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Lifeboats are important for the safety of crew on oil platforms and marine vessels. Their design has so far been mostly based on experimental studies. However, the large number of factors which influence the loads on the lifeboat structure and its occupants makes optimization studies by experimental means both time-consuming and expensive. Besides, many effects cannot be studied at laboratory scale due to the inability to match all similarity parameters, and certain conditions cannot be realized in a laboratory. Numerical simulations based on modern computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods could complement experimental studies if proven to be sufficiently accurate and efficient. The aim of this study is to demonstrate that this indeed is the case: comparisons between experimental data and
simulation results performed by the authors so far indicate that the achieved accuracy in numerical simulations is comparable to the accuracy of experiments. It is also shown that asimulation of one drop test can be performed with sufficient accuracy in one day on a single core of a personal computer. Together with a computational method which uses overlapping grids to simplify the handling of lifeboat motion and specification of initial and boundary conditions, parametric studies of lifeboat water entry have thus become practicable.