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Realistic Lifeboat Training Using Simulation

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Course Credit: 0.15 CEU, 1.5 PDH

• The ability to evacuate an offshore facility or vessel using a lifeboat is a critical element in many emergency response plans;
• Lifeboat training has three key elements namely: initial training, onboard familiarization training and ongoing practice through emergency drills;
• Regulations and industry guidelines require that lifeboat drills be as realistic as is practicable; however,
• Lowering a lifeboat into the water with the crew onboard during practice drills has resulted in an unacceptable number of accidents, even when the drills are conducted under calm conditions; and,
• To reduce risk, boat drills can be replaced with refresher training conducted at shore based facilities.

• Shore based refresher training using real lifeboats is expensive, inefficient and uses generic lifeboat equipment which may not be found on any particular offshore installation;
• Conducting practice launches offshore enables crews to become familiar with their own equipment, however it also exposes crew to risk as well as increases the risk of an unplanned shutdown should an accident occur;
• Neither drills nor shore based refresher training can safely replicate realistic emergency conditions typically associated with an emergency abandonment offshore; and,
• Accident investigation authorities continue to highlight the need for realistic emergency training in order to adequately prepare crews to respond to offshore incidents.

• A lifeboat simulator can safely and effectively replicate the performance of a lifeboat under realistic emergency conditions;
• The simulator is a full scale replica of the coxswain position of a lifeboat connected to a sophisticated math model and immerses the student in the sights and sounds associated with a lifeboat abandonment;
• The simulator can be deployed at a training school and operated by an instructor. In this mode, the simulator replaces the need to launch and operate boats in the harbour;
• The simulator can also be fully automated (i.e.: no instructor) and deployed onboard an offshore facility. In this mode, the simulator replaces the need to launch and operate boats during practice drills;

Evidence of Learning Transfer
• Research into the use of simulators in lifeboat training began in 2003 and followed the Verification, Validation & Accreditation methodology pioneered by the US DoD for military simulation;
• 3 expert evaluations were performed between 2009 and 2013 to verify that lifeboat simulation had sufficient realism to replicate boat operations;
• 2 research studies were performed between 2010 and 2015 to validate that novices could learn how to operate a lifeboat as a result of simulator training;
• 2 pilot courses were conducted in 2014 by Transport Canada to accredit the appropriate use of simulation in lifeboat training programs; and,
• The results from over 1,000 practice scenarios conducted using offshore systems were analyzed to quantify performance under realistic evacuation scenarios.
• All data collected indicates that simulation provides an effective training platform for lifeboat coxswains and enables higher levels of proficiency to be attained.

Current Status
• DNV-GL has issued a Statement of Compliance verifying that lifeboat simulation is suitable for marine training;
• The International Maritime Organization has approved the use of simulation in lifeboat training programs and encourages the use of simulation to augment lifeboat drills onboard MOUs;
• Norwegian and OPITO training standards are under review to also authorize the use of simulation in lifeboat training programs;
• To date, 14 lifeboat simulators have been deployed in Canada, USA, Mexico, UK and Norway;
• 4 of the lifeboat simulators have been deployed onboard offshore facilities with the remainder located in shore-based training facilities.

• Enhanced training – simulation is the only safe method to deliver realistic lifeboat abandonment training;
• Lower cost – simulators are more efficient training tools which can be deployed at any convenient location. The primary cost savings are associated with reduction in travel and living expenses.

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Course Chapters

  • 1Realistic Lifeboat Training Using Simulation - Chapter 1
    Media Type: Video


Earn credits by completing this course0.15 CEU credit1.5 PDH credits


Anthony Patterson