ProfileSafehaven Marine are designers and builders of FRP Pilot boats, Patrol boats, Crew transfer vessels, Hydrographic survey catamarans, Naval & Military craft and unique custom private motor yachts. All our vessels are built to the highest standards of strength & engineering and are renowned world wide for their exceptional sea-keeping abilities, we set a new World long range speed record in 2017 with our own vessel and crew. Established in 1996 we have built over 138 vessels supplied to 27 countries worldwide with over 40 pilot vessels in operation globally, and have become leaders in our field.
Based in Youghal, Co Cork Ireland, Safehaven manufacture our vessels from two modern factories, with all design work carried out in house, and built with our own experienced team of engineers, carpenters, electricians, shipwrights and laminators.
Always at the forefront of new technology and designs we continuously develop our range and push the frontiers of design: In 2020 we aim to set a UIM Transatlantic World record with our unique (patent applied for) new 22m high speed vessel XSV20.
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Related content on Marine‑Pilots.com
Video Gdynia 'Pilot 1' & 'Thunder Child' drone video inc ship footage & landing
Article Safehaven Marine launch new Interceptor 48 ‘Belgrano’ for the River Plate pilots in Montevideo, Uruguay.
published on 23 December 2020
Safehaven Marine have launched another new Pilot boat, there 20th Interceptor 48 and 46th pilot vessel overall for the River Plate pilots in Montevideo, Uruguay. ‘Belgrano’ named after the famous Argentine general, will operate on the River Plate estuary, also famous for being the place of the first naval battle during the second world war, where the German battle cruiser, the Admiral Graf Spee was scuttled.
Opinion Five questions for Frank Kowalski, Managing Director at Safehaven Marine
published on 18 December 2020
Article Port of Waterford to invest almost €1 m in new ‘Port Láirge’ pilot boat
published on 14 December 2020
Video Sea trials of the Interceptor 48 Pilot 'Belgrano' by Safehaven Marine.
Found on YouTube. Created by "Frank Kowalski".
Here’s a cool little video we made during the sea trials of ‘Belgrano’ a new Interceptor 48 pilot for Montevideo, Uruguay. We captured some really nice drone footage of her offshore in some breaking seas and alongside ship manoeuvres, testing out her pilot boarding ladder and new fender system.
Article Safehaven Marine launch new Interceptor 48 ‘Practicos Coruna Ocho’ for the port of Coruna in Northern Spain
published on 29 September 2020
Safehaven Marine, pilot boat specialist builders in Ireland have launched a new Interceptor 48 pilot boat for the Port of Coruna in Northern Spain. ‘Practicos Coruna Ochno’ is powered by a pair of Volvo D13 500hp continuously rated engines and ZF Gearboxes. Propulsion is by conventional sterngear turning 28” propellers giving her a 25kts continuous operational speed. Capable of carrying 7 pilots and crew all on shock mitigation seating comfortably in her spacious fully lined cabin with extremely low noise levels of 73db recorded.
Video La Coruna pilot boat Offshore in Gale & Ship boarding trials
Found on YouTube. Created by "Frank Kowalski".
Here’s a pretty cool video covering the recent sea trials we undertook with the La Coruna pilot boat. Some nice gale footage 20 miles offshore, and the fun we had trying to land the drone back down in high winds as well as alongside ship handling trials with the Taccola, operating out of Cork Harbour at present.
Video Haulover inlet boat Pilot and Jack XSV20 Ride in Storm*/haulover vs Boat
Video Corryvreckan Maelstrom & Thunder Child II documentary
Found on YouTube. Created by "Frank Kowalski".
Safehaven Marine undertook an 800nm 4 day cruise in Thunder Child II to Scotland, living off the boat to visit a place called the Gulf of Corryvreckan. A pretty wild yet beautiful place.
The Corryvreckan whirlpool, or ‘Maelstrom’, as would be a more appropriate description, is formed as the tide enters the narrow stretch of water between the Islands of Jura and Scarba that is the Gulf of Corryvreckan. Here the tidal flow speeds up to 8.5kts as it is squeezed between the islands, and there it encounters a variety of underwater seabed features. On the western entrance a basalt pinnacle rises up from depths of 70m to 29m, and lying to East, directly in front of the pinnacle is a deep hole in the seabed, with a depth of 219m.
As the water flows through the gulf it falls into this hole, and then encounters the steep face of the pinnacle, causing a massive upwelling surge of water to rise to the surface. On a flood tide this surge meets swells entering the Gulf from the West, and creates standing waves that can reach heights of 9m. These ‘standing waves’ are not like normal waves as they form directly over the pinnacle, standing still and breaking heavily on the spot. Whirlpools are also formed over the pinnacle as well as throughout the Gulf, as opposing water columns sheer, and these can be up to 50m wide.
