Tuesday 20 September 2022 at 5:30 p.m
laurel search – Last week there were temporarily two lifeboats at the KNRM station in Lauwersoog. At first glance, almost two identical boats, but nothing could be further from the truth.
De Riet and Jan van Wijk van IJmuiden lay next to the trusted lifeboat Annie Jacoba Visser. This is a prototype of eight new lifeboats to be built that KNRM has ordered. Lauwersoog station is one of the stations that will get a new boat in mid-2024.
De Riet and Jan van Wijk undergo extensive testing at all eight stations with the aim of incorporating the crew’s findings into the final design. Lauwersoog station, for example, is the only KNRM station where the lifeboat is in the salt water 24/7, where other stations launch the boat with a hoist or launch it on the beach with a bouncer truck. The current lifeboat Annie Jacoba Visser is a Valentijn class boat and was built in June 1993. The new lifeboat to be built is a Van Wijk class type, has a length of 11.45 meters and has a price tag of around € 1,200,000.
What you immediately notice is that the boat has more space on the aft deck and has a hydraulic valve on the aft deck. With this valve, drowning persons who must be boarded horizontally can be boarded more comfortably than the current method. At present, drowning persons are still turned sideways on board in a net.
In recent days, passengers at KNRM station Lauwersoog have been able to test the boat version. For example, the engines are much quieter and many more modern techniques have come on board. With the strong winds and high waves of recent days, the boat took a lot of damage during the exercises. It is not yet known what Lauwersoog’s new boat will be called. Usually the name is associated with a donor who leaves a large donation or legacy to KNRM.
With 75 lifeboats along the coast, KNRM is available day and night for emergencies at sea. The lifeboats vary in length from 5 to 20 metres. A large part of these boats can even be used at wind force 12. For these reasons, these ships must meet the highest requirements and be in top condition. The current liferaft contains lifeboats from 1991 and later. So the oldest is almost 30 years old. The ships are good, but maintenance costs are increasing and the risk of failure is increasing. Time for a replacement plan of a challenging scale.
KNRM is a rescue organization that exists solely thanks to volunteers. On the one hand the volunteer crews, on the other the donors who support KNRM with a voluntary contribution. The rescue work is free and is paid for by donations from rescuers and donors. KNRM has been doing this since 1824 without government subsidies, but it fulfills its role for the government and especially for everyone who walks on the water.
Director Jacob Tas is extremely proud of this: “Our current life raft is fully paid for by large donations and legacies from highly involved individuals and companies. Out of gratitude, the lifeboats therefore bear the name of the donor. We hope to be able to do the same with future lifeboats. The financing of part of the new lifeboats to be built has already been promised, sometimes in a will, but also through a large donation from a donor. We call them our saviors in the country. The first new lifeboats have already been built and will be operational in 2021.
The total replacement plan of 75 lifeboats costs more than 5.5 million euros per year for 15 years. KNRM is convinced that this money can be raised within the next 15 years, but it requires recruitment campaigns and activities. KNRM is thus investing in the future of a safe sailing area in the Netherlands.
Jacob Tas is happy about this important decision: “To seafarers and sailors, we are obliged to use all our resources to help and rescue when necessary. We are committed to providing our volunteer lifeguards on the lifeboats with the best equipment so they can sail safely and get home safely.”