The paper investigates the performance of free fall life boats during drop- and sail away, targeting both experimental techniques and software development. Particular emphasis is put on clarifying what kind of tests should be carried out in order to tune the pertinent software for evaluating the lifeboat response. A variety of tests are also proposed in order to provide benchmark cases for software and for demonstrating system behaviour.

Stochastic environments, different time scales, scatter among test samples and occasional shortcomings in vessel manoeuvrability add to the problem of making reliable predictions for free fall lifeboats. The inherent randomness of the problem necessitates a large number of tests and numerical simulations in order to investigate the statistical properties of the lifeboat path during getaway.

The paper is providing evidence and guidance on how to meet these challenges. Theoretical arguments are given, underpinning the claims made, and further justification is provided by a number of experiments and test examples.

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