Conscious interaction with nature

Environmental and climate protection

It's not just our cruising area: the North Frisian Wadden Sea is unique in the world and is specially protected as a national park, biosphere reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site. We therefore see it as our duty to protect this natural paradise by acting in an environmentally conscious manner. Various awards and certifications are proof of our high environmental standards.

We have proudly held the title of National Park Partner since 2007. As part of this, we have introduced our own environmental charter, which sets out twelve specific guidelines for sustainable action in all areas of the company - from environmentally friendly ship operation with low-sulphur fuel, waste sorting and the use of reusable crockery to the promotion of local agriculture and fishing through the preferential use of regional products in the ship's catering.

However, as a National Park Partner, we are not only committed to nature conservation and environmental protection in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park. We are also committed to sustainable, high-quality west coast tourism. To this end, we work closely with the National Park Authority and tourism service providers.

Would you like to find out more? Up-to-date information material on the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park is available on board all our ferries. You also have the opportunity to familiarise yourself with this complex and fascinating ecosystem on an excursion. All excursions have been designed in co-operation with the National Park Authority according to strict environmental criteria. For example, it is possible to visit the seals on the sandbanks of the Wadden Sea without disturbing them in any way. In this way, the W.D.R. wants to bring holidaymakers closer to the Wadden Sea and encourage even more people to actively protect this unique habitat.

The construction of the three double-ended ferries for the Föhr-Amrum Line fulfils the requirements of the renowned "Blue Angel" eco-label. The Blue Angel eco-label is awarded by the German Institute for Quality Assurance and Labelling (RAL gGmbH) in cooperation with the Federal Environment Agency.

The two newbuilds MS Uthlande and Schleswig-Holstein, which entered service in 2010 and 2011 respectively, have each been awarded a "Blue Angel" based on the RAL-UZ 141 standard for their "environmentally friendly ship design".

In September 2017, the MS Schleswig-Holstein was awarded a second "Blue Angel". This was awarded on the basis of the RAL-UZ 110 standard for "Environmentally friendly ship operation". This made the Schleswig-Holstein the first ferry in the world to receive both awards.

The technical inspection on site was carried out by the Ship Safety Division of the German Transport Employers' Liability Insurance Association. W.D.R. received intensive support from the German Shipowners' Association in implementing the requirements for the "Blue Angel" eco-label.

The two ferries MS Norderaue and Adler Rüm Hart were not certified, but the requirements of the "Blue Angel" eco-label were also taken into account for these newbuilds.

When designing and building new ferries, W.D.R. pays attention to the use of environmentally friendly propulsion with low-sulphur marine gas oil, an optimised hull shape, devices for emergency towing of the ships after accidents and much more.

W.D.R. operates as an island supply and transport service company in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park. It is aware of the special responsibility that passenger ship and bus operations entail in this sensitive ecosystem. The W.D.R. sees it as its natural duty to contribute to the preservation of the unique flora and fauna of the Wadden Sea. It is committed to high-quality, sustainable tourism on the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein. The W.D.R. documents its commitment in this regard through its status as a National Park Partner, among other things. The consistent implementation of the following guidelines should help to minimise the harmful effects of shipping and bus operations and thus preserve the Wadden Sea as a habitat for a variety of animals and plants as well as a recreational area for future generations.

  1. Use of environmentally friendly fuels:
    W.D.R. uses only the particularly environmentally friendly fuel Marine Gas Oil (MGO) with a very low sulphur content on board its ferries and excursion boats. It does this despite the significantly higher costs of this fuel in order to minimise the emissions caused by ship operation. In terms of sulphur content, the fuel used falls well below the national and European limits
  2. Environmentally conscious ship operation:
    The W.D.R. has organised all ferry schedules in such a way that its ships operate in the Wadden Sea at a maximum speed of 10 - 11 knots and do not exceed the legal speed limit of 16 knots. The lower ship speed is intended to prevent disturbance to animals and erosion in shore areas caused by waves.
  3. Environmentally friendly ship maintenance:
    W.D.R. has its ships maintained exclusively at German shipyards with high environmental standards. All substances used for ship maintenance (such as anti-fouling coatings for the underwater hull) are carefully selected. Antifouling paints containing TBT are not used as a matter of principle.
  4. Environmental protection on board:
    W.D.R. collects waste separately on board its ferries and excursion vessels wherever possible. Waste is disposed of in the harbours and recyclable materials collected on board are recycled. Waste water is disposed of via the harbours' sewage system and biologically treated in this way. Reusable crockery is used in the catering facilities on the ferries. Electric hand dryers have been installed in the ships' washrooms to reduce the amount of waste generated by paper towels.
  5. Passenger information:
    On board its ferries, the W.D.R. provides information about the Wadden Sea National Park and its special features. In addition, the shipping company uses signs, brochures etc. to encourage its passengers to help protect this ecosystem themselves and, for example, not to throw any waste overboard.
  6. Public transport connections to the mainland ports:
    W.D.R. sees itself as a car- and motorbike-friendly shipping company. Notwithstanding this, it ensures that guests without their own vehicle can reach the mainland ports of Dagebüll and Schlüttsiel conveniently and directly by train and bus. In Dagebüll, W.D.R. has contributed to the construction of the island car park. Guests travelling to the islands without their own vehicle can park their car here. The island car park is equipped with a modern oil separator that prevents rainwater contaminated with petrol and tyre wear from seeping into the ground. By participating in the construction of the island car park, the W.D.R. has helped to put a permanent end to environmentally damaging "wild parking" on fields and roadsides in Dagebüll.
  7. Construction of environmentally friendly ships, use of environmentally friendly buses:
    When designing new ferries and excursion boats, W.D.R. favours a fuel-efficient design and the use of environmentally friendly drives. Similarly, when purchasing new buses, it favours modern vehicles from European manufacturers with low fuel consumption.
  8. Energy efficiency and environmental protection in all areas of the company:
    W.D.R. pays attention to energy efficiency and environmental protection in all areas of the company. One example is the new W.D.R. shipping company building in Wyk, which has very low heating energy consumption thanks to its optimised thermal insulation. Another example is the consistent use of environmentally friendly paper, both in internal administration and in the production of brochures. In the coming years, W.D.R. will replace existing light bulbs throughout the company with energy-saving lamps in order to further reduce electricity consumption.
  9. Environmental responsibility of the W.D.R. team:
    All W.D.R. employees are committed to sustainable, environmentally friendly behaviour. One example of this principle is the W.D.R. bus drivers, who keep fuel consumption in bus operations as low as possible through their individual driving behaviour.
  10. Environmental responsibility of the management:
    Environmental protection is a top priority at W.D.R. All department heads are responsible for environmentally conscious behaviour in their area of responsibility. The management continuously ensures that the principles of the W.D.R. Environmental Charter are implemented throughout the company. It works closely with the National Park Authority in a spirit of trust.