From Rustic Fishing Boats to Steel Trawlers: The development of fishing vessels on the west coast of Sweden, 1850–1980

By Lennart Bornmalm & Lennart Bornmalm, published February 2022


The article describes the development of the design and construction of fishing vessels on the Swedish west coast. This was initially locally based and gradually turned into a general international design similar for vessels of northern Europe. The article presents the major steps in this development. Local fishing boat design lasted until at least the first half of the twentieth century for the countries around the North Sea. The British sailing trawlers influenced the construction of Norwegian and Danish trawlers in the early decades of the twentieth century but had no effect on the design of the Swedish vessels despite Swedish fishing companies buying a substantial number of sailing trawlers from Britain. There were considerable differences in terms of design and equipment between the Nordic countries up to the 1950s. The predominantly wooden hull constructions changed around 1960 and were increasingly replaced with steel hulls, and from the end of the 1970s the local features became almost erased. This was due to major design companies, primarily Norwegian, constructing the fishing vessels with standardized designs for the countries around the North Sea and built at specialized shipyards.

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Filed under: Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design | Whaling & Fishing

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