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To the Lighthouse

“Aren’t you drenched to the skin?” she had said.
“Damp, not wet through,” said Mr Tansley,
pinching his sleeve, feeling his socks.”

- Woolf

That might have been the dialogue among four dedicated Memorial researchers as they bobbed about for hours upon hours in a life raft. No, they weren't truly lost at sea, hoping to find a lighthouse beacon to herald land in sight. But they were feeling the effects of the cold, wet weather as they tested life raft survival gear.

Last fall Jim Boone, Rob Brown, Lawrence Mak and Dr. Fabien Basset were the human subjects for the tests. Huddled together in a 16-person life raft, they spent up to eight hours at a time in the ice tank at the National Research Council's Institute for Ocean Technology on Memorial's St. John's campus. Sometimes in dry clothing, other times in wet, they worked to identify areas of improvement in life raft performance with a focus on heat loss. After all, even if the lighthouse is in sight, it can be a long, cold wait until rescue comes.