A new Offshore Standard (DNV-OS-E406) [1] has been developed for the design of Free Fall Lifeboats (FFLB) used for emergency evacuation from offshore structures. This standard aims at ensuring safe evacuation, focusing on the design at an early stage. Load (CFD) and structural (FE) analyses are used to assist in determining whether or not the free fall lifeboats comply with the Target Safety requirements as set forth by the Standard.

The present paper describes the methodology used when assessing the structural capacity of FFLB. The structural integrity is established throughout every phase of a lifeboat drop, linking computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element analysis (FEA). Loads computed from CFD on a finite volume mesh are interpolated to a finite element model where the structural analysis can be performed in order to obtain stresses, strains and deflections, and finally assess the structural capacity of the lifeboat.

Emphasis in this work is given to the hydrodynamic model and loads, while structural analyses are discussed more in depth by Brinchmann et al. [2].

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