The Shetland Fourareen

The sea was the road upon which every Shetlander travelled; and this type of boat, until 60 years or so ago, was the family car of its day.

Fourareen simply means a four-oared boat. These boats were designed to be sailed as well as rowed. Each coastal dwelling family (the majority of families) owned a fourareen. 


The rig was originally a square sail, then by the 19th century the dipping lug was the main rig of choice. These boats were used for all aspects of archipelago life. For example: commercial and subsistence fishing; moving goods and livestock between islands; shopping; visiting family and friends; going to  church; and for recreation.