BNWAS FAQs

Here is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about BNWAS. If you can't find the answer to your question in the list below then feel free to click on the contact us button at the bottom of the page and ask us your question.

Q. When does it come into force?
A. The requirement for the installation of a BNWAS comes into force over the next 3 years in stages depending on the vessel type. A timetable of the implementation dates can be found below.

Q. What is the schedule for implementing BNWAS?
A. BNWAS Implementation Schedule

Q. Will my current dead-man alarm allow me to comply with BNWAS regulations?
A. If you already have a simple dead man alarm system installed on your vessel then don't assume that this will automatically make you exempt from complying with the new BNWAS requirements. You may be able to get an exemption but this is by no means guaranteed. To help you determine if your current system meets the requirements we have compiled a checklist. If you are in any doubt, then you should check with your classification society.

Q. When should I install a BNWAS?
A. The vessels next dry-docking is an ideal time to install and if the system is designed as a simple installation, the work could be done whilst alongside or during passage.

Q. Should the system be Type Approved?
A. The requirement for a Bridge Navigation Watch Alarm System (BNWAS) is a mandatory requirement under SOLAS V / Regulation 19 and as such the system should be Type Approved under the Classification Society of the vessel the system is being installed on. It should be noted that the Type Approval will specifically make mention of SOLAS V / Regulation 19 or the Type Approval will not be valid with these latest SOLAS regulations.

Q. What performance standards should the system be certified to?
A. In 2010 a new BNWAS performance standard was published. The new standard IEC 62616-1: 2010 specifies new communication protocols as well as the existing standards and any system purchased should have proof that it is certified to these standards.

Q. What's the least stressful technology for the bridge staff?
A. A Danish study of over 200 BNWAS equipped vessels (the Danish flag mandated BNWAS systems several years ago) found that bridge staff were less stressed when a PIR (passive infra-red) system was used compared with a manual push button type system.

Download Summary of Danish BNWAS Questionnaire

Q. Do all Classification Societies accept the use of PIRs?
A. There can be some variation in attitudes towards PIRs among the various Classification Societies and Flag Authorities. Lloyds Register originally did not allow their use but has more recently amended its standpoint to allow their use except on vessels with the additional 'NAV1' or 'IBS' class notations. As such, if you have any vessels classified under LR with these additional notations then you will need a system that employs manual reset functionality. Choosing a BNWAS with Lloyds Register (LR) Type Approval will ensure you meet these requirements. It is always worth checking with your Classifacation Society and Flag Authority to clarify their interpretation of the rules.

Q. What's the minimal compliance option?
A. The minimal requirement to comply with the regulations is to have a system with a control panel, one re-set push button, one bridge sounder, one level 2 sounder, and one level 3 sounder.

Q. Can the system be fitted by the ship's crew?
A. Provided the system has been designed to be simple to install then the ship's electrician should be able to install the system. There are a number of more complicated PLC based systems that may prove problematic to install and may impinge on warranties. The manufacturer should be able to advise you whether the crew can install the system and be able to provide clear and simple installation instructions for the crew.

Q. Do I need re-set buttons on the bridge wings?
A. Apart from ClassNK which suggests one re-set button on each bridge wing unless a reset device is located nearby in the wheelhouse, bridge wing resets are optional not mandatory. However, when officers spend considerable time on the bridge wings it is advisable to have them installed to prevent stage 2 and 3 alarms escalating through the vessel.

Q. Should the system include battery back-up?
A. The regulations make specific mention of a battery supply, whilst some systems may try to use this wording applicable to the ships own emergency 24 V dc supply, this is unlikely to be accepted by many surveyors or Class Societies.

Q. Does the system include serial communication interface to your VDR?
A. The new performance standards published in 2010 (IEC 62616-1: 2010) specify that the system must communicate with the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR). The system will need to communicate in the specific communication protocol set down by the VDR regulations.

Q. Does the system include a form of data-logging in real time?
A. Should the worst scenario happen you will need to understand what happened on your bridge and a data-logging option will provide you with essential evidence of activity and alarm activations.

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