PALFINGER has designed a state-of-the-art Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB) prototype for the Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution, the KNRM. The prototype is the first of the twelve boats ordered in 2022. To mark the official start of the building process,...

In early 2022, PALFINGER was awarded a contract by the Koninklijke Nederlands Redding Maatschappij (KNRM) for twelve custom-built Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIB), which will assist the organization in their future rescue operations. With the keel laying ceremony last Friday, PALFINGER and the KNRM announced the start of the production phase in Dronrijp, the Netherlands, where the robust hull of the first prototype will be produced.

Prototyping at its best

PALFINGER MARINE’s rigid inflatable boats are specifically designed for fast interventions in the roughest sea conditions. Working closely together with the Dutch rescue organization, PALFINGER has developed the prototype for a new series of 7.5-meter-long, twin outboard aluminum RHIBs. The new design incorporates both optimized seating ergonomics for the crew as well as a better performance in terms of stability and viewing lines. Arnoud Straakenbroek, Global Sales Director Governmental & Professional Boats and Davits at PALFINGER about the project: “So far, we look back at a very successful collaboration between PALFINGER and the KNRM. More than 120 design decisions resulted in a high-performing, customized prototype of our new RHIB series. The keel-laying ceremony strengthened the ties further and fueled our excitement as we are taking the next steps in the project – constructing and testing the prototype, followed by the production of the remaining eleven boats”.

Tradition meets modern boat construction

The tradition of keel laying is said to bring good luck to the boat during construction and to the captain and crew during its lifespan. The KNRM named the new boat class Chaterina D, after the first boat donors’ names, Chaterina Hollenga and Dick Veen, a former fleet inspector and his partner, who also laid the keel during the ceremony.

After the hull construction, the assembly of the first boat will take place at the PALFINGER boat production facility in Harderwijk, the Netherlands. In July 2023, the KNRM and PALFINGER will intensively test the boat according to the defined quality criteria. If it meets all expectations and is approved by the organization, PALFINGER will start building the remaining eleven RHIBs. “As a member of the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF), the Netherlands are among the global players in the Search and Rescue (SAR) segment. With this project, we take an important step further in this segment and prepare our way for more exciting projects and partnerships in the future”, says Arnoud Straakenbroek.