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The Iron Coast

In the old days the west coast was called the iron coast. The reason was that the water near the coast is shallow, the currents are unpredictable, and there were no harbours where ships could seek shelter in case of bad weather. Many ships were wrecked or stranded along the west coast.

Ships would keep a good distance to the coast in case of westerly winds, and in a book for pilots from 1866 it says that “This coast is an iron coast, without harbours or places of shelter, why ships must generally stay away from it except in case of offshore winds.”

In 1847 the first rescue boats and rocket equipment came to this coast and in 1852 a national rescue system with boats and rockets was organized. The rockets could shoot a wire out to a grounded ship so that it was possible to establish a rescue system of wires. The sailors could then be hauled ashore in a breeches buoy.

Even today there are several old wrecks in the sea near the coast near Thyborøn. They bear witness to the many losses and wrecks in earlier times. You can also see the rescue stations and houses for the rescue boats. They tell the story of the fantastic efforts of local fishermen to save the lives of sailors on wrecked ships.