Although participating navigation authorities have access to the BSS online database, boat owners, insurance companies, marinas, brokers etc cannot log into the BSS database directly.
This is because we cannot release the data openly and it is because the BSS does not hold any detail about who owns or is the registered keeper of any particular boat
However, some navigation authorities have an online system for anyone registering or licensing a boat for their waterways, where that person can view their own boat details through a secure webpage.
"There is still a certification report and boat owners must be given either an electronic copy, or a paper copy or even both by the examiner..."
Some navigation authorities still wish to ask you to supply a copy, and others may ask for the basic details from the certification report.
They are then able to use the access to the BSS data to double check the validity of the information you have provided.
Existing BSS examination data is already held on a central database and authorised BSS Examiners have been inputting in to this for over two years. It holds only examination and boat data, no owner or personal information is included.
The change also means that new BSS Certificates no longer need special pre-printed coloured forms, instead they will be provided by Examiners either as electronic files or printed out by the examiner on plain paper in black ink.
After a successful boat examination, the owner will get a copy of the receipt-style certificate, also called a BSS Examination Report, to keep for their own records. The report can be either a print-out, an electronic version or both as the boat owner prefers - this preference should be made clear when arranging the examination.
Where relevant, it may include any failure notifications and advisory information, combined in one multi-page document.
Existing BSS Certificates will continue to remain valid until reaching the expiry date.
Let's take a look at the features of the new certification report.
There are two versions of the BSS examination report and certificate. There is a preprinted version the examiner may take out into the field. Alternatively, the examiner can generate the certificate directly out of the database and either email it to the owner or print it out for the owner's benefit
You can see both versions on these links:
The basic layouts are exactly the same and can be split into four or five distinct sections.
i) At the top, the examiners details will be on display. And the space between those details and the logo is left for the examiner to emboss, if and when, he prints out the document.
ii) The next section concerns the basic facts of the examination and the boat. One of the key fields concerns the classification of the checks carried out, being either for privately-owned, privately-managed boats. Or they will be for non-private craft e.g. hire boats; passenger vessels; etc. The validity of a BSS pass result may be affected and can be cancelled if a hire boat or other type of non-private boat is examined against the 'private boat' category of BSS checks.
iii) Underneath the basic facts is a brief log of what the examiner found and examined. This confirms the risk features that formed part of the examination process.
A BSS examination is a snapshot of the condition of a boat's fuel and power systems. If over