Until the early 1700’s, life on the Darß as on the Fischland was marked with deprivation and isolation The inhabitants of the peninsula did not exactly make a great living from their fishing, handicrafts, forest work, and laborious farming on poor sandy soil.
As fishermen, they were familiar with the sea, always built seaworthy boats, later expanding to larger sailing ships and ventured out ever further. The first trips were limited to the Baltic Sea region, where they always sailed within sight of the coast.
By 1700, there were already 13 merchant vessels based on the Darß, including five in Prerow. They brought wood and peat to Wismar, herring in the spring to Lübeck and Malmö, wood to Copenhagen, and grain to Sweden. The cargo sent out from the Darß consisted predominantly of wood, sand, carrots and fish; but also horses, geese, potatoes, beans, salt and grain were shipped as commercial cargo.
The Fischland and Darß maritime trade continued to grow until reaching its height in the mid-19th century, by which time about 90 % of the men made their livelihood at sea. They were considered reliable and brave sailors and by then were sailing all the world’s oceans. The Darß-Museum has many artefacts from this rich time in the peninsula's history on display.