Pete Sheppard - Senior Naval Architect, RNLI
Pete Sheppard C.Eng MRINA is a Senior Naval Architect at the RNLI and manages the whole body vibration mitigation work within the Engineering Office.
Pete joined the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in 2006 with extensive knowledge and experience in composites and boat building. He has been running a program of measurement, research and development into Whole Body Vibration monitoring and its effects across the RNLI’s fleet. He has started to combine this learning with the particular human factors seen on Search and Rescue vessels. In addition, Pete has been responsible for structural design, resolving production and processing issues during the construction of lifeboats and specifying and overseeing structural repairs and upgrades of existing boats.
Pete is providing technical input to the RNLI’s response to the EU whole body and hand arm vibration legislation and sits on the BSI and ISO technical working groups. This has included setting up testing programs, data analysis, prototyping new seat designs and assessing ergonomics as well as a viability study into real-time posture analysis at sea.
Since the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was founded in 1824 lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. RNLI Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 5000 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3000 volunteer shore crew. RNLI crews aim to launch lifeboats within 10 minutes of being notified, and can operate up to 100 nautical miles out to sea. RNLI aim to reach 90% of casualties within 10 nautical miles of the coast, within 30 minutes of a launch – in any weather. RNLI saves lives at sea throughout the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. This is achieved through four principal activities; lifeboats, lifeguards, community safety, flood rescue. These four strands make up the RNLI Concept of Operations. The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services.
The Challenges of Integrating WBV Mitigation into Existing Fleets
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) was established in 1824, and now operates 340 lifeboats from 236 locations with approximately 5000 volunteer crew. Operating in all weathers and sea conditions around the UK and Republic of Ireland, returning the crews and survivors safely back to port is paramount. With that many boats in operation retrofitting Whole Body Vibration (WBV) mitigation is a necessity, and risk-based planning essential in optimizing use of resources.
Some considerations and thoughts are offered on integrating WBV reducing measures onto existing fleets of vessels and how the work priorities are starting to be assessed across multiple vessel types operating in a range of different environments. These encompass challenges that face large and small fleet operators as budgets and resources available to reduce the risks are always present. The understanding of the background information that is needed and the approach to date, rather than the practical issues of fitting the options is discussed.