Marine structures such as ships and offshore platforms are mostly made of metals and designed with damage tolerance. This design philosophy requires accurate prediction of fatigue crack growth under service conditions. Now more and more people have realized that only a fatigue life prediction method based on fatigue crack propagation (FCP) theory has the potential to explain various fatigue phenomena observed. However, it is not the case that any type of FCP theory can work. As a matter of fact, from the very fundamental question of fatigue crack driving forces to the more complicated fatigue crack growth rate expressions all are needed critical examination. In the past several years, the group led by the authors have made some efforts in developing a unified fatigue life prediction (UFLP) method for marine structures. By unified method the authors mean that the method should be able to explain all the observed fatigue phenomena. In this paper, an overview of these researches is carried out and our main research results are presented.

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