Research facilitation and management for Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore industry

Lifeboat Release Mechanisms Testing

Lead PI: Dr. António Simões Ré
Subject Category: Health, Safety and the Environment

Start Date: May 2007
End Date: Dec 2007
Institution / Organization: National Research Council Canada

Davit launched lifeboats’ release mechanisms have been the cause of many accidents during regular maintenance and drills. Transport Canada, the shipping and oil industries have placed a high priority on the acceptance process of lifeboat release mechanisms and the possible causes for failure.

In 2006, Transport Canada, Petroleum Research, Transportation Safety Board and the Institute for Ocean Technology of the National Research Council of Canada entered into a collaborative agreement aiming at establishing the operational performance of lifeboat release mechanisms.

The Institute for Ocean Technology is conducting experiments on different lifeboat release mechanisms to identify their overall performance, the overall loading of the entire release system (i.e. release handle, release cables & load bearing structural members of the hook) as well as the overall stability of on-load release gear and how it relates to inadvertent failure/release.

This project involved a systematic study of three on-load release mechanism for normal release operations, static loading at various cam angles and abnormal operations (failures or extreme) such as malfunctioning release cables, or cyclic wave loading. The study also aimed at gaining a better understanding of the effects of offline loads versus online. Results of the experiments will presented in a technical report to the stakeholders and an information paper prepared for presentation at International Maritime Organization


  • Final Report [PDF]

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