The research investigates the influence of human expertise on the effectiveness of ice management operations. The key contribution is an experimental method for investigating human factor issues in an operational setting. Ice management is defined as a systematic operation that enables a marine operation to proceed safely in the presence of sea ice. In this study, the effectiveness of ice management operations was assessed in terms of ability to modify the presence of pack ice around an offshore structure. This was accomplished in a full-mission marine simulator as the venue for a systematic investigation. In the simulator, volunteer participants from a range of seafaring experience levels were tasked with individually completing ice management tasks. Recorded from 36 individuals' simulations, we compared ice management effectiveness metrics against two independent variables: (i) experience level of the participant, categorized as either cadet or seafarer and (ii) ice severity, measured in ice concentration. The results showed a significant difference in ice management effectiveness between experience categories. We examined what the seafarers did that made them more effective and characterized their operational tactics. The research provides insight into the relative importance of vessel operator skills in contributing to effective ice management, as well as how this relative importance changes as ice conditions vary from mild to severe. This may have implications for training in the nautical sciences and could help to inform good practices in ice management.

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