Wintering in Northern Europe – 2018/19

Blue Heeler stayed at Flensburg from November 2018 to April 2019 (five months). Flensburg is on the border of Germany and Denmark and is easily accessible from the Baltic Sea.

Flensburg is one of the few places in Germany where you may live aboard over winter. Germany is less expensive than its Scandinavian neighbours, particularly if you enjoy eating out or having wine and beer. Flensburg is well located if you want to see other areas of Europe during your stay. Everything you need for your stay is within walking distance. There are a few other liveaboards scattered among the marina to keep an eye out and introduce yourself.

We enjoyed our stay in Flensburg and highly recommend this place for a winter stay aboard your boat.

The Harbour

Located at the end of the Flensburg fjord on the eastern bank, the Flensburg IM Jaich marina has a few berths available over winter. I contacted the marina in August 2018 and secured a place for that winter. Blue Heeler stayed on pier A with our bow in as we were a little concerned about the depths under the dock. No problem under our keel and rudder even when the water dropped to 3.9m.

Temperature was typically around zero degrees Celsius and only a couple of nights it reached -9degC. We kept our boat around 18degC and ran our dehumidifier to keep humidity below 40%. During our stay perhaps only a handful of days snowed and even so, not enough snow to stop us leaving the boat.

An outflow of warm water from a nearby manufacturing plant keeps the eastern bank from freezing. For a couple of days ice could be seen around the edges of the harbour, but not around the boats on A dock. The water temperature which we checked now and again was never below 4degC.

Access card

Upon arrival you can head to the harbour office near C dock and receive an access card. If this office is closed you can get a card from the cafe next door to the office.

This card can be loaded with Euros to pay for showers, laundry and electricity. An easy to use card machine makes topping up easy during winter.

Stefan Kieschke is the harbour master and along with others we had a friendly and helpful experience.


The 2018/19 cost was €450 for our boat (12m) for the five months during winter. The docks are quite secure with entry via your access card. The docks are fixed (not floating) with pylons to attach lines to. I would recommend securing your berth no later than end July.

Flensburg – home for winter 2018

Water levels in the Fjord

Shows the predicated water level compared to mean level. Source:

There is no tidal activity and the water is fresh so your hull stays clean. However, the water level does change frequently due to wind conditions. A westerly wind will blow the water out of the harbour, while a northerly and easterly will blow it back. This change can happen quite quickly within a 12 hour period. The mean depth is 5m and we had a range between 3.9m to 6.8m, but generally the water level was between 4.5m and 5.5m. Set your lines correctly and you should have no problems. Only once did the entire harbour flood over the docks and wharf (6.8m), and we were told this was uncommon.

Check this link daily for water levels:


Electricity was charged at €0.50 per kW and we used no more than 6kW per day on average, running our diesel heater, fridge and dehumidifier. Leaving your boat is fine as you can top up your electricity credit before you leave. Electricity will be turned off during any flooding.


Over winter there are two spacious bathrooms available, each with a toilet and large shower area. The access card is used for the shower and you only pay for what you use. The shower water is hot and the modern bathrooms are kept warm and clean over winter.

Garbage bins are accessed with your card and next to harbour office.

There is a washer and a dryer in the amenities block. These machines are well maintained and timed so you can get two washes on €4 plus €3 for the dryer.


Flensburg has a good selection of shops along the Groß Straß, which runs for at least a couple of kilometres. Plenty of supermarkets in walking distance (Aldi, Lidl, Rewe, Edeka) plus the large Förde Park complex 3kms south has a good selection of shops and a large Real store for good prices for wine and beer.

The Flensburg Galerie off Groß Straß has a food hall with a good selection of reasonably priced food.

Fresh vegetables and fruit can be found on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the Südermakt, located outside the Galerie.

Powdered milk is hard to get, but the Asian grocery shops up towards Lidl have large tins of Nido powder which is very good.

Eating out

There are plenty of places to eat out that won’t break your budget. A simple pizza or diner kebab can be found anywhere, while right at the marina is the slightly more fancy Gosh Sylt restaurant, but even here a plate of fish and chips costs around €6 each.

Take an empty stomach to the Brewery Dish at Hansen’s Brewery and you won’t be disappointed!

Boat parts and Services

Bauhaus is near Förde Park and an easy bike ride or half hour walk. Bauhaus has a reasonable boating section and a wide selection of hardware and tools.

The Flensburger Yacht Service 1km north of the marina has anything you may need for your boat, including Boracol for teak decks.

There are a number of sailmakers in and around Flensburg – UK Sails, Quantum, Elvstrom in Denmark. We had two sails made by UK measured and fitted aboard.

Flensburg has a flag shop on the western bank near Hansen’s Brewery and have small and large international flags. I bought a few Aussie flags here.

Things to do


The four weeks before Christmas have festivities along the Groß Straß – gluhwein, gingerbread, bratwursts and pulled pork buns can be bought along the route.

New Years Eve is a spectacle like no other as the locals go crazy with fireworks. I would advise staying aboard your vessel that night!

After the cold of January the shops begin to stock spring fashion as people begin to look forward to summer.

Important to keep up the exercise over winter

There are historical buildings and a wealth of maritime history in Flensburg – check with the tourist bureau or online for opening times over winter.

Flensburg is a great place to cycle and is reasonably flat. It doesn’t take long to cycle to Denmark (5kms away) and there are forests and trails nearby. The nearby Volkspark is a pleasant forest to walk through each day over winter.

Banking and money

Cash is preferred (Euro) particularly at the Christmas markets. Deutsche Bank ATMs are nearby along Rathaus Straß and other banks are located throughout town.

Diesel and LPG

We needed diesel to run our Webasto so using the marina trolleys walked to the Shell station 1km north and bought biodiesel. We would have preferred normal diesel so kept our tanks low and filled with normal once we left in April. Sonwik marina to the north of Flensburg has a diesel outlet, but I did not use this.

Ask the harbourmaster about filling your LPG cylinders and they can arrange this.


We had deliveries a couple of times – both from within Germany and a package from the US. Many small kiosks manage packages from courier companies and we had no problem receiving items from within Germany. We would designate a kiosk to deliver to then pick up the item showing our passport for ID. A package from the US required customs duty and DHL wouldn’t deliver the item until I gave them a private address. As the harbour office is unmanned, it is tricky to ensure the deliveries can be made to the marina (I was fortunate and saw the driver by chance before he drove off with my package).


The Flensburg train station is 2kms from the marina. Trains to Hamburg take two hours and can cost anywhere from €7 upwards. Booking well in advance is the key to discounted fares. Berlin is a further two hours from Hamburg. FlixBus have buses to pretty much anywhere.

A local bus service is available

If you need further information on our stay, please contact us through our Contact Page.