Sebastian schanz& markus klein it’s the job of a local newspaper to make things right. That’s why this year the frankischer tag wanted to set course for the sandkerwa in its own amphibious vehicle. On monday afternoon, our captain bernhard fischenich was supposed to launch his swimming car – bright red like a rubber boat – into the water and sail towards the marquee. The FT sailors sailed around all the bureaucratic maelstroms and shallows in a months-long approval process. At last, the road is clear! But like so many good ideas, this one has a hitch – at least. And this time it was on the fishing rod: the lower boatmen’s and fishermen’s guild complained about the last printer – and the amphibian tour thus fell through shortly before the start.
But not those of michael stoschek. Without his pioneering work we would never have come up with the idea for the trip. As is well known, the chairman of the shareholders’ meeting of the brose company has been driving his VW float across the regnitz river to the sandkerwa for several years now. However, there is no complaint from the fishermen’s guild against his trip. Why? "We don’t want this to become a regular thing and then the next one and the next one come along.", says a member of the guild and the kropf fishing family, who does not want to read his first name in the newspaper. Another mr. Kropf sees the water quality in danger: "with amphibious vehicles, oil and other lubricants always get into the water", he explains. "And there are sensitive biotopes here." The regnitz is becoming more and more heavily burdened. "Fish used to be plentiful here, but now they are dying out and we have to release them. We’re throwing a lot of money into the water for it."
But why then no complaint against stoscheck’s captain ambitions?? That had existed. He himself complained twice on the first trips, says the second kropf. However unsuccessfully. Stoschek had ridden on the water without registration or permission in 2012 and 2013, and in 2015 the city had even considered the action an administrative offense, but left it at a warning. In 2016, the entrepreneur got the green light because he ordered a functionary of the red cross – and the ride thus got an official touch. After the kerwa break in 2017, the burocratic waves were already much quieter in 2018. "It can be approved if there is a special event. And that is definitely the case with the sandkerwa", explained city spokeswoman ulrike siebenhaar at the time and added: "in principle, anyone else can also apply to come with their amphibious vehicle."
Weeks until the permit
At the gabelmann and all klabautermanners! As sailors on the FT flagship, we wanted to put this sentence to the test. The first problem, however, is that amphibious vehicles aren’t exactly standing around on every corner waiting to be borrowed. Drivers certainly not – because for such dangers you need a sport boat driver’s license. And as michael stoschek had already explained in the past, only very few owners of a rare float dare to use it in the water.
That’s when bernhard fischenich came to our attention: ex-managing director at FTE automotive in ebern, motor vehicle expert, classic car enthusiast, amphibious vehicle driver. A man made for this mission. The 72-year-old has already conquered the rhine, main, weser and mosel rivers at the wheel of his amphicar with its water-cooled 4-cylinder four-stroke engine. Now it is heading for the regnitz. "I already wanted to drive in 2018, when i read that anyone can apply for a ride. But I was put off by the bureaucracy." When the FT came knocking, fischenich didn’t hesitate for a second and said yes. Exactly two months ago, the adventure started dry as dust with an application to the city of bamberg. "As part of the application process, a large number of specialist agencies and affected third parties have to be consulted", explained ralf haupt, as order officer on the MS bamberg something like a nautical officer.
The approval procedure was quite complex: in addition to the nature conservation and immission control departments of the town hall, the water management office in kronach, the water protection police and the district’s fisheries department were also involved, as were the public order department, the sandkerwa veranstaltungs gmbh, the folding boat club, the canoe service and the gondoliers. A permit agreement also had to be concluded with the state of bavaria. The authorities demanded a description of the planned route, detailed information on the time schedule, a precise description of the entry and exit point with a site plan, exclusion of damage to shorelines worthy of protection, data on the vehicle and driver including a copy of the sport boat driver’s license, a current technical test report showing that the vehicle cannot cause any water pollution.
At the last point, the fishermen saw the hook – and snatched at it. For although after eight weeks of fishing in the murky waters of the bureaucracy, the nine-page "water and shipping law exemption permit" was actually issued, it was not enough fluttered in the mailbox and the ride for monday, 26. August, at 16 o’clock was approved, the fishermen’s guild doubted the expert opinion with a complaint. Because this was issued by the sworn expert bernhard fischenich – at the same time captain and owner of the FT-amphibia.
His previous trips with this vehicle have always been approved. But this time the expert opinion has to be reviewed again. The result does not make anyone wet anymore, because there will be none before monday. It all sounds like adventurous sailor’s yarn, but it’s the dry truth. Luckily we are not built too close to the water.