An Assessment of the CF Submarine Watch Schedule Variants for Impact on Crew Performance


  1. Paul, M.A.
  2. Gray, G.W.
  3. Nesthus, T.E.
  4. Miller, J.C.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
In support of the Board of Inquiry investigating the October 2005 fire on board HMCS Chicoutimi, DRDC Toronto was asked to model crew cognitive effectiveness at the time of the fire and at the time of casualty evacuation approximately 28 hrs after the fire. The results of this modeling effort (based on sleep behaviour estimates) suggested that our submariners were operating at significantly reduced levels of cognitive effectiveness. Therefore DRDC Toronto was tasked to conduct an at-sea trial, this time using real actigraphically-derived sleep data in order to more accurately model the impact of the watch schedule on crew cognitive effectiveness. Twenty-one submariners participated as subjects in this at-sea trial. Three of these subjects were non-watch-standers (CO, Coxswain and CERA), 6 subjects were from the 1-in-2 back-watch, 6 subjects were from the 1-in-2 front-watch, and 6 subjects were from the 1-in-3 engineers’ watch. The trial took place on a Canadian submarine during a 13-day transatlantic return to Halifax. All subjects wore wrist activity monitors (actigraphs) in order to measure their daily sleep patterns quantitatively. The subjects also maintained a daily activity and sleep log, and performed daily iterations of the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT). The modelled cognitive effectiveness was worse than the previous modeling efforts for Chicoutimi which used sleep behaviour estimates. The activity and sleep log data indicated increasing difficulty arising from

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Submarine watch system;shiftlag;fatigue;cognitive effectiveness
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-TR-2008-007 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Mar 2008
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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