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Title: Comparative Stern Launch and Recovery Performance

Author(s): Ryan Roberts, PE, Lew Thomas, Eric Schmid, Ben Brainard

Abstract: Beginning in 2009 the U.S. Coast Guard Surface Forces Logistics Center conducted three sets of full scale trials onboard National Security Cutters (418 WMSL), one set of trials onboard a Fast Response Cutter (154 WPC), and one set of trials onboard a Marine Protector Class Patrol Boat (87 WPB) to assess performance of stern ramp boat launch and recovery. Results indicate that specific characteristics of the cutters and boats used in each case have significant impacts on preferred operating procedures as well as performance in a seaway. Each set of trials results will be presented in terms of lessons learned and the differences in behavior across the three cutter classes described. In addition, differences in boat response and risks during launch and recovery with the three cutter classes will be illustrated, and the resulting differences in operational strategies will be discussed. Finally, differences between the characteristics and capabilities of the four classes of boats tested during these trials will be discussed in terms of desired features for these types of operations.