Thermal Protection in Lifeboats (2008 - 2009)

The objectives of this project were to assess the thermal protection and microclimate of Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) approved lifeboats, in a cruise ship abandonment situation in the Arctic. It helped Transport Canada address shortcomings in International Maritime Organization regulations where there is a lack of performance criteria in thermal protection and ventilation for lifeboats, while aiming to enhance the emergency survival, health and safety, and operational performance of lifeboat occupants.

The experiments were conducted with a 72 person, commercially available, SOLAS approved lifeboat. A 23 zone thermal mannequin was used to determine the thermal insulation of the microenvironment, including a clothing ensemble representative of what passengers would be wearing if forced to abandon ship. Special cases were tested to assess the merit of additional insulation including thermal protective aids, an immersion suit, a parka and an insulated seat.

Thermal Protection in Life Rafts (2006 - 2009)

Inflatable life rafts are currently used worldwide as a means of evacuation and survival from almost all marine vessels, regardless of the vessel's size and purpose. This ranges from fishing and other commercial vessels with small crew sizes to offshore oil installations and passenger ships with thousands of people onboard.

While International Maritime Organization standards currently require inflatable life raft components to "provide insulation" or "be sufficiently insulated", no performance criteria accompany these requirements. This project included detailed engineering and human factors tests to investigate the gaps in knowledge surrounding inflatable life raft performance with respect to occupant thermal protection in cold environmental conditions.

Lifeboat Maneuverability in Managed First Year Ice (2005 - 2006)

OSSC participated in sea trials to investigate the operability of a totally enclosed motor propelled survival craft in managed ice. The trials took place in the area of New World Island, Notre Dame Bay off the northeastern part of the island of Newfoundland.

The lifeboat used was a Fiskars 40 person capacity vessel, 7.5 metres in length, manufactured in 1976. The vessel's engine was a 20 horsepower, two cylinder diesel with an open 400 millimetre diameter propeller and a flat plate rudder of 730 millimetres high and 450 millimetres wide.

In the light condition with fuel, the lifeboat mass was measured at 2,934 kilograms. For field trials, the lifeboat was ballasted to the fully loaded condition using collapsible water tanks evenly distributed throughout the boat, assuming 75 kilogram people and including the weight of the crew.