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After first-hand experience of the traditional rope basket transfer, the founders of Reflex Marine decided to develop a safer method for offshore workers to get to and from work. They started by reviewing a database of traditional rope basket incidents, from which they outlined the four main risks when carrying out personnel transfers by crane. The FROG was then designed to address these risks and to provide the safest means of moving personnel by crane. The vision of Reflex Marine is to provide operators with safer crew access solutions.  The FROG has been widely adopted around the world and millions of safe transfers have been performed with this device.

The FROG capsule is a crane aided transfer device developed by Reflex Marine, in which personnel are safely transferred between vessels and offshore installations. This unit has revolutionized the way that crews are transferred offshore in many locations around the world.

However, the innovation that Reflex Marine brings to the industry goes well beyond just supplying high quality equipment. Reflex Marine sees its role as a facilitator for enhancing relevant safety and operational knowledge for all parties involved in crew transfers.

During the development process of the FROG, a strong area of focus was to ‘design out’ much of the risk of crew transfers by offering passengers very high levels of protection, which also reduce the reliance on human responses. The frame of the FROG was subjected to horizontal impact testing.  Finite element analysis was used to verify the inherent strength of the tetrahedral structure.

To assess risks to passengers during collisions, a detailed biomechanical assessment was conducted by the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA), an independent research authority.  This confirmed that the capsule provided protection against neck and back injuries.

Drop tests to the maximum anticipated landing speed, confirmed the engineering design. Deceleration loads were also analysed by MIRA, who confirmed that the capsule provided excellent protection against back injury, even in the heaviest of landings.

Extensive testing in a wave simulation pool was conducted to verify the floating performance and self-righting capability.

From a commercial standpoint, it was evident that the promotion of the FROG had to be less about the equipment and more about everything surrounding it. Therefore Reflex Marine focussed on educating operators, challenging existing practices, increasing awareness on risks, and ultimately proposing safer ways of carrying out transfer operations. This approach has definitely paid off to move the business forward.

Reflex Marine has raised the profile of crew transfer safety across the industry.  In response, competitors have redeveloped their products to try to compete and for the first time are supplying detailed operational guidelines and video training, to try to improve safety.  Reflex sets a new standard in all these areas. Unfortunately, some negative impressions still remain since some operators associate marine transfers with antiquated equipment, not compliant to current legal norms.

In contrast to other external riding devices, passengers in the FROG sit in full bucket seats, secured by a harness.  These features, combined with an efficient suspension system and a rigid structure, protect personnel against all common impact scenarios. 

Over the past five years a new generation of advanced high speed and high comfort crew supply vessels, which are using the FROG in some regions, has challenged even the assumption that marine crew transfers cannot be used in certain offshore set ups. As a result, some blue-chip operators are moving away from other offshore transfer alternatives and adopting the FROG.