The harbour in Ry is used by many river and lakecraft, including tour boats owned by the Hjejle Company, which during the entire summer sails between Ry, Himmelbjerget (or Sky Mountain) and Silkeborg.
The history of the Hjejle Company dates back to 1859. Encouraged by factory-owner Michael Drewsen, 21 men from Silkeborg and the surrounding area wanted to buy a steam boat for the Silkeborg lakes. The idea was that the steam boat would stimulate the incipient tourist trade, as well as ease the connection between Silkeborg and the surrounding areas.
Two years later, the 21 men were ready to hold the company’s first general meeting. Michael Drewsen informed the members that the requisite money of 5,000 rix-dollars was assured and that a contract had been made with Baumgarten and Burmeister in Copenhagen for a steam ship costing 10,000 rix-dollars. The remaining 5,000 rix-dollars were provided by a Government loan, which Michael Drewsen had been guaranteed by his good friend King Frederik the Seventh.
The Hjejlen sailed under her own steam from Copenhagen to Randers. From here she was drawn, with some difficulty, up the River Gudenå to Silkeborg. Here, another hindrance had to be overcome -- the dam at Remstrup Å (or stream). But, on Wednesday 19 June 1861, the Hjejlen embarked on her first trial from Silkeborg to Ry Mill and back again. Since then, she continued doing so for almost another 60 years.
As Ry began to grow, the citizens started to organize themselves, and in 1895 the Håndværker- og Borgerforening (the Artisan and Citizen Association) was established. Thanks to the railway and the Hjejlen, tourism had become a great asset to the town, leading to the establishment in 1906 of Ry and District Tourist Association in order to encourage foreign visitors and promote the tourist trade in Ry and its vicinity. Later, the first tourist agency opened in the town’s bookstore.
In 1920, the Artisan and Citizen Association established a harbour area with space for small boats – and this was the beginning of Ry Marina. At the same time, sailing trips between Ry and Himmelbjerget were transferred to a new company, Ry Turistbåde (Ry Tourist craft). The company’s first boat, M/S Turisten, was built at Siimtoften and authorized to carry 70 passengers.
In 1975, M/S Turisten was sold to a private owner, but in the 1990s, The Freshwater Museum in Ry noticed it and asked the Danish Ship Preservation Trust to evaluate the ship. As it proved to be worthy of preservation, the museum bought and restored the ship, renamed it Gl. Turisten, and now uses to for educational trips for up to 30 passengers at a time.
In 2008, Ry Turistbåde was taken over by Hjejle Company.