Description: The ship greeting point Willkomm-Hoeft/Welcom point is a place at the Schulauer Ferryhouse in Schulau west Of Hamburg where ships which enters or leaves Hamburg Harbour are greeted.
Right in front of the ferryhouse there is the platform with huge loudspeakers, from which the ships are greeted. From a cabin next to the ferryhouse each incoming and outgoing ship is greeted by a captain with the help of a computer system. Ships with over 500 register tons and such, which leave German waters, in addition the national anthem of their homeland is played. Over 150 national anthems and greetings in nearly all languages of the world are saved on a hard disk.
In the meantime the Hamburg flag on the mast, which is 40 metres high, is dropped automatically from the cabin in order to greet the incoming and outgoing ships and the international signal for "Have a pleasant journey", “U and W” is hoisted. The respective ships answers the greeting by also dipping its flag.
The captain working at the ship welcoming station receives continuously the news about all motions on the Elbe from the nautical registration office of Hamburg called SMD and has therefore got good working conditions. Since the order of the incoming and outgoing ships can change from the SMD stations Hamburg Finkenwerder and/or Stader-Sand onwards, he nevertheless has to use his eyes, that-is-to-say he has to recognize the nationality of the approaching ship with the help of a magnifying glass in order to be able to choose the right anthem and flag.
Afterwards he provides the guests of the Ferryhouse with all kinds of information about the ship which has just been greeted with the help of loudspeakers, our more than 16.000 index cards and the daily harbour report being his main sources of information.
If a ship is not greeted from the loudspeakers but only by dipping the flag, it means that this ship is under 500 register tons or that it will not leave the German coast. These ships must not be greeted acoustically. It is also forbidden to greet ships before 8 AM or 8 PM and/or after sunset.
(Text from the homepage of the Schulauer ferryhouse)