BAM - Bridge Alarm Management

This topic has come up here a few times. Got any experience with this?

From here: New Bridge Alert Management now effective - Aug 2021

BAM is a critical safety initiative, intended to reduce the number of similar alert signals on a vessel’s bridge. According to MSC 302/A, BAM refers to the overall concept for management, handling and harmonized presentation of alerts on the bridge.

Is the master caution light system not a thing on ships? You have one light and alarm in one place that alerts you to look and see on a central display what is causing the alarm and there is a way to shut the audio portion of it off.

No, at least in the wheelhouses I worked in each piece of equipment is in it’s own world. For example if the GPS signal is lost each device that uses a GPS signal will also alarm.

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There are no rules, its a huge mess.
On a complex bridge, drilling, pipelaying etc its covered in hidden alarms

A good start would be to atleast have a light that goes with a sound so you can find it.

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The biggest issue I, and many others, have is the dang frequency of the alarms is either a) too high to accurately locate WHICH device is alarming or b) it becomes lost in the vibration/background noise.

Is it too hard to put a co-located light with an alarm buzzer?!?!?

One man wheelhouses (tugs) are not the place for poorly designed alarm systems, yet…here we are…still.

Airplanes were that way long ago until someone figured out that random lights and noises from all over the place were far more likely to drive the crew to distraction than to be helpful.

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That’s why they’re all called nuisance alarms.


Mark have tried to go down this route with their in house newbuilds

Maybe in response to the Emma Maersk accident which I referred to on another thread.

I retired in 2022 , until that time the only coherent response I saw was on the Maersk triple E

For many years engineers have had a central alarm system and commonly utilising more than 400 alarm points . The alarms are displayed on a screen in order of importance and audio alarms can be silenced with the use of a single button.
Outside the control room a vertical indicator shows the nature of the alarm, ie telephone, mechanical etc.
I am unable to comprehend why this system is not followed with bridge design when a lot of navigation equipment already has connectivity. Equipment such as steering gear has an alarm system fitted that could be tapped in to a central bus.

I was sent over to a ship as Chief a long time ago that had problems with constant alarms. The engineers had made clips that would go over the acknowledge buttons so they would always be depressed.

The artical makes it sound like this is only for GMDSS equipment? Definitely still needed, given its not terribly useful when it sounds like there is an incoming missile whether the printer us out of paper, its a monthly tsunami warning, theres a hurricane in a different ocean, or there actually is an incoming missile.

BAM is for all the alarms, not just GMDSS. Here’s the pdf - ADOPTION OF PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR

The linked article does seem misleading. I don’t know much about this, the standards are from 2010 and are apparently voluntarily.

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For sure plenty of us have found the source of the noise, called the company and they say it cant make noise, then after some days they come back with, well maybe if such and such happened it would alarm.

It if doesnt move from part B to part A then its not a rule

I think think they should all sound exactly the same as the Coffee Pot and the little f!@#$%^ beep, I can’t hear on my hearing test.
In addition to all the important alarms. Someone in charge of a desk should make a standard operating procedure.
Requiring all possible Optional Alarm Functions on all ARPA ECDIS GPS to be active at all times and use the same beep. JIK someone in the office building may stand a remote possibility of being held accountable for something.
An Additional Alarm with a timer and the same beep tone should be fitted to a button which has to be pushed every time the timer set of the Alarm.
In addition to all the Alarms on the Bridge alarms should be fitted in all officer cabins mess room and recreation areas to sound if the bridge button is not pushed immediately after the bridge button alarm sounds
Check list for all Alarms should be kept on the bridge to be checked every time an Alarm Sounds.
To further ensure compliance create a bunch of read and understood sign up forms to be signed by all employee’s
Add an internal Audit Department to carry out regular audit to ensure all boxes have been ticked on all check lists and all read and understood have been signed.
Add a manager to ensure no auditor actually checks to see if anything has actually bean read or if any of the check list items have actually been check.
It is vitally important to the entire SMS System that no actually evidence of any actual problems with anything can be used to to disprove plausible deniability by anyone in corporate management. Or our Delegated Regulatory Oversight Auditor

I am contemplating applying for a Job with Transport Canada or the IMO


The lights that go with them should be different colours to suit the severity

Like this?

I just delivered one of these and the warning lights were nice, all in one place and color coded.


Yep got a panel just like that one.
Plus all the rest.
Anything with a screen, has some kind of alarm.

He who pays the piper calls the tune.:thinking:

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Aviation is not far off: A master caution light, then a screen that shows what is in alarm state.

Of course, retrofitting older tugs/ships with such a system may fall under the “safety first, unless it costs money” line of thought. If it were an IMO/USCG/ABS mandate, though…

Let’s be honest, it takes time to chase down/isolate/trouble shoot alarms and minimal manning does not make it easy.

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