Today it is a matter of course to cross over to the mainland quickly and according to a regular timetable. In contrast, it used to be very difficult for the people of Pellworm to reach the mainland. The exciting history of the Pellworm shipping company NPDG is described in an entertaining way in the book
"From paddle steamer to motor ship".
The poor transport links to the mainland led to the citizens of Pellworm founding their own shipping company, the "Pellwormer Dampfschiffsreederei", out of necessity in 1872. At the start, the second-hand paddle steamer "Husum" was acquired and christened "Pellworm".
Disputes with the Reichspost in Berlin over the increase in the annual flat rate to 850 RM for mail transport to Pellworm led to the "Pellwormer Dampfschiffsreederei" being dissolved. On 16 May 1902, the "Neue Pellwormer Dampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft" was founded by citizens of Pellworm. It succeeded the first Pellworm steamship shipping company from 1872.
When the "Neue Pellwormer Dampfschiffahrts GmbH" was founded in 1902, a new "Pellworm" was also built, which was propelled by coal and steam using two screws. This new technology was better suited to navigating the waters around the North Sea island of Pellworm than the old paddle wheel drive. A tugboat was also built in the same year, which could be hooked behind the ship to transport livestock if necessary.
In July 1930, the first motorised ship with diesel propulsion was put into operation and again christened "Pellworm". This "Pellworm" travelled from the North Sea island of Pellworm to Husum on a regular ferry service until 1966. Until the mid-1960s, Husum was the mainland harbour for the people of Pellworm. The ships travelled there in about 2.5 hours.
Until then, travelling to the mainland was a time-consuming affair for the people of Pellworm, which had to be planned well in advance.
Only every fortnight or so was it possible to take a boat trip with an 8-hour stopover in Husum to do the shopping, run errands or visit the doctor. This tour was called a "long day". The term is still used today by the old inhabitants of Pellworm.
Normally, a return journey was offered every day in one tide. The stopover in Husum was a whole 30 minutes. During this time, the cargo had to be unloaded and reloaded. No trips were offered on Saturdays, Sundays or public holidays.
The transport connection from the North Sea island of Pellworm to the mainland was significantly improved when the harbour at Strucklahnungshörn on Nordstrand was put into operation in 1966. After completion of the new jetty, the crossing only took about 1 hour.
The onward journey from Strucklahnungshörn to Husum is still made by bus today.
In 1965, the shipping company set the course for the future with the construction of a car ferry and passenger ship: the first car ferry MS "PELLWORM" was launched in May 1966. Cars and lorries were now transported according to the roll-on roll-off principle. The capacity of this first ferry was 4 lorries, 6 cars and 200 passengers in summer and 150 in winter.
Due to a steady increase in traffic, the shipping company repeatedly decided to build modernised ferries in the following years from 1970 to 1988.
The breakthrough in the transport connection between the North Sea island of Pellworm and the mainland came in 1992 with the construction of the deep-water jetty on Pellworm. An approx. 2 kilometre long causeway was built from Tammensiel outside the island into the mudflats.
Equipped with modern handling facilities, buildings and car parks, the Pellworm deep-water jetty enables a largely tide-free sailing schedule. The crossing time has been reduced to approx. 35 minutes. At every ferry departure and arrival time, a free shuttle bus takes passengers to the deep-water jetty or from the jetty to the main town of Tammensiel.
The regular ferry connections to the mainland are a great improvement both for the people of Pellworm and for tourism on the island.
The current owners of the NPDG shipping company are more than 100 shareholders, most of whom live on the North Sea island of Pellworm. The managing director of Neue Pellwormer Dampfschiffahrts GmbH is Sven Frener.