Home service for routine rescue boat work

Tom Todd
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Germany’s largely volunteer sea-rescue service DGzRS has been busy as the year turned with regular repair, maintenance and overhaul of some of the 60 boats in its fleet.

Much of the routine work is carried out at the organisation’s own shipyard on the Weser in Bremen. But the group also outsources overhaul to independent external facilities along Germany’s nearly 2,400 km long North Sea and Baltic coastline from Holland in the west to Poland in the east.

Small ship and boat builder Fassmer Werft is the most prominent of them. Located not far away and also on the Weser it has long been associated with the DGzRS and has built many of its boats over the years. It has built the newest state-of-the-art cruiser Berlin for service in 2017.

The other yards used for regular work are the Baltic yards Tamsen Werft in Rostock and the Schiffswerft Horn in Wolgast on the border with Poland.

Spokesman Ralf Baur told Maritime Journal the two DGzRS rescue boats Woltera, based in Juist, and Eckernforde, from the station of the same name, had both undergone regular maintenance at the home yard. He said they had followed the sea rescue cruiser Eiswette, based in Nordstrand.

Baur reported that Eiswette came in for regular general overhaul which included a complete paint job, removal of corrosion and engine maintenance. He said DGzRS personnel had also converted the stern launch and retrieval plant for the cruiser’s tender Novize, replaced a sliding system with one involving rollers. They also cleaned out the tanks, installed new rudder blade bearings and overhauled the propeller and crankshaft, he said.

An average ten to twelve DGzRS sea rescue boats and six to seven sea rescue cruisers go into the organisation’s own yard or one of the other yards every year for scheduled maintenance or repair.

Baur told Maritime Journal that only by regularly maintaining boats like Eiswette could the DGzRS be sure that they were always ready on station and that their technology was up to speed and could be relied on in emergencies. He added “that is also vital for the some 800 trained volunteers and 180 employees who man the boats often in very dangerous circumstances“. They operate or look after 20 sea cruisers and 40 rescue boats ranging in size from 46m to 6.8m on more than 2,000 missions a year. They are based in more than 50 bases and they save more than 600 lives annually, the DGzRS reports.

Asked how currently strict EU marine environmental concerns affect DGzRS choices when it comes to engines and plant, Baur said the organisation uses only engines that have been approved for service in Germany and meet the latest emission regulation demands.

DGzRS HQ and home shipyard in Bremen (Photo: Tom Todd)

DGzRS HQ and home shipyard in Bremen (Photo: Tom Todd)