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Wipers on trial for life extension programme

The UK's RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) has announced its life extension programme for the Severn class lifeboat and DuroWiper Class 60 pantographs are being tested on the prototype vessel.

The RNLI says that the programme of upgrades will extend the life of its 44 Severn class lifeboats so they can continue saving lives at sea for another 25 years. The average anticipated cost of each life extension upgrade is £1.25m - significantly less than the cost of designing and building a brand-new class of lifeboat to replace the Severn, the largest and most powerful class of RNLI lifeboat.

Through this life extension upgrade, the Severn’s wheelhouse will be completely redesigned and a wide range of upgrades will be made. It is the first time that a Durowiper system will have been fitted to a Severn class vessel; the Class 50 systems having  previously achieved success across the Shannon class lifeboats.

“If the wipers perform well during trials, we will extend the order to the first batch of six boats in the programme,” said Nick Fenwick Severn Life Extension Project Manager. “It is advantageous to rationalise supply, but this is not the main driver for selecting a supplier for new projects. Maintainability and reducing maintenance are key criteria when selecting equipment along with cost, reliability, ruggedness, supplier confidence and any other relevant criteria, dependent on the equipment being supplied.”

“The DuroWipers come with a Lifetime Warranty which makes them maintenance free", said Noel Gould, owner, DuroWipers.“That’s how confident we are in the strength of our wipers. The wipers’ reputation speaks for itself.” An allocation of six Severn class lifeboats will be upgraded initially, with the upgrades taking place at the RNLI’s All-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole, Dorset.

DuroWipers originally secured a contract to supply 57 RNLI vessels with wiper systems, including the new Shannon class lifeboats, back in 2012.

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