OCTOBER 10, 2012 — The Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution (KNRM), has developed an advanced "on-scene coordination search and rescue vessel," the NH 1816 Class.
The NH1816 is a self-righting, fast, seaworthy monohull with aluminum hull, composite wheelhouse and a modified Sea Axe bow which cuts through waves, reducing vertical g-forces by 45 percent and enabling top speeds of over 30 knots.
The Sea Axe bow was originally designed by Professor Lex Keuning of Delft University of Technology and Damen Shipyards Group. Currently, the patented bow has been mostly used in Damen fast crew boats, 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 maneuverability.
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 U.K.).
Crew working conditions have been enhanced by limiting the slamming motion of the vessel and by ergonomic features that include specialized seating, 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.
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. The vessels will be constructed by Damen Shipyards and its affiliates.