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Hum Factors. 2012 Apr;54(2):264-76.

Effectiveness of suspension seats in maintaining performance following military high-speed boat transits.

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  • 1Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Chichester, College Lane, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 6PE, United Kingdom. s.myers@chi.ac.uk



The aim of this study was to investigate whether suspension seats (SS) fitted to rigid inflatable boats (RIB) could help maritime boarding teams maintain running performance during the high-risk posttransit phase.


High-speed RIB transits have been reported to cause reductions in the running performance of boarding teams posttransit.


In this experiment, two pairs of teams completed a 3-hr transit in either calm or rough seas (calm, 5 vs. 5; rough, 6 vs. 6) in an RIB fitted with either fixed (FS) or Suspension seats (SS). Exhaustive shuttle run distance was measured pre- and immediately posttransit. Transit heart rate and perceived exertion (RPE) were measured and deck and seat pan acceleration recorded; the latter were reported as impacts count and peak magnitude.


Distance run was reduced for the FS teams following both transits (calm,-250 m,-20%, p < .07; rough, -398 m, -26%, p < .05), whereas it was unchanged for the SS teams. All transit heart rates and RPE indicated light exertion levels. Seat pan impacts were similarly reduced during the calm transit (FS, -42%; SS, -30%); however, during the rough transit, the SS was more than twice as effective (FS, -32%; SS, -71%). Peak impact magnitudes were reduced by the SS (calm, -38%; rough, -57%) and amplified by the FS (calm, +3%; rough, +28%).


Suspension seats effectively maintained posttransit running performance by reducing magnitude of the vertical shocks imposed on the passengers.


High-speed RIB transits followed immediately by high-intensity activity are intrinsic to contemporary maritime operations; suspension seats can maintain post-transit physical performance, thereby enhancing safety and operational effectiveness.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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