Response boat Felix Sand, German Maritime Search and Rescue Service (Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbruchiger; DGzRS), a maritime search and rescue (SAR) charity.

Baird Maritime reports delivery of a large and very capable, self-righting SAR boat.

The Coast Guard is in the market for replacements for the 52 foot MLBs. Now this is, at 90 feet long, a good deal larger than the 64 foot maximum length replacement currently envisioned. At 120 tons, its larger than the 87 foot, 91 ton Marine Protector class WPBs, but in many ways, it’s probably more capable than either.

Compared to the 52 foot MLB’s planned replacement, it has longer range, probably higher sustained speed in adverse conditions, greater towing capacity, and a daughter boat capable of getting into the shallows. It also has a fire monitor and medical facilities.

Compared to the 87-footer, it appears more seaworthy. Though nominally slower than the Marine Protector class, it is probably capable of maintaining higher speed in rough conditions. It carries more fuel, 18,000 liters (4,755 gallons) vs 9464 liters (2,500 gallons), giving it a greater range at a higher speed, 900 nautical miles at 15 knots vs 882 at 10. Perhaps more impressive is the claim of a 600 nautical mile range at 24 knots. It also has bow thruster.

Something like this could replace both the 52-foot MLBs and at least some of the 87-foot WPBs. In addition to the Pacific NW, they would be a welcomed addition in Alaska or along the Maine coast.

The remarkable thing I see in the specs, is the crew, only four, about the same as the 52-footers. That would be a substantial savings relative to the ten-person crew of the WPBs.

Incidentally Fassmer is the designer of an apparently very successful class of Offshore Patrol Vessels used by Colombia, Chile, and Germany.



  1. DGzRS, the German SAR service, also operates a class of 65-ft (19.9-m) self-righting “small SAR cruisers” with a displacement of 40 tons that were built between 2008 and 2018 at Fassmer.

    This smaller class is designed with a draft of only 4’3″ for very shallow water operations, and typically only carries a RHIB in its stern ramp (the fifth vessel got a proper self-righting daughterboat). Crew is also four, these smaller vessels however lack onboard crew accomodations – they operate from coastal SAR stations.

  2. I always find the ‘daughter boat’ an interesting feature.

    DGzRS also own the Fassmer built 46m Hermann Marwede which is an awesome craft.

  3. I find a crew of 4 to be a bit of a stretch. How are 4 people supposed to man and launch a ‘daughter boat’, operate the mother ship and simultaneously embark and attend to rescued persons? 4 may be what the minimum manning cert requires but an operational crew is more likely to be around 8. My experience with the 87s is that when you are running mass rescue operations 200NM offshore and for extended periods, even an augmented crew of 11-12 is fully stretched.

    • They are not intended to deploy 200 nm offshore, but typically operate within only 15-20 nm of their station – Germany has a very dense network of coastal SAR stations and in particular in the Baltic Sea not much EEZ beyond that. In the case of “Felix Sand” the next similar vessels are stationed 15 nm north and 40 nm east covering the Mecklenburg Bay with some passenger ferry routes and lots of general small boat traffic from either side with the coastal area inbetween that covered by four small (30-35ft) motor life boats from evenly spaced stations.

      The vessels operate with 4 men. The SAR station they’re assigned to will have 9 people to have two crews (rotating every two weeks) plus a foreman (captain) for the station.
      In principle they do have the accomodations to support a larger crew with hot bunking, although endurance would be very limited.

      The “daughter boat” is not operated simultaneously, but alternatingly (by two men). It is used in certain rough weather or shallow water situations, and otherwise mostly to transfer rescuees.

  4. A interesting vessel but the big problem would be accommodation at the stations. I don’t know if any of the stations have the space for a vessel that size.

    I have been reading elsewhere of a 64 foot replacement that is based off of a current Canadian lifeboat design similar to the Severn Class lifeboats of the RNLI.

    Here is a video of the Victory leaving Yaquina Bay for the last time. She had sat in the barn for just over a year and had to be towed out and up to Cape D, same with the Intrepid.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s