Simulator Technology Enhances Lifeboat Training
Lifeboat designs for offshore oil and natural gas operations have improved over the years. Equally important is the training and expertise needed to load and operate these technologically advanced lifeboats, particularly under adverse weather and sea conditions. In response to requests from the offshore industry, Virtual Marine Technology developed a physical training simulator.
Simulator technology came to the forefront in the mid-2000s when Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada, now Petroleum Research Newfoundland & Labrador, contacted Memorial University in St. John’s for help in developing tools to enhance offshore lifeboat training. The university’s faculty of engineering and applied science responded by conducting lifeboat-centered simulation research inspired by leading practices from airline pilot training but adapted to the unique requirements of the marine environment.
The result was an enclosed cabin lifeboat simulator system that uses lifeboat helm controls and virtual environments to allow lifeboat coxswains and crews to practice launch scenarios that would not be possible using conventional training and drills. With authentic controls and an immersive virtual environment, the system takes the participants through different training scenarios simulating difficult environmental conditions.
Based on this successful research, Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. has installed the lifeboat simulator system on board the Hibernia platform, and it is presently being considered for use at other offshore facilities.