What is a Selkie?

Selkie Definition:

From Websters:

sel·kie/ˈselkē/ noun SCOTTISH

  1. a mythical creature that resembles a seal in the water but assumes human form on land.

Selkies are mythological beings capable of changing from seal to human form by shedding their skin. They are found in folktales and mythology originating from the Northern Isles of Scotland. Although the term is Scottish, many cultures have parallel myths speaking to shape shifters from Scandinavia to Asia. Regardless, Selkies are irresistible to ordinary humans, who tend to easily fall in love with them.

“Kópakonan” selkie-statue, Mikladalur, Kalsoy, Faroe Islands. Photo attributed to Kallerna

Selkies are legendary in the stories told about them. The legend is popular with the coasts and islands of Scotland, Ireland and some of the Scandinavian countries, although the latter two most often call selkies the more familiar “mermaid”.

The story goes that if a human (usually a man desperate for love) finds the skin of a Selkie after it has come on land in human form, it cannot return to the sea and often the human that hid the skin marries the selkie.

Why we kept the name

When we were looking for a boat, we had thought of different names for the one we were to purchase. It’s like having a child and picking the right name. But when we found Selkie, we knew the name was very appropriate for our needs. After all, she is a water spirit that is beautiful and easy to fall in love with.

By Tad Sheldon

I'm a retired Silicon Valley Technologist and Director. I teach skiing as a 4th (5th? 6th?) career for fun, and am passionate about Boating. I'm even more passionate about my family and friends. I volunteer occasionally for non-profit Boards, and currently serve as the Secretary of the Board for Western Division of the Professional Ski Instructors of America / American Association of Snowboard Instructors.

3 replies on “What is a Selkie?”

This was so strange for me to read given the amount of time I have spent on Selkie. It’s still so surreal to know she is now part of someone else’s journey. But all of that being said, I am so happy she will has found her way to you and Libby. I’m looking forward to reading all about your travels.


Really appreciate all that Fritz and you did for her. I’m sure it does seem strange, but I’m glad I saw she was for sale and moved when we did. Best to Fritz!


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