Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue
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The Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue (Redningsselskapet in Norwegian, commonly shortened to RS) is the only organization wholly dedicated to assisting people at sea along the extensive Norwegian coastline.
Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue is a charity organization funded partly by membership fees, partly by donations, and partly by government subsidies. It employs around 280 staff, 4200 volunteers, and has around 110.000 paying members. Pleasure craft owners can sign up for a "totalmedlemsskap" (Total Membership), a service and assistance package deal. The organization publishes the quarterly magazine RS-Magasinet.
The organization operates 50 vessels 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).
The organization's motto is "Ingen skal drukne" ("No one should drown").
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 Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue was founded by the Kristiania Kjøbmannsforening (Kristiania Merchant's Association) in Kristiania (now Oslo) July 9, 1891, with the goal of increasing safety at sea by rescuing lives and property. The first rescue boat went into service in 1893.
The organization conducts around 7500 missions and rescues on average 45 lives per year.
All vessels names carry the prefix "RS" (for "Redningsskøyte") and a number. Until 1893 the organization used pilot craft designed by Colin Archer. The first boat purpose-built for the organization 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 commissioned by the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue 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.
- Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution – Dutch equivalent
- Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer – French equivalent
- German Maritime Search and Rescue Service – German equivalent
- Royal National Lifeboat Institute – British equivalent
- Swedish Sea Rescue Society – Swedish equivalent
- Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue – West Coast Canadian equivalent
- National Sea Rescue Institute – South African equivalent
- Whitfords Volunteer Sea Rescue Group - One of the 3 last independent charitable lifeboat stations left in Western Australia after the others came under the government FESA umbrella (some coerced, some voluntarily), the group and the other two still face government pressure to be nationalised)
- Redningsselskapet - Official web page (in Norwegian)