Quantifying The Impact That Coxswain Behaviour Has on Whole Body Vibration - Simulator Trial

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T J Newman


A common risk to personnel is from Whole Body Vibration (WBV) and shock when transiting at speed in heavy seas, and much research has been done by maritime organisations to reduce this risk and the associated health impacts. It is well known that coxswain ‘driving style’ can radically affect exposure levels for a given sea state and sustained transit speed. A data-driven approach to define what makes a good coxswain from a WBV perspective is currently being developed by the Naval Design Partnering team (NDP). In phase 1, a systematic coxswain behaviour tracking methodology has been developed and demonstrated using a motion platform-based fast craft simulator at MARIN. The performance of several experienced volunteer coxswains from MOD, RNLI and KNRM has been evaluated based on a set pattern of tests. The advantages of using the simulator, over a sea trial, have been demonstrated: it is more repeatable, more controllable, accurate and more accessible. The potential disadvantages of the approach are also discussed with reference to feedback gathered from coxswains. Analysis has shown effective throttle control is much more important than steering to reduce WBV. Several interesting trends in WBV reduction potential have been shown which it is thought, with further validation, could aid mission planning, mission execution and provide data for training autonomous feedback/control algorithms. Further work is required before the findings of this study can be fully exploited. These subsequent phases, which include sea trials, aim to provide validation and further evidence to support the initial findings.

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