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Boat Safety Examinations

The Scheme is jointly sponsored by British Waterways and the Environment Agency. It is a harmonised system of technical requirements for boats on inland waterways and it supports the navigation authorities ‘duty of care’. The objectives are to minimise the risks of fire starting and spreading, explosion and pollution. The Scheme assists and educates boat owners in personal health and safety. The Scheme comprises both mandatory requirements and advisory items and certificates are issued in support of a navigation licence or toll when renewing or licensing for the first time.

For more details of the Boat Safety Examination or to arrange a test, contact

The Scheme applies to all powered vessels, all vessels let out for hire or reward (with a few exceptions which are covered separately) and to all vessels carrying fuel or fitted with cooking, heating, refrigerating or lighting appliances whether powered or not. A certificate is not required for a privately owned ‘open’ boat powered solely by an outboard. For the purposes of assessment, ‘open’ means that any accommodation is no more then a shelter with no door.

The Scheme covers a number of key areas including: permanently installed fuel systems and fixed engines, electrical systems, electrical propulsion systems, outboard and portable combustion engines and portable fuel systems, fire extinguishing and escape, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) systems, cooking, heating, refrigerating, and lighting appliances and pollution prevention. Not all of these areas will apply to every boat of course.

There’s a really good guide to the BSS with lots of other useful information. This can be downloaded for free by clicking on the link shown here. Whilst there is no leeway allowed when it comes to your examination, we take a consultative approach. We will take the time to discuss the best way to overcome any areas of non-compliance and what the implications are of any changes you may be considering in the future. We charge a fixed price for examination which includes the issue of the certificate and up to three visits within a one month period during which time you will have the opportunity to rectify any issues that may need attention and we are always available by phone or email if you have any questions.

The Boat Safety Examination only comes around every four years and the requirements of the scheme are largely common sense and choosing a knowledgeable and experienced examiner will make the whole process much smoother. You would be surprised though at some of the things we come across in our daily work.