Thunder Child, the unsinkable boat? Self-righting, wavepiercing interceptor engineered to be the perfect boat for offshore patrol

There’s something awe-inspiring about seeing the Thunder Child interceptor patrol boat break through waves, then leap out of the water like a dolphin. Even more amazing is its performance in a rollover.

Not only can Thunder Child pierce the waves, she can also recover from full capsize thanks to a fully buoyant and water-tight cabin and low centre of gravity. Thunder Child is designed to be “almost’ unsinkable — after all, nothing is entirely unsinkable — rated safe up to sea state 8.


Engineered Design Insider Wicked profile of Thunder Cat a Searh and Rescue patrol unsinkable boatOil Gas Automotive Aerospace Industry Magazine
The wicked profile of the interceptor patrol boat designed to be (almost) unsinkable.


Engineers at Safehaven Marine (with their many partners), made Thunder Child the nearly the perfect boat for many naval, law enforcement and patrol applications. Likely beyond the reach of casual boaters, Thunder Child may be the golden child of patrol fleets who require fastest-possible emergency response times. Seating ten total — six in suspended Wavebreaker seats, and another four in fixed seats — Thunder child is a sleek 53 feet 6 inches, and draws only 2 feet 9 inches, with a slim beam of 12 feet 6 inches. Very svelte.


Engineered Design Insider Thunder Cat breaking a high wave in storm testOil Gas Automotive Aerospace Industry Magazine
Thunder Child crests a wave in storm tests. Thank goodness for wave-breaker seats!


Powered by 2000 hp of diesel Caterpillar engine — two 1000 h.p. 12.9 turbocharged units — running two “pitchable” props, Thunder Child has the power not only to speed to rescues at 54 knots, she can cruise on 5000 litres of fuel to a range of 750 nautical miles — the sweet spot for coastal rescue. She is also handy in stormy weather, as seen in her storm test. [Video below.]

Thunder Child’s storm test:

Survivability to sea state 8: 4 water tight compartments

With Thunder Child designed to a very low centre of gravity, combined “with watertight integrity and buoyancy of the cabin” she is able to self-right herself after a capsize, for example, in a break-over wave situation.


Engineered Design Insider Thunder Cat Roll over capsize test hair all danglingOil Gas Automotive Aerospace Industry Magazine
Thunder Child undergoing a deliberate roll-over capsize recovery test with onboard participants fully inverted — (strapped into those great Wavebreaker seats).


Thunder Child is survivable up to a sea state 8 and operates safely up to sea state 6. Equipped with bow buoyancy control fins, and adjusting pitch twin propellers, she can handle almost any scenario.

Thunder Child capsize test:

Tough hull designed for both planing and wave-piercing

Thunder Child is made from FRP cored composites which are ultra strong, and is fully capable of both planing and wave-piercing modes thanks to a constant dead-rise deep V hull. The 24-degree dead-rise transitions at the transom to a wave-piercing bow.

Thunder Child’s endurance test: 2067 km circumnavigation of Ireland in stormy seas:

Equipment: missing nothing, except guns (optional)

Thunder Child is fitted will full array navigational equipment and includes: HD Radar, AIS, GPS — displayed on three colour monitors at helm — plus VHF communications. She is also equipped with night navigation, with FLIR Thermal night vision cameras and four-zone CCTV. There is a dedicated engineering position with full displays and controls.


Engineered Design Insider Thunder Cats pilot monitors everything with three large colour monitorsOil Gas Automotive Aerospace Industry Magazine
Thunder Child is fitted will full array navigational equipment and includes: HD Radar, AIS, GPS — displayed on three colour monitors at helm — plus VHF communications. She is also equipped for night navigation, with FLIR Thermal night vision cameras and four-zone CCTV.


Unless you’re navy, law enforcement, or very rich you probably won’t be lucky enough to own or run one of these unsinkable beauties, but if you ever need rescuing, you might be thanking the Engineers at Safehaven Marine.


Engineered Design Insider Thunder Cat Pitchable dual properllers drive the 2000 hp Oil Gas Automotive Aerospace Industry Magazine
Two pitchable props, each driven by 1000 hp diesel Caterpillars, allow Thunder Child to navigate most types of sea.


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