The Effect of Wave Motion Intensities on Performance in a Simulated Search and Rescue Task and the Concurrent Demands of Maintaining Balance
Journal article, 2022

Objective The purpose of this study was to examine how intensity of wave motions affects the performance of a simulated maritime search and rescue (SAR) task. Background Maritime SAR is a critical maritime occupation; however, the effect of wave motion intensity on worker performance is unknown. Methods Twenty-four participants (12 male, 12 female) performed a simulated search and rescue task on a six-degree-of-freedom motion platform in two conditions that differed in motion intensity (low and high). Task performance, electromyography (EMG), and number of compensatory steps taken by the individual were examined. Results As magnitude of simulated motion increased, performance in the SAR task decreased, and was accompanied by increases in lower limb muscle activation and number of steps taken. Conclusions Performance of an SAR task and balance control may be impeded by high-magnitude vessel motions. Application This research has the potential to be used by maritime engineers, occupational health and safety professionals, and ergonomists to improve worker safety and performance for SAR operators.

moving environments

search and rescue

wave motions

muscle activation

task performance


Carolyn A. Duncan

Michigan Technological University

Nicole Bishop

Memorial University of Newfoundland

Vicki Komisar

Simon Fraser University

Scott Mackinnon

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Maritime Studies

Jeannette M. Byrne

Memorial University of Newfoundland

Human Factors

0018-7208 (ISSN) 1547-8181 (eISSN)

Vol. 64 3 579-588

Subject Categories

Vehicle Engineering


Computer Systems





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