Now under the ownership of the Whiskey Project Group, Naiad Design is being given a promotional push. Long a leader in the design of larger rigid inflatable boats (RIBs), Naiad has worked with a global group of carefully chosen builders of such craft. That has been an effective marketing strategy but the Whiskey Project Group obviously believes there is good potential for further expansion.
Naiad boats are certainly very good. They have been proved to be so for many years, and this RIB built for Coastguard New Zealand is no exception.
“Starting with a hull form that was tried and tested,” Naiad told Baird Maritime, “our design team worked closely with Nelson Coastguard to ensure the boat was packed full of as much capability as they needed to successfully and efficiently do their job well.”
The designer added human factors such as great all-round visibility when inside the cabin as well as raised viewing platforms aft of the cabin enabled easier searching of a person, or object, in the water. Comfort facilities and berths ensure that crew fatigue is managed well and the boat can remain on station for an extended period if required.
“The manoeuvrability of the vessel is incredibly precise through the twin Hamilton Jet and AVX controls and allows the boat to spin on its axis, remain stationary even in wind and tide, or move in any direction (even athwartships) with ease – all necessary attributes to safely allow close manoeuvring to people or boats.”
The electronics of the boat are also totally linked with the base HQ to enable ease of transfer of data as well as voice communications. This then enables the crew onboard to focus entirely on the tactical operation and enable base HQ to coordinate vessel movements and search patterns more safely.
“There was a significant amount of capability to put into the boat so there were design challenges,” said Naiad, “but these were worked through Nelson Coastguard to ensure it was all achieved. This included ensuring adequate space for storage was included in the design.”
In regards to trends that influence naval architecture, Naiad said the focus on is how to make the most efficient hull design without compromising the ability to take the boat comfortably through rough weather. The company explained that this permits the exploration of new propulsion methods that are more environmentally conscious, whilst maintaining range, speed and weight expectations of a new boat.
“Naiad is going from strength to strength over the year,” the company told Baird Maritime. “Now under the Whiskey Project Group, we can leverage our 40 years of RIB design and expertise off the innovation and manufacturing expertise in the group. We have big plans to grow the range of boats we offer, whilst still ensuring we retain the ability to customise to our customers’ requirements and address whatever issues they may have.”
Naiad said that in the RIB industry, there is a growing preference for modularity, particularly the ability to get a boat to match the needs of a specific operation simply by adding or removing components and electronics. There is also an increased focus on providing a sensor package that increases intercept horizons, being able to see or hear a lot further out to increase the time to react to a situation, must like the Whiskey boats are fitted with.
“We also see an increased focus on human factors and safety through hull design and ride quality (for instance our boats don’t slam) as well as consideration of seating arrangements, environmental and capsize protection and other basic crew fatigue minimising elements to ensure crews can focus longer and be ready to react in a less fatigued state. In a lot of boats these elements lack considerably.”
The company added that despite limitations, the capability and success of autonomous or remote vessels means the technology will be able to start trickling down from high-spec military boats to more value-driven organisations.
“We see the importance on providing value for money without compromising on the robustness of a vessel,” said Naiad. “Being more environmentally conscious is also becoming more and more important, as is being more responsible through the total life of the vessel. Thus there is a need to look more closely at the impact from the materials used, the propulsion options, and impact on the environment on daily running, as well as the impact when it is time to dispose of the vessel (i.e. recyclability of the materials used).”
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