Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
We're launching a new website soon and would love your feedback. See the new design

Research project: Simulating high performance craft for design and training

Currently Active: 

The development of a driving simulator for power boats.

The introduction of legislation on exposure to whole body vibration has led to the development of a fast boat simulator which allows coxswains to practice their driving skills in waves without being exposed to the extremely high and potentially harmful levels of vibration the crew of these boats are subjected to.

This project started from an EPSRC research project into the design of high performance marine craft which were limited by the performance of the crew.

As part of this project a numerical model for investigating the motions and accelerations of high speed planing craft in waves was developed. This numerical model was validated against results from tank tests on a systematic series of planing hulls and 2D wedge drop tests.

The numerical model was incorporated in a design optimisation routine where the fitness function incorporated both the human performance and the craft propulsive power rather than just standard hull performance measures.


In order to communicate the findings of the research project, in particular the severity of the motions and accelerations experienced by these craft and how effective good driving can be in reducing these motions and accelerations, the numerical model was developed into a simulator game.

This simulator was exhibited at the Southampton Boat Show and at the University of Southampton for Science Week. The simulator was updated through a group design project, in which a new human interface was developed including a much better visual environment.

A collaborative study between psychology and engineering funded by the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute to determine if the level of boat driving expertise has an effect on interpreting oncoming waves, the use of the throttle and resulting boat speed was conducted. Experts from P1 Powerboat, the RNLI and RYA participated in the study.




to determine drivers ability to interpret approaching waves when driving at speed.
Eye tracking experiments

Associated research themes

Fluid dynamics

Related research groups

Maritime Engineering
Share this research project Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings