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Vessel motion thresholds for maintaining physical and cognitive performance: a study of naval personnel at sea

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Methods and results are reported from a study of ships companies' exposure to low-frequency motions on three vessels of the Royal Navy. The aim of the study was to investigate relationships between deck accelerations and the incidence of problems such as difficulties with physical tasks, cognitive activities, motion sickness, and work effort. Ship motions were recorded continuously during sea patrols of 10–14 days. The data collected from the three vessels comprised 105 days of ship motions over 12 patrols, with 779 associated daily diaries from 78 participants. Problems most strongly associated with vessel motions were related to the difficulties with physical tasks. Some cognitive aspects of task performance and motion sickness were associated with vertical acceleration magnitudes, but the correlations were less strong than with physical tasks.

Practitioner Summary: Little is known about the severity of ship motions that degrade physical and mental performance. The paper offers preliminary estimates of the motion threshold values below which the performance will not be degraded by motion.
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Keywords: cognitive effects; physical effects; ship motion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Naval Medicine, Alverstoke,PO12 2DL, UK 2: University of Southampton, ISVR, Highfield,Southampton,SO17 1BJ, UK

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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