Huh. Keep searching, because you’re using the proper search term. Google doesn’t like “BNWAS” and Bing crashes when you enter it.
So, BNWAS. Like many wheelhouse annoyances, it good in theory and a horrible pain in the ass in practice. Let me tell you a story:
I have a pal who is a captain at Cralley. He was recounting a frustrating two weeks with a 2nd Mate who got dispatched because said captain had just run off another 2/M for being incompetent. So the new guy comes aboard, does his orientation etc and says he feels comfortable taking his watch an assuming the duties of a 2/M. On the 12-4 watch, every now and then the captain would pop upstairs to check on the 2/M. Two days into the trip, the captain goes up to the wheelhouse and it’s empty. No 2/M anywhere in sight. Checking the neighborhood the captain realized that it was safe for him to leave the wheelhouse also, to go look for the 2/M. Quickly he found the guy, back at the winch controls, shirt off, staring off to sea and smoking a cigarette. The 2/M was told to return to the pilothouse and to not leave it while on watch without summoning the C/M or the captain to cover for him.
The next day, the captain wakes up from his morning nap to the sound of the BNWAS blaring away on the bridge. He ran up there, and gosh golly, the place is empty. No 2/M. Captain heads back to the winch controls and there is the 2/M, smoking a cigarette. On their return to the wheelhouse, the captain mentions that the BNWAS was going off. 2/M: “You guys use that thing?”
Two days later, (its a long trip) the BNWAS alarm goes off in the Chief Mate’s stateroom, and at the pre-set interval, starts blasting in the captain’s stateroom. Silly 2/M.
So, given the parameters of that particular BNWAS’s settings, the captain figured that the 2/M had been out of the pilothouse for at least 10 minutes, with targets on the RADAR.
The BNWAS on that vessel was set to alarm in the pilothouse after 12 minutes (!) of no detected movement. The C/M’s alarm kicked in 90 seconds later, and the captain’s alarm 90 seconds after that. So the 2/M had been outside for at least 13 1/2 minutes. Cralley changed the settings after that to 6 minutes, which makes a hell of a lot more sense.
The 2/M left the boat upon arrival at the next port.
Two weeks later, the same 2/M, while on watch on another voyage, executed, somehow, a 270 degree turn to the right at full speed, and T-boned the barge they were towing. Not that the BNWAS could have helped. The investigation revealed that the captain had disabled it.
Moral of the story: The BNWAS, while a pain in the ass, is an essential piece of equipment in today’s maritime labor environment, where mates are more focused on their earbuds than on the task at hand. All it takes to silence it is a wave of the hand and the motion sensor picks it up.
I just searched Ben Wa and my internal BNWAS started blaring in my head. I’m gonna go have some alone time now.
Love and kisses,