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Lifbåt (Lifeboat) 416 at Skanör Harbor



In 1879 the governmental sea rescue-organisation, administrated by the Royal Swedish Pilot Board, established a rescue station at Skanör for the purpose of assisting stranded and wrecked ships in the shallow waters surrounding the peninsula of Falsterbo.


The newly established rescue station was equipped with a lifeboat from the rescue station at Viken, which at that time was closed. The lifeboat was of a pulling and sailing type. This lifeboat with all its gear was lying on a four-wheeled horse drawn carriage and garaged in a bricklayed boathouse in the centre of the village, adjacent to the residential house of the chief pilot in charge. The harbour of  Skanör was constructed only in year 1881, two years later than the rescue station itself. The chief pilot was in charge of the rescue station. The crew was contracted among villagers accustomed to the sea. Neighbouring farmers were enrolled to provide horses for and to drive the carriage to a suitable place of the beach for launching the lifeboat into the water.


In 1882, the rescuing stations in Skanör and Helsingborg exchanged boats. The rescue station in Helsingborg had been established in 1876 and a lifeboat was added thereto. This boat, Lifbåt 416, was a gift to King Karl XV and the Swedish people. The sender was James Gunston Chillingworth of the renowned wine firm W Chillingworth & Son in London, also Queen Victoria's court supplier. On the first of December 1868, the steamship Dido arrives from Hull in England to Gothenburg with a complete lifeboat on a wagon with all peripheral equipment. After spending the winter in Gothenburg, she arrives at Karlskrona naval base where she is immediately tested in every way with impressive results. She then lies in Karlskrona for eight years until 1876 when she is assigned to the new rescue station in Helsingborg.

In 1896 and in 1898 the lifeboats were again shifted between the station at Skanör and Helsingborg , so the English built lifeboat was stationed at Skanör until she was taken out of service.


According to the historical documentation found in the archives at Lund one can conclude that the Royal Swedish Pilot Board around 1910 applied an overall identification by numbering each of the lifeboats in Sweden and the lifeboat stationed at Skanör was numbered 416.


In December 1939 lifeboat 416 completed her last call when trying to assist a German vessel that had run aground east of Trelleborg. At this last mission the horses, four in hand, were replaced by a truck and 416 was never launched because another crew had already rescued the German crew.


In 1941 a lifeboat equipped with motor replaced lifeboat 416 and a new boathouse with slipway was constructed at Skanör harbour.


The retired lifeboat 416 was donated to the Museum of Falsterbo and from summer 1946, 416 with carriage, was exhibited just outside the museum.


Skanör rescue station ceased service 1958. According to statistics the record of lifesaving’s showed 80 people during her period of service. 




Lifeboat 416 is of a design, which was built in great numbers, ordered by the British Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The design was approved in 1851 as a result of a design competition targeting the most appropriate lifeboat design.

The feature of this lifeboat design is that the boat is self-draining, self-righting and unsinkable.


Watertight compartments fore and aft and an outer iron-keel give her the self-righting capability.


The design of the self-draining system includes a deck above waterline and six vertically fitted delivering tubes, each equipped with a self-acting valve.


Separate air-cases placed in compartments under and above deck made the lifeboat unsinkable. The air-cases made for 416 are built of wood and covered with canvas before final coating.


The boat was built with double skin of cross diagonal planking, which give her the capacities of endurance and of withstanding very rough sea. Between the outer and inner planking a layer of impregnated calico-cloth is fitted. The planking is made of mahogany.


Messrs. Forrestt & Son of Limehouse in London built lifeboat 416 with a data of


Length over all of 9.8 m (equal to 32 ft)


Depth 0,5 m


Breadth 2.30 m


Displacement approx. 3,5 tons


Carrying capacity 36 persons


The lifeboat 416 carries 10 oarsmen and one coxman and can be rigged with two masts. Total sailarea is 20 squaremeters consisting of jib, main sail and mizzen. Main and mizzen are lug sails.




Having been parked adjacent to Falsterbo Museum in more than 45 years lifeboat 416 was in very bad condition. The year 1991 the Board of the Museum decided to restore the lifeboat to a standard of full seaworthiness, if possible, thereby allowing 416 to be exposed in lifelike conditions to the visitors of Skanör harbour area.


November 1991 lifeboat 416 was sent to boatbuilders Lind & Son of Smygehamn in Sweden, who specialise in repairing wooden boats.  She was undergoing a total restoration to the given standard and in April 1992 she was relaunched and sailed back to the harbour of Skanör.



During the time of restoration of lifeboat 416 a team of villagers accustomed to the sea, like in the old days, was recruited and undertook to maintain the lifeboat and her traditions in lifelike conditions.


During summer, 1st of May to end of September, 416 is to be found in Skanör harbour, either moored at any chosen place in the harbour, ashore on her carriage in the quay area or in the recently specially built bricklayed boathouse.


Roddarelaget does regular training in rowing and sailing and in-between lifeboat 416 and her crew take part in marine activities at different occasions.

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