VESSEL REVIEW | Salvamar Draco – Durable lifeboat to operate on Spain’s Mediterranean coast

Photo: Armon Shipyard

Spain’s Salvamento Maritimo maritime search and rescue (SAR) agency has taken delivery of a new fast aluminium lifeboat built by local shipyard Armon at its Auxiliar Naval del Principado de Asturias facilities.

The newbuild is the latest example of a lifeboat series built by Armon for the same operator. The current fleet of Armon-built boats includes over 50 units in operation out of various SAR stations throughout the country. In line with the practice of having the boats named after constellations, Salvamento Maritimo christened the new boat Salvamar Draco after the constellation that was first identified in the second century.

Photo: Armon Shipyard

The new lifeboat has an LOA of 21.5 metres, a beam of 5.5 metres, and a displacement of 39 tonnes. The low height of the handrails helps the crew perform water rescues without the need for additional equipment.

Two MAN 1,040kW engines propel the boat to a maximum speed of 38 knots while a cruising speed of 28 knots will yield a range of 400 nautical miles to permit SAR operations farther out to sea. This also translates into the long endurance that becomes necessary for protracted rescue missions, such as when picking up survivors in an area beset by rough weather and sea conditions.

Photo: Armon Shipyard

The engine room also has greater space and improved accessibility compared to the operator’s previous boats, thus allowing crews to more easily perform maintenance.

The wheelhouse has Sparco shock-mitigation seating for a coxswain and two other crewmembers as well as full 360-degree visibility, ensuring an unobstructed view of the aft deck. Upward-facing windows provide the coxswain with improved visibility when manoeuvring alongside larger vessels.

Photo: Armon Shipyard

The electronics suite includes two Furuno radars, a dynamic positioning system, a 3D side-scan sonar with a range of 300 metres, and other electronics from Sailor.

With a rated bollard pull of around six tonnes, the lifeboat is also equipped for towing of disabled vessels as needed.

Salvamar Draco is being operated out of the port city of Cartagena on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, where it has since replaced an older Salvamento Maritimo lifeboat that has been stationed there for over 13 years. Over a period of six months following its delivery in November 2021, the new boat participated in over 20 successful rescue missions and evacuated more than 260 people to safety.

Photo: Armon Shipyard

Click here for more news stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on emergency services vessels.

Salvamar Draco
Type of vessel:Lifeboat
Owner:Salvamento Maritimo, Spain
Builder:Armon Shipyard, Spain
Hull construction material:Aluminium
Superstructure construction material:Aluminium
Deck construction material:Aluminium
Length overall:21.5 metres
Beam:5.5 metres
Displacement:39 tonnes
Main engines:2 x MAN, each 1,040 kW
Maximum speed:38 knots
Cruising speed:28 knots
Range:400 nautical miles
Bollard pull:6.0 tonnes
Radars:2 x Furuno
Other electronics:Sailor
Operational area:Mediterranean Sea

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