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Work at sea: a study of sleep, and of circadian rhythms in physiological and psychological functions, in watchkeepers on merchant vessels

I. Watchkeeping on board ships: a methodological approach
  • W. P. Colquhoun
  • J. Rutenfranz
  • H. Goethe
  • B. Neidhart
  • R. Condone
  • R. Plett
  • P. Knauth
Original Articles

Summary

The safety of a ship depends substantially on its bridge watchkeepers, whose alertness and efficiency must be maintained at all hours of the day and night. Fatigue, circadian rhythms, and sleep disruption occasioned by the unusual working hours of these personnel may all affect their performance. A methodology for assessing the magnitude of this problem is proposed. The application of this methodology in a large-scale shipboard study of merchant mariners on extended voyages is then described, and details given of the techniques used to measure sleep and activity, and temporal variations in a range of physiological and psychological parameters. A summary of the data collected in the study is provided as a reference point for the reports on the different aspects of the results that follow in subsequent articles.

Key words

Watchkeeping Circadian rhythms Fatigue Sleep Performance efficiency 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. P. Colquhoun
    • 1
  • J. Rutenfranz
    • 2
  • H. Goethe
    • 3
  • B. Neidhart
    • 2
  • R. Condone
    • 1
  • R. Plett
    • 2
  • P. Knauth
    • 2
  1. 1.MRC Perceptual and Cognitive Performance Unit, Laboratory of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of SussexBrightonEngland
  2. 2.Department of Work Physiology IIInstitute of Occupational Health at the University of DortmundDortmund 1Germany
  3. 3.Department of Nautical MedicineBernhard-Nocht-Institute for Nautical and Tropical DiseasesHamburg 4Germany

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