More than hours of work: fatigue management during high-intensity maritime operations

Matthew J.W. Thomas, Jessica L. Paterson, Sarah M. Jay, Raymond W. Matthews, Sally A. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: This study examines the impacts of peak summer demand on operator workload and fatigue in a maritime environment. 

Methods: Participants (n = 12) were senior shipboard personnel who were working during the summer “double sailing” period for a roll-on roll-off ferry service. Wrist actigraphy was used to determine sleep opportunity and sleep duration, as well as prior sleep, total wake time, performance and alertness at the beginning and end of work periods. 

Results: Contrary to expectations, sleep was significantly greater, and both subjective estimates of fatigue and objective neurobehavioral performance were not impacted negatively by periods of increased work intensity. 

Conclusions: This study highlights a number of features of a fatigue-risk management system that appear to have been instrumental in ensuring adequate sleep and performance was maintained throughout periods of increased operational intensity. As a simple colloquial description of the fatigue-risk management system at play in this operation, it was fine to “work hard” if you were able to “sleep hard” as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalChronobiology International
Issue number1
Early online date8 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • fatigue
  • safety
  • Sleep


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