During a storm on spring tides it is said that the angry roar from the seething waters of the maelstrom, with its standing waves and whirlpools can be heard up to 10 miles away, and local mythology refers to this as the voice of ‘Cailleach’ (The Hag) of the Whirlpool.
In a well found boat the gulf can be safely navigated in fair conditions, or at slack water, but I can imagine that in a Westerly gale on a flood tide, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the place, as it would truly be described as ‘Unnavigable’. Indeed it was once classified as such by the Royal Navy. On the day we visited with Thunder Child we had Westerly winds of Force 5 gusting 6, and a 3.9m tide which enabled us to experience the standing waves on the flood and the whirlpools on the ebb.
The word Corryvreckan translates to ‘Cauldron’ and that perfectly describes the seething sea state around the whirlpools, and it was quite an experience to have the throttles set for 6kts, holding station just ahead of the standing waves that were breaking behind the boat, and not be moving at all!
There is an Old Irish text known as Cormac’s Glossary written by the King and Bishop of Cashel, Cormac mac Cuilennáin who died in the year 908: “There is a great whirlpool which is between Ireland and Scotland to the north, in the meeting of various seas, its thunderous eructation and its bursting and its roaring are heard among the clouds, like the steam boiling of a cauldron of fire.” I felt that was a pretty cool description of the place as how the place might have appeared of old during a storm.
Coryvreckan is reputed to produce the third largest whirlpools after the Saltstraumen and Moskstraumen Maelstroms in Norway, however the unique submarine topography of the gulf of Corryvreckan and its capability to produce dangerous standing waves means that in storm conditions, it is potentially one of the most violent stretches of water in the world.
The Voyage: Casting off at Cobh in the afternoon on Saturday 18th July 2020 Thunder Child II arrived at Bangor marina at 9.30pm for refuelling after averaging 32kts over the 275nm run. Overnighting on aboard we set sail early Sunday morning heading up the Northern Ireland coast to Rathlin Island, itself a place notorious for producing challenging seas with its tidal strong race and overfalls, before a lumpy crossing to Scotland to enjoying two days taking Thunder Child II through the standing waves and whirlpools in the Gulf of Corryvreckan, and capturing some cool Ariel drone video. Whilst we were there It was also nice to see one of our old Interceptor 42 passenger boats ‘Venturer’ for the first time since we built her 15 years ago, and still looking good. Operated by Craignish Cruises running boat tours in the Gulf, they guided us on a tour around the islands visiting the notorious ‘Grey Dogs’ tidal race and seeing the Sea Eagles nesting nearby.
Spending Sunday night isolated on the breakwater at Ardfern marina we headed to Belfast late afternoon on Monday. Next day we were onwards to Dun Laoghaire for lunch and down the East coast of Ireland where we we’re buzzed overhead by Rescue 116 of the Irish Coastguard, which was great to experience and gave us the excuse to give Thunder Child the beans, and although heavy with fuel we still managed to hit over 50kts.
We arrived home to East Ferry Marina, Cobh late Tuesday evening after an enjoyable voyage for her crew comprising: Skipper Frank Kowalski and crew: Carl Randalls (Drone pilot) Ciaran Monks, Mary Power and Kenny Carrol. During the voyage Thunder Child II ran faultlessly and proved her capabilities of averaging high speeds for long distances.
Article Safehaven Marine launch new Interceptor 48 ‘Pilot 1’ for the Gdynia Pilots in Poland
by Marine-Pilots.com - published on 13 July 2020
Safehaven Marine have launched a new Interceptor 48 pilot boat ‘Pilot 1’ for the Gdynia Pilots in
Poland. This is Safehaven’s 44th Pilot vessel delivered to ports worldwide. Safehavens Pilot 48 has
proved to be a superb sea boat performing admirably in pilotage operations with all owners extolling
its virtues of seakeeping, strength and stability.
Video Safehaven Marine Interceptor 48 pilot boat for the Gdynia Pilots in Poland
Article Safehaven Marine to build a second S.A.R. Interceptor 48 for the Faroe Islands Rescue Service
by Marine-Pilots.com - published on 16 June 2020
Safehaven Marine have signed contracts with the Faroe Islands Rescue Service for an Interceptor 48
‘self-righting’ S.A.R. (Search and Rescue craft.) This is the second S.A.R. Interceptor 48 we have
supplied to the Faroe Islands following ‘Sverri’ in 2013, which has worked very well in the
challenging North Atlantic seas they face off the Islands, with her crew being totally confident with
her seakeeping abilities, performance and reliability during rescue operations over the last 7 years.
