The Next Generation Lifeboat: the 1816 Class

by Hans | October 10th, 2012

KNRM and Damen Shipyards sign contract for construction of revolutionary lifeboat

The Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution – KNRM – enjoys a reputation for excellence in maritime search and rescue. It operates in one of the world’s busiest locations, the North Sea, where over a thousand ships sail in any given 24 hours. To be able to cover all the emergency situations that arise within its area of operations, the KNRM has a dense coastal coverage of 44 lifeboat stations, all equipped with fast, all weather, self-righting lifeboats: one of the most modern and rugged fleets anywhere. Now, the fleet will be expanded with the NH 1816 Class.

 The KNRM’s response time and service performance (average time to rescue location) are probably the highest of any SAR organisation around the globe, and at a relatively low cost. More improvements are on the way, however: the KNRM is proud to announce the next generation of fast all weather lifeboats: the NH 1816 Class. On-scene Coordination Search & Rescue vessel Working with a group of some of the best Dutch marine experts – TU Delft, TNO, Marin, Damen Shipyards and De Vries Lentsch Naval Architects – the KNRM has created the concept of an advanced ‘on-scene coordination search and rescue vessel’. Principal innovations in hull design, ergonomics, communications and navigation systems, along with many other new features will give the NH 1816 Class far superior capabilities to any conventional lifeboat. Speed, range, efficiency, seaworthiness and safety are all aspects that have been fundamentally improved in this design, not to mention significant upgrades in crew comfort and ease of maintenance. Vertical g-forces -45% The NH 1816 Class lifeboat – named after its sponsor, De Noordhollandsche 1816 – is a self-righting, fast, seaworthy monohull with aluminium hull, composite wheelhouse and a modified Sea Axe Bow which cuts through waves, reducing vertical g-forces by 45% and enabling top speeds of over 30 knots, radically transforming seaworthiness. The Sea Axe was originally designed by prof. Lex Keuning (Delft University of Technology) and Damen Shipyards Group. Currently, the patented bow is used predominantly in Damen Fast Crew Suppliers, High Speed Support Vessels, Offshore Patrol Vessels and Fast Yacht Support vessels. In addition to the Axe Bow, the NH 1816 is outfitted with retractable rear fins that can be lowered for more course stability, or raised to give extra manoeuvrability. In the wheelhouse, state-of-the-art fully integrated electronics permit real-time data exchange for ship-to-shore communications (an earlier version of this system is already approved by the RNLI in the UK). Crew working conditions have been considerably enhanced by not only limiting the “slamming” motion of the vessel, but also by a host of ergonomic features, such as specialised chairs, climate control, improved visibility and reduced vibration and noise levels. The vessel’s dimensions are generous, giving extra space not only on deck, which can accommodate 125 people, but also in the engine room. This gives staff better access to machinery, improving maintenance conditions and effectiveness. Export Construction of the first NH 1816 Class vessel will start by the end of 2012, with the launch scheduled for the third quarter of 2013. Following sea trials, the KNRM will be offering NH 1816 Class lifeboats to other SAR and coastguard operations. They will be constructed by Damen Shipyards and its affiliates. VIDEO A video, ‘The next generation KNRM lifeboat NH 1816’ is available at youtube.com – click on: www.youtube.com/knrm

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