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Taber, M. J. & McGarr, G. W. (2013). Confidence in future helicopter underwater egress performance: An examination of training standards. Safety Science, 60, 169-175.

Confidence in Future Helicopter Underwater Egress Performance: An

Examination of Training Standards


Michael J. Taber1* and Gregory W. McGarr2


1 Survival Systems Integrated Services, 20 Orion Court, Dartmouth, NS, B2Y 4W6, Canada

2 Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Ave., St. Catharines, ON, L2S 3A1, Canada



When oil and gas operators send personnel on occupationally required survival

training programs, there is an expectation that the individuals will successfully

complete the course requirements and become part of the offshore workforce.

Based on current course requirements for helicopter underwater egress, it is not

surprising that pass rates are reported as being nearly 100%. However, with such a

high success rate, can there be a reasonable prediction of survival in a real

helicopter ditching. This paper outlines the current course requirement,

performance outcomes for 162 individuals completing five different underwater

courses, and an argument for modifying the evaluation of successful course

completion. The results from helicopter underwater egress training (HUET)

performance data collected from four international training providers indicates that

there was an overall success rate greater than 99% across egress trials regardless of

course training provider. Within a smaller dataset the results revealed that there

was a total of 32 failed attempts across 648 individual egress trials. Based on the

findings it is recommended that a critical examination of HUET programs focus on

skill acquisition and retention to ensure that offshore workforces are adequately

prepared in the event of an actual helicopter ditching.


Key words: survival; predicted performance; emergency response; skill retention


* Corresponding author

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