Video Safehaven Marine 'Independent Vision' pilot boarding
Here’s a nice video of the ‘Independent Vision’ having her pilot embarked offshore by the Cork pilot boat ‘Failte’ an Interceptor 48 before she enters Cork Harbour. We also undertook some alongside handling trials at the same time with ‘San Cibrao’ before she is shipped to Spain. Sure was interesting trying to land the drone back on the boat in the 40kt winds offshore!
Video San Ciprian’s new Interceptor 42 pilot boat ‘San Cibrao’ during rough weather sea trials.
Found on YouTube. Created by "Frank Kowalski".
Here’s a nice video of the rough weather sea trials of San Ciprian’s new Interceptor 42 Pilot boat ‘San Ciprano’. With the Covid-19 travel restrictions in place and the Guys from San Ciprian unable to fly here at present we’re having to do a remote ‘on-line handover’. So we made this video to give them every confidence that she is performing well, as she handled comfortably the stormy conditions prevailing on the South Coast of Ireland last Friday nicely, with winds of 50kts at the entrance to Cork Harbour, and over 4m heavily breaking seas offshore in the shoaling waters off the Daunt Rock, presenting the exact heavy weather conditions she was designed and built for. As the pilots in San Ciprian have to deal with the challenging seas of the Bay of Biscay in wintertime, we wanted to ensure she was up to the task. She is due to be shipped overland shortly where she is needed urgently to ensure essential pilotage to ships entering and departing the Port in Northern Spain.
Irish builder Safehaven Marine has launched a new pilot boat slated for the Port of San Ciprian in Spain.
The vessel has an LOA of 13.4 metres, a moulded beam of 4.3 metres, a draught of 1.3 metres, and seating for one operator and up to five pilots.
Video Thunder Child II fly past in appreciation of our Front-line workers
At Safehaven Marine it was great to be able to launch a new pilot boat for the Port of San Ciprian in Spain after nearly 2 months of Lockdown. She was nearly finished at the start of the lockdown. It sure was nice to be on the water again, even with social distancing.
We wanted to do something nice to lift everyone's spirits during these challenging times around the World, so we did a fly past our home Port of Cobh in Thunder Child II (Safehaven’s Transatlantic record attempt vessel) in support of all our front-line workers, doctors and nurses, the coastguard, fire, ambulance and rescue services, police officers, port operatives, seamen, pilot boat crews and marine pilots, as well as all those involved in keeping the global supply chain working. Here’s a little video we made, the sound track of David Bowies ‘Heroes’ says it all!
Article Safehaven Marine delivers a new Interceptor 48, 15m Pilot Vessel to the San Juan Bay Pilots, Puerto Rico.
by Marine-Pilots.com - published on 11 May 2020
Safehaven Marine have delivered one our Interceptor 48 pilot vessels to the San Juan Bay Pilots, Puerto Rico.
This marks Safehaven Marines 41st pilot boat delivered to portsWorldwide. ‘Harbor Thunder’ a very striking
design, she is powered by a pair of Cummins QSM11 engines at a heavy duty rating of 450hp, allowing the
vessel an economical continuous operational speed of 22-23kts.
Article ‘SANAAG’ A new Pilot boat for the Port of Berbera, Somaliland in Africa delivered by Safehaven Marine.
by Safehaven Marine - published on 20 April 2020
Safehaven Marine based in Ireland have just delivered a pilot vessel for operations at the Port of Berbera in
Somaliland, Africa. ‘Sanaag’ is one of Safehaven’s Interceptor 38 pilot vessels, at 11.9m LOA, a very capable design which proves economical to operate, yet capable of dealing with very rough seas and challenging boarding conditions when required.
Video Pilot boats in rough seas during Storm Ciara
Article Cromarty Firth Port Authority (CFPA) is seeking for new pilot boats
by Marine-Pilots.com - published on 17 April 2020
Cromarty Firth Port Authority (CFPA) is seeking a contractor to build and deliver a new pilot vessel as part of a major project to upgrade its fleet of vessels. The contract for the work is currently being put out to tender and interested parties are encouraged to apply before the deadline of 8 May, 17.00.
Video Inbound San Juan harbor new pilot boat build by Safehaven marine
Video New pilot boat "Harbor Thunder" transporting to San Juan
Video Best of Safehaven Marines rough weather seakeeping trials 2009 2013 compilation
Opinion Sea Trials in Stroms at the Entrance to Cork Habour
by Safehaven Marine - published on 3 March 2020
The entrance to Cork Harbour situated on the South coast of Ireland can produce some pretty extreme sea states during the winter storm months. There are two main factors that influence the sea state at the entrance, the first being the ebbing tide, the second being shoaling waters over the Harbour Rock, this is situated at the entrance to the Harbour off Roches Point lighthouse, right in the middle between the Western and Eastern channel entrances.