WHAT IS THE BOAT SAFETY SCHEME?
The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) is a public safety initiative owned jointly by the Canal and River Trust (CRT) and the Environment Agency (EA). Its purpose is to minimise the risk of boat fires, explosions, or pollution harming users of the inland waterways. It has been developed as a set of standards used to ensure the safe installation of systems in boats. Although primarily aimed at inland vessels, the scheme can be used as ‘good practice’ for sea-going vessels also. It should not be considered as a review of the boats’ condition.
WHY DO I NEED A BSS CERTIFICATE?
A BSS Certificate is a pre-requisite for obtaining a navigation licence which lasts for 4 years. However, it’s more than just a process. It ensures that you and your boat is safe and meets all of the minimum safety requirements on the water.
WHEN SHOULD I BOOK AN EXAMINATION?
Boat Safety Examinations can take place up to 2 months prior to the expiry of an existing BSS certificate. It is advisable to book an examination in this 2 month period just in case any remedial work is required before the existing certificate expires.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
An examination depends on the vessel and its installations, but an average can be about 2 hours.
WHAT'S INVOLVED IN AN EXAMINATION?
Boat Safety Examinations look at specific areas such as fuel, electrical and LPG installations, fire protection and escape, appliances and flues, ventilation and pollution prevention. Engines don’t need to be running but all pipework and hoses need to be complete and installed. Appliances need to be fully functioning.
DO I NEED TO BE PRESENT AT THE EXAMINATION?
It’s not always necessary for owners to attend boat safety examinations but it is recommended. Examiners need free access to certain parts of the boat and an owner needs to be present to enable this. Also, small rectifications can take place during the examination by the owner, which would help your boat pass.
IS THE PROCESS COMPLICATED?
No. Obtaining certification needn’t be tedious - it’s not as complicated as you might think. We can work together to make the process more efficient, raise your awareness of BSS standards, and enable your boat to pass.
WHAT TYPES OF BOAT CAN BE EXAMINED?
Examinations are carried out for all inland craft, and boats carrying fuel or fitted with cooking, heating, refrigerating, or lighting appliances, whether they are powered or not - for example, barges, narrowboats and wide beams, butty’s, cruisers, petrol, diesel or electric powered.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I LIVE ON MY BOAT?
The BSS stipulates that if your boat is your residence, and you have a Bubble Tester correctly fitted into your boat’s LPG system, then an examination can take place.
However, if you don’t have a Bubble Tester fitted, UK law stipulates that the LPG system needs to be tested by a Gas Safe Engineer (one that is qualified to work on boats with LPG). This Engineer should be booked to attend at the time of the examination.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE EXAMINATION IS COMPLETED?
If your boat passes you will receive a BSS certificate/BSS examination report (BSSER). This can be hardcopy, electronic or both if you wish. If your boat fails to meet the BSS requirements a failure sheet will be issued outlining the items that require any remedial work.