Lifeboats are important for safety of passengers and crew on floating vessels and offshore platforms. They need to be designed so that evacuation can be performed quickly and safely in case of emergency. This requires that the lifeboat is not damaged during water entry, that it moves afterwards away from the dangerous area, and that accelerations experienced by occupants do not exceed allowable limits. In this paper, the use of numerical simulation is proposed as a tool for design and optimization of lifeboats. While experimental studies will still be needed to validate the final design, the use of simulation can greatly increase the number of parameters relevant for structural integrity and wellbeing of occupants that can be studied in the design process. In a simulation, full size and realistic operating conditions can be realized, and the computational effort is affordable even for a small design group. The comparisons with experimental data performed so far indicate that the accuracy of simulation is comparable to that of an experiment.

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