Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution (KNRM) has commissioned the construction of eight new lifeboats. The boats will be built over the next five years at two Dutch shipyards. The construction involves an investment of 9.5 million euros and will be financed from various inheritances and donations to the KNRM.

The contract for the construction of the lifeboats has been awarded to two shipyards, which have been building and maintaining lifeboats for the KNRM for many years. On 23 August, Durk Douma of Dok en Scheepsbouw Woudsend BV and Orm de Waart of Habbeké Shipyard signed the contract with KNRM director Jacob Tas. The first lifeboat will be delivered in 2021. The remaining seven lifeboats will follow in the next four years.

The eight lifeboats are given the class name “Van Wijk”, named after the testator, who left money for the construction of the first boat of this series. In fact, the boat is a further development of the existing 11-metre long Valentine class. This so-called rigid-inflatable-boat (RIB) was designed in 1990 and is praised for its seaworthiness by the rescuers who sail it.

The KNRM has a lifeboat fleet of 75 lifeboats, varying in length from 5 to 20 metres. With this rescue fleet, more than 4000 seafarers and water sports enthusiasts are safely brought ashore each year.

The current lifeboats of the KNRM were built between 1991 and 2016. At almost 30 years old, the oldest lifeboats are in need of replacement. The first new lifeboat of this series will have the function of a spare boat and will be used from 2022 on rescue stations of which the lifeboat is undergoing major maintenance. The home ports of the next seven boats will be announced at the beginning of 2021.


Traditionally, KNRM lifeboats are given a name associated with the donor or testator who paid for the boat. Through fundraising activities, the KNRM expects to find a proud namesake for all new lifeboats in the coming years, paying homage to loved ones or to a special personal memory.

Picture (from left to right): Orm de Waart of Habbeké Shipyard, KNRM director Jacob Tas and Durk Douma of Dok en Scheepsbouw Woudsend BV.