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By Jeff Green

Every second counts when finding and rescuing an offshore worker who has accidentally entered the sea.

This fundamental truth isn’t lost on Robert Brown, a professional engineer and research scientist at the Marine Institute’s Offshore Safety and Survival Centre Research Unit. He and his team are testing personal locater beacons—devices worn by offshore workers to help locate them quickly should they find themselves in the ocean.

Commitment to safety

Safety is paramount within the offshore sector. The industry is continually working to advance equipment and procedures; this research project is a testament to that commitment.

“In emergency situations at sea, every second counts.” –Robert Brown

The devices currently used in the offshore industry are regulated to withstand harsh conditions of a maritime survival situation while still successfully transmitting a distress signal.

Watch Robert Brown talk about his team’s research in the video below.

Baseline results

As part of his research, Mr. Brown will perform baseline tests with the devices on special mannequins that replicate the standard height and weight of real people. Once complete, the baseline results will represent optimal performance of the locater beacons and act as a point for comparison when the team performs followup tests with the beacons in harsher offshore conditions.

In addition to the offshore industry, different beacon designs are being utilized throughout various sectors.

Mr. Brown and his colleagues aim to improve the understanding of how these devices work in realistic conditions and hope their research will provide guidance to manufacturers, regulators and industry. In the end, he hopes efforts can help improve emergency response for all people who work and play at sea.

Funders:
Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador and
Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador

This article is part of a bi-weekly collection of research profiles celebrating the contributions of Memorial researchers. Be sure to check back for future profiles.


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