In 1767 the Society for the Life Saving of Sailors was funded. The Society's purpose was to reward rescuers of sailors. At first only for inland actions, from 1822 also for coastal actions. In England the Royal Lifeboat Institution was funded in 1824 to reward lifsaving at sea. In the same year the North- and South-Holland Society for the rescue of sailors were funded. In 1838 directors of both societies instituted a non-wearable medal in silver and gold, from 1842 also in bronze. From 1890 medals were made wearable hanging on a ribbon with the colors of Rotterdam (the ribbon on the left is wrong).
The medal was designed by H. Rochussen. Obverse: A man carrying a rescued sailor in his arms. Left of the rescuer we see a sinking sailing vessel and another man in a raft. Right of the rescuer two other people caring for another victim. Reverse: A wreath of oakleaves covering a space for inscription. At the edge the text "Zuid-Hollandse Maatschappij tot redding van schipbreukelingen te Rotterdam". Diameter 54mm (medals with diameter 45mm are also known.