Moder Dy 

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Moder dy, a dialect phrase meaning mother wave, was the term used to describe the underlying swell of the sea which experienced haaf-men (small open boat deep sea fishermen of the mid 19th century) could detect and used to guide them to land.


Our Aims

Shetland's coastal archaeology is being lost to rising sea levels and increasingly violent storm events. Shetland’s waterborne history and knowledge is also being eroded by time and changes in lifestyle. Moder Dy has been formed to:



  • Use Shetland’s coastal archaeology to raise awareness of  climate change and associated environmental issues.


  • Protect, preserve, and bring to life Shetland's everyday maritime heritage. Utilising community research programmes, workshops, and events to portray a more complete narrative of Shetland’s relationship with the sea.


  • Work with our partners to record and interpret Shetland’s at risk coastal archaeology.


  • Support the continuation of traditional Shetland boat building and boat handling skills.


Making a Difference


At Moder Dy we love sharing our expertise and knowledge. We are therefore delighted to be able to offer you carefully crafted, and engaging, not-for-profit maritime heritage workshops and events. You will be delighted to know, that whilst you are having a good time learning about Shetland's unique maritime heritage you are also helping to fund the provision of our maritime heritage schools and community outreach programmes!

Traditional skills

Moder Dy works with Shetland Amenity Trust to support the continuation of traditional Shetland wooden clinker boatbuilding and boat use.

Working with artists

We embrace an interdisciplinary approach to Shetland's coastal maritime heritage, and enjoy working with artists from a variety of practice backgrounds. 

Available Now


Reports, presentations, and papers. View abstracts for free, full documents will shortly be available in exchange for a small contribution to our funds.


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©2019, Moder Dy is a UK registered Community Interest Company - SC613493. All rights reserved.