“Binnacle List”. A binnacle is a waist-high case or stand on the deck of a ship, generally mounted in front of the helmsman, in which navigational instruments are placed for easy and quick reference as well as to protect the delicate instruments. Its traditional purpose was to hold the ship's magnetic compass, mounted in gimbals to keep it level while the ship pitched and rolled.
The term binnacle list, in lieu of sick list, originated years ago when ship corpsmen used to place a list of sick on the binnacle for the use of the officer of the deck . After long practice, it came to be called binnacle list.