Lifeboats are essential life-saving equipment for all types of water-going vessels and offshore platforms. Lifeboat simulators have been created specifically for offshore personnel to practice in conditions that are normally too risky for live training. As simulation training is a relatively new alternative, there is a need to assess how training performed with a simulator compares with conventional training. This study was performed to evaluate how skills acquired with different training approaches transferred to an emergency scenario. Over a period of one year, participants received quarterly training in one of three ways: using live boats, computer-based training or a simulator. Following training, participants were evaluated on their ability to launch and manoeuvre a lifeboat in a plausible emergency. The study results suggest a benefit to performing training with realistic lifeboat controls and practicing using representative emergency scenarios. Insights are provided on how training can be modified to increase competence.