The Boat Safety Scheme is an organisation with the intentions of doing exactly what is says on the tin. It’s purpose is to provide a safe environment for those visiting, working on or using the waterways of the UK. The scheme was originally introduced in 1986 and thankfully, despite an increasing number of boats on the waterways, safety related incidents have remained low.
It is jointly owned by the two managing waterways authorities, The Canal and River Trust and the Environment Agency.
It is a condition of most navigation authorities licence that all boats must meet minimum safety standards and therefore all craft are subject to regular examination. We refer constantly to the BSS during our text as this is the minimum acceptable standard that must be applied to all systems to ensure certification.
Examinations are mandatory for all craft over 4 years old and occur every 4 years.
Under a local law, boat builders who are members of the Canal Boat Builders Association (CBA) must provide a BSS certificate
with all new builds despite it not being a legal requirement.
Examiners are individuals who have had to satisfy strict criteria to become certified by the Scheme. As such, and operating as private individuals, fees can vary. Expect to pay around £150 for an examination that will last 2 to 3 hours on average.
Here is a link to the BSS web site where you can find more information on the organisation and postings on changes to regulations. http://www.boatsafetyscheme.org/
Regulations are constantly changing to take account of new technology and to steadily improve boat safety. Do not assume that a system that was compliant 2 years ago still meets requirements. All text in this site is based on a place in time. Double check with your local examiner and the BSS web site if you are unsure of anything you hear or read in relation to the Examination.
There is a network of qualified BSS examiner
s, a list of which can be found in our Services Directory
If you are building or renovating a boat your BSS examiner
is a very handy person to know. Be mindful though that it is his livelihood and has cost a considerable amount of money to become affiliated so don’t expect advise for nothing.