DuroWipers in testing for Dutch national lifeboats KNRM

Building on its reputation as a renowned supplier to the UK RNLI Shannon Class lifeboat, DuroWipers has secured an order to kit out one newbuild search & rescue vessel for the Dutch equivalent, The Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution (KNRM).

The order comes from Habbeké Shipyard which has ordered three DuroWipers 60 Class for its newbuild KNRM 18m Valentijn RIB. The yard has so far built 17 of KNRM’s 18 Valentijn RIBs, of which two will now be equipped with DuroWipers for testing.

Noel Gould, CEO, DuroWipers, said: “It’s clear that our reputation precedes us in the global search and rescue sector. The Class 60 wipers will help the KNRM achieve everything it needs to too when it comes to safety and efficiency and improve its environmental credentials too.”

The Class 60 is designed for the high-speed vessels where space and weight are limited, but high performance is required. It uses a 5mm frame with two main drive bearings similar to the Class 80 giving added strength for vessels combating heavy water.

Road testing

Hans van der Molen, technical department manager, KNRM, said that KNRM is currently evaluating whether DuroWipers are a good solution going forward for its Valentijn and Valentijn 2000 class.

“Other wipers have a much shorter lifespan, DuroWipers are more expensive but much better quality,” he said.

“KNRM is evaluating the DuroWipers for use on our coastal lifeboats, due to a positive experience with DuroWipers on our Nh1816 prototype lifeboat. We expect they will outperform the current wipers especially when taking “green” water.”

Why DuroWipers

Central to DuroWipers specification in most cases are the common issues of the environment and sustainability.

End users are buying into the concept that buying cheap is often environmentally irresponsible because the of replacement costs and the impact on the environment.

DuroWipers offers a ten-year guarantee on its wipers for the RNLI and a lifetime guarantee on its products to the Royal Navy. For commercial operators it offers a free warranty for three years, above and beyond the usual 12-month standard.

This is DuroWiper’s real selling point because it means no need for any spares or maintenance costs, so its products are much better for the environment.

Habbeké built

Habbeké has a long association with the KNRM.

Over and above building its 18 Valentijn RIB life boats, it is now actively expanding the range in cooperation with several architects including De Vries Lentsch and DSMG.

So far, a series of “Valentijn-like” vessels have been built such as FRC903 and the Crewtender.

In 2000, the Valentijn design was modified by making the boats slightly longer, a larger work deck at the stern was created and the wheelhouse now provides more comfort to the crew. But the most significant difference is that the Valentijn 2000 class is fully self-righting.

As well as safety though, a large part of the motivation behind the development of the next gen lifeboats for KNRM was a need to adhere to EU environmental regulation to reduce noise and vibration and achieve more efficient maintenance.

The Valentijn is designed by W. de Vries Lentsch and is based upon the early design work of the UK lifeboat designer David Stockton, who was one of the earlier specialists in the design and application of RIBs.

Next Shannon lifeboat


Back to the RNLI Shannon Class build programme in the UK and the latest vessel to be equipped with DuroWipers pantographs will be Barmouth’s brand new RNLI Shannon lifeboat, the Ella Larsen, delivered on 10 March 2019.

After further crew training, the vessel will take over from the station’s Mersey class all-weather (ALB) lifeboat the Moira Barrie which has looked after lifesaving in Cardigan Bay for over 26 years.

The new boat will be officially named in a ceremony at the station planned for 8 June 2019.

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