Mallam, S. C.; Small, G. R.; Mackinnon, S. N.
September 2012
Journal of Ocean Technology;Sep2012, Vol. 7 Issue 3, p45
Academic Journal
Maritime emergencies often occur rapidly in unpredictable circumstances. In a scenario where it becomes necessary to abandon a vessel or offshore platform evacuation, personal flotation and thermal protection greatly increase chances of survival for individuals escaping directly into water. Marine abandonment immersion suits, intended to be quickly donned in the case of an emergency, can provide effective protection against dangers of cold shock and prolonged immersion. The ability to locate and correctly don an immersion suit prior to abandoning is critical. Canadian Standard CAN/CGSB-65.16-2005 dictates that an immersion suit must be unpacked and properly donned without assistance within two minutes. Tests are performed on a fixed, stable deck. No empirical investigation has been conducted on time required to don immersion suits in a dynamic environment. Thirty-two participants, with similar knowledge and training, performed immersion suit donning tasks using two types of suit. Trials were performed on a motion bed that simulated maritime conditions with varying combinations of platform motions and levels of ambient illumination. Participant donning times and donning task errors were recorded for each trial. Across all conditions the mean donning time was 102.7 seconds (SD = 39.6 sec). There was a significant difference between donning time and suit manufacturer (p < .0001). Although overall mean donning time was within the two-minute requirement, in total there was a 26.1% failure rate in the completion of full donning tasks within two minutes. Donning task error rates were recorded as high as 56.3% per donning attempt. Results indicate that training standards need to more adequately reflect realistic environmental conditions and demands. Performance-based standards will more likely ensure that all personnel are better educated and prepared to don an abandonment suit successfully within the required time period, and thus increase chances of survival and rescue. Performance-based standards that include reference to donning suits in a dynamic environment will be more likely to lead to the development of suits and training that meet the needs of users in real conditions.


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