The Puck Harbour – A New National Challenge
Free (open access)
A. F. Komorowski & A. Komorowski
One of the oldest Polish harbours – Puck harbour – has experienced in its development a lot of changes connected with the adaptation of its own main functions to the requirements of succeeding periods of history. Its geographical location, far inside the sheltered Puck Bay (Sinus Bautzensis) has existed from the beginning of the early Middle Ages, where it was a harbour and base for local fishermen. This function as a harbour prevailed through many ages, as found in archaeological studies showing the oldest Puck harbour dating from VIth – Xth century where it covered an area of 12 ha. Today, much of the original parts are under water at a depth of 1,5–4,4 m. Erected at a later time and southwards from the Middle Age Harbour, the fishing port exists till this day although several modernizations have been made. Apart from the fishing port functions we can distinguish several others important stages in the development of the city. A little later in the Middle Ages the Puck harbour played a role as a commercial port, with cargo handling and the exportation of wood and agricultural products. The proximity of the big harbour in Gdansk caused the influential inhabitants of Gdansk to repeatedly block the Puck harbour development and, in particular, confined its commercial functions. The pride of Puck harbour was the repeated honourable role of being the main base of the Polish Navy. In the years 1517–1522 the privateer (kaper) ships based in Puck, the nucleus of the Polish fleet, provided the king’s safe conduct. In 1567 the king Zygmunt August moved to Puck, the main maritime base, where the new privateer fleet’s ships were built. This project was continued also by king Wladyslaw IV, who strengthened the fortifications and organized the Polish fleet. The next time that Puck became the main Polish fleet base was in the period 1920–1926 when ships and hydroplanes were stationed there. In 1926, after the transition of the main fleet base to Gdynia, the Maritime Wing remained in Puck until 1939, which had at its disposal several small basins with land subsidiaries and a few different types of hydroplanes. From 1960 Puck started to develop its function as a sailing base, which nowadays dominates its activities and the new port for sport yachts was created. Research has shown that the location of Puck harbour has changed over past years, with its location having moved from the estuary of Plutnica more and more into a south easterly direction, but there is still room for many floating units. The newest, evolutionary plans for Puck harbour indicate its early transformation into a large marina with the aim of providing adequate sports and recreation sailing facilities. In this latter function we can foresee new sailing problems. Keywords: historic port, sailing history, harbour development.
historic port, sailing history, harbour development.