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The snekkja (or snekke), meaning "snakes", because the ships were long and sleek, were typically the smallest longship used in warfare and was classified as a ship with at least 20 rowing benches. A typical snekkja might have a length of 17 m (56 feet), a width of 2.5 m (8.2 feet), and a draught of only 0.5 m (1.6 feet). It would carry a crew of around 41 men (40 oarsmen and one cox).

Snekkjas were one of the most common types of ship. According to Viking lore, Canute the Great used 1,200 in Norway in 1028,.

The Norwegian snekkjas, designed for deep fjords and Atlantic weather, typically had more draught than the Danish model designed for low coasts and beaches. Snekkjas were so light that they had no need of ports—they could simply be beached, and potentially even carried across a portage.

The snekkjas continued to evolve after the end of the Viking age, with later Norwegian examples becoming larger and heavier than Viking age ships. A modern version is still being used in Norway, and are now called snekke.