The effects of towing on human performance in a life raft

Petrie, Lise (2007) The effects of towing on human performance in a life raft. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Introduction: Evacuation from a ship or offshore installation is a hazardous undertaking, even in controlled situational and environmental circumstances. Life rafts are used in abandonment situations and are preferred to individual cold water entry. Life rafts can be self-launching and self-inflating and protect the occupants from extreme heat or cold. In high seas or winds, life raft motion could affect the performance of survival tasks, even while being towed. Despite the regulated and required use of life rafts, there is an absence of quantitative knowledge about life rafts and human performance in motion conditions. -- Methods: Twenty-four healthy male participants (23.8 ± 3.1 yrs, 177.7 ± 6.9 cm, 78.5 ± 11.4 kg) were given two hours of basic training by survival training experts prior to the data collection sessions. Canopy closure, movement within the life raft, sea anchor deployment and retrieval, paddling, and bailing were all demonstrated during the training session. Participants were asked to repeat these tasks during the data collection sessions whilst in a 16-person life raft that was being towed in either calm sea or controlled sea state 2 conditions in a self-contained tow tank facility. -- Results: In movements within the life raft, sea anchor retrieval, paddling, and bailing tasks there was a significant difference between the no wave condition and the wave condition. In canopy closure the quality and speed of completion showed improvement with practice. -- Conclusion: Quantitative data and qualitative observations for five tasks showed that motion, experience with the task, life raft design and equipment can all affect performance. Several recommendations to the current sea survival training standards are presented.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11241
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Department(s): Human Kinetics and Recreation, School of
Date: 2007
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Life rafts--Safety measures; Marine towing.

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