Ammersee Paddler Herrsching


Built as recently as 2002 the Herrshing on the Ammersee, close to Munich, represents the ultimate design of the passenger excursion paddle steamer and is the model for which, if I had the money, I would base a new excursion paddle steamer for the UK.

On the main deck are dining saloons forward and aft served by a large kitchen on the lower deck aft.

Much of the promenade deck is covered with an awning to keep off either the rain or the sun but is otherwise open to enjoy the best of summer weather.

The vessel is powered by Diesel hydraulic machinery obviating the need for any skilled steam engineers. The ship also benefits from independently operated paddle wheels plus Shottel units in both the bow and stern thereby making her supremely manoeuvrable and editing out the need for any specialised paddle steamer handling skills.



Herrshing alongside at Herrshing loading up for the afternoon cruise around the lake calling at various small villages along the way.


The draft is just 1.6m


The foredeck with the hand operated windlass in the bow for the anchor.


Mooring the ship is executed without the use of a windlass in the bow and a capstan in the stern and is done by hand with small ropes put out using the bits on either side of the gangway loading position on the right of this picture.


Looking forward from the gangway loading position.


Looking aft from the bow.


The forward dining saloon can seat 50 at tables


The aft dining saloon can seat 80/100 at tables


The bar and servery admidships


Watch the paddle going round.


The promenade deck looking forward


The promenade deck can seat 90 at tables


The promenade deck bar and servery


Access to the promenade deck is by a companionway in the sponson thereby saving space in the centre of the ship.


Nothing quite beats a lovely wash from the paddles.


Anyone know the primary reason for a ship's bell? Answer: To ring when at anchor in fog.


A comfy seat for the captain with all controls to hand. Like pretty much all the UK domestic passenger vessels Herrshing operates with a one man bridge watch even at night.


Controls on the starboard bridge wing for the independently operated paddle wheels in the centre and the Shottel units either side.


Those who like long sea-going day trips on Waverley sometimes bemoan the lack of opportunity to get afloat these days but in truth the domestic passenger vessel market in the UK is very buoyant although the vessels are smaller and predominantly operate shorter trips on categorised waters with some limited coastal excursions on MCA Class VI Passenger Certificates.

Some of these operators build new so why not build new as a paddler?

The Herrshing is about 180ft long so is probably on the big side for most of these business models but how about a half size Herrshing, say under 100ft for the UK market? From enquiries I have made amongst yards which build new domestic passenger vessels for the UK market I think that you could get one at, say 80ft in length, for under 2million which is not a lot of money for a brand new paddle steamer to take us all into the 21st century.

Paddle Steamer books by John Megoran including the latest: British Paddle Steamers - The Twilight Years 


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