It would be wrong to regard the Rhine’s numerous ferries merely as a means of transport. They are quite an institution in their own right and are as much a part of the Rhine valley as the castles and the wine. They have a long tradition: the ferryman’s profession has existed on the Rhine since medieval times.
There were once treacherous shallows and underwater rocks here and only a person with a profound knowledge of the river could be sure to get his passengers to the other side, safe and sound. Skill and experience are still required today, as the ferries operate on one of Europe's busiest shipping routes.
The Rhine is an important inland waterway and still plays a significant role as a transport route. The boats and ferries are not simply nostalgic relics of a past era, but an integral part of everyday life on the Rhine today. Bridges are few and far between in this part of the world and are concentrated in the region around Koblenz, but further up and downstream the ferries are a typical part of the local scene.