Kuivastu Harbour history

The navigation between the mainland and the islands has taken place by sea through Virtsu and Kuivastu for centuries. The first information about Kuivastu Harbour’s existence dates back to 17th century. The regular connection was based on mail-boats what enabled transportation of goods and passengers. The order for the regular mail-boats came initially from the state authority of Sweden.

In the 17th century the task of keeping the connection between the mainland and Muhu Island was assigned to an inn situated in Virtsu Harbour. The inn kept six men for the job and their task was to carry passengers and goods over the strait in a big boat.

By 1794 Kuivastu Harbour had an operating post-station situated in a tavern.

The first real post-station was built in 1835.
To keep the communication, they had special type of ferryboats. It was a sailing boat – wide, 10-12 meters long, open from the upper part and with a relatively small draught. During the skate-connection time Kuivastu Harbour had a wooden quay (7 feet/2,13 meters deep).

In 1888 the first steamboat “Sirius” reached our waters. In 1902 the new ice-breaking steamer “General Surovtsev”(five times as powerful as the previous one) arrived in the strait. This event caused the expansion of the existing harbour. By 1903 the expansion of the quay was completed, the work was done by Jaan Schmuul from Koguva Village.

From the beginning of the 1920s the navigation between the mainland and the island was organised by Balti Päästeselts, later Sergo & Co’s coasters were added. Regardless of the efforts to make Kuivastu’s Harbour deeper and to reconstruct it, they failed to organise a working connection over the strait. For example the ice-breaker “Jüri Vilms” couldn’t come to the harbour for it was too low (3,3 meters).

After the Second World War the importance of Kuivastu Harbour rose. The harbour belonged to the Port of Tallinn. Immediately after the war the cargo was carried by a motor ship “Merkuri” and a ferry No 1.

From 1955 a passenger boat called “Morjak” was used. In 1956 a new type of ice-breaking ferry “Sõprus” was used, thereupon “Suurupi”, “Severodvinsk”, “Viimsi”.
It was not before 1974, when “Tehumardi” was put to work, when the permanent (no matter the weather) connection between Kuivastu and Virtsu was established.

In 1993 the new harbour building was completed.
In 1994 the administration of Kuivastu Harbour was assigned to RAS Saarte Liinid, formed by the Estonian Ministry of Transport and Communication.
The communication by sea is organised by AS Saaremaa Laevakompanii.
In 1997 a new ferry “Regula” (a ferry that at present meets all the requirements and standards) was put to use.

Since 1997 the harbour’s quay is extended, the port is made deeper, and new ramps are built.