The vessel is used for search and rescue operations, fast response and for security and patrol. Crew safety is of major importance and is enhanced in this design. The composite hull reduces noise levels. Specialized Jockey seats provide the crew with maximum comfort. Excellent manoeuvrability due to retractable fins for course stability (down) or extreme manoeuvrability (up) ensures the captain to pick up a survivor with utmost care.
One year of testing and real time sailing has provided Damen Shipyards and KNRM with valuable insights based on both feedback of rescue crews with years of experience and test results. The design is optimized by cutting of the wing shape of the fender and by reducing the radius of the bow by 50%. Aerodynamic model tests are used. More tests are set up to maintain implementation of improvements.
The SAR 1906 (KNRM NH 1816 class) rescue boat is a self-righting, fast, seaworthy monohull with aluminium hull and composite wheelhouse. Its modified Sea Axe Bow 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 additional steering stability, or raised to give extra manoeuvrability. In the wheelhouse, state-of-the-art fully integrated electronics permit real-time data exchange of ship-to-shore communications (an earlier version of this system was previously 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.