Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue

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The Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue (full Norwegian name Norsk Selskab til Skibbrudnes Redning NSSR, literally The Norwegian Society for the Rescue of the Shipwrecked) commonly shortened to Redningsselskapet is the only organization wholly dedicated to assisting people at sea along the extensive Norwegian coastline.

RS 103 Dagfinn Paust, Andenes Harbour 2004


The NSSR is a charity organization funded partly by membership fees, partly by donations, and partly by government subsidies. It employs around 280 staff, 950 volunteers, and has around 70.000 paying members. Pleasure craft owners can sign up for a "totalmedlemsskap" (Total Membership), a service and assistance package deal. The organization publishes the quarterly magazineRS-Magasinet.

The NSSR operates 48 craft stationed along the Norwegian coastline, as well as one each stationed on the lakes of Femunden and Mjøsa. 25 of the rescue craft along the coast are larger, permanently manned, sea-going, aluminium-hulled craft called redningskryssere (Rescue Cruisers). The other 25 are smaller craft called redningsskøyter (Rescue Skiffs) manned by voluntary redningskorps (Rescue Corps) in the summer months, when inshore demand increases enormously due to pleasure craft activity.

The organization's motto is "Trygg på sjøen" ("Safe at Sea").

The society's official mascot is Elias the Little Rescue Boat, who is the main character of an animated series on national television, books and merchandise.

Elias is used by local chapters of the society to teach children about safety at sea. The TV series were been nominated for best children's TV series in the Emmy Awards.


Inspired by the British RNLI, the NSSR was founded by the Kristiania Kjøbmannsforening (Kristiania Merchant's Association) in Kristiania (now Oslo) July 9th 1891, with the goal of increasing safety at sea by rescuing lives and property. The first rescue boat went into service in 1893.


The NSSR conducts around 6000 assistance missions and rescues on average 30 lives per year.


All NSSR craft names carry the prefix "RS" (for "Redningsskøyte") and a number. Until 1893 the NSSR used pilot craft designed by Colin Archer. The first boat purpose-built for the NSSR was RS 5 Liv, which was the result of a design competition won by Christian Stephansen. After some design changes by Colin Archer, the craft was built in 1893-1894. She served until 1934, rescuing 132 lives, saved 41 ships and assisted 1338 others.

The first ship class commisioned by the NSSR was the Colin Archer class, designed by Colin Archer but drawing heavily on experience from the work with "Liv". The first ship of the class, 'RS 1 Colin Archer was launched in 1894. It served until 1933, rescued 274 lives and 67 ships, and assisted 1522 ships.

The extremely rugged Colin Archer class sailing vessels became iconic in Norway, and to this day several of the class are used as private pleasure craft, or preserved in museums. The class is still popular today, and vessels are still built based on Archer's drawings.

An updated and motorized design by Bjarne Aas was launched in 1932, with RS 38 Biskop Hvoslef being the first in class.

Today the NSSR operates a wide variety of boats, from smaller RIB-type boats to 100-ton rescue cruisers. The newest class as of 2016 is the Petter C. G. Sundt class introduced in 2016.

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