crews on board water vessels,
- ensure that the relevant legal provisions concerning the transportation of hazardous goods, the ship's and the crew's safety and the protection of the environment are observed,
- check required ship safety certificates, licences, logbooks and other documents and
- report ship accidents and conduct relevant investigations.
In addition, the Waterways Police forces of the coastal federal states
- monitor the transport of hazardous goods,
- contribute to the protection of the environment by monitoring the observance of environmental protection regulations, including regulations on the protection of waters against pollution,
- work closely together with other relevant authorities, e.g. the ship safety authority of the traffic association, the Federal Office of Maritime Navigation and Hydrography and the administration of national parks,
- render possible the execution of events and conventions and ensure their safety, undertake prevention work by supporting sport sailing clubs and sport sailing activities and
- ensure permanent responsiveness in the sea areas off the German coasts by a presence plan comprising all German federal states.
Furthermore, they perform general police duties, including hazard prevention, dealing with disorders, and prosecuting criminal and administrative offences within their respective areas of responsibility.
The Common Waterways Police Reporting and Coordination Centre
The Waterways Police Reporting and Coordination Centre also takes over operation tasks on requirement of a German coastal state and analyses, evaluates and routs/governs information in the sphere of maritime safety and security. Besides the coordination of police actions the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies Germany (CCME) is supported in case of major maritime emergencies.
Finally, they perform several federal states-specific tasks, which are described on the web pages of the individual coastal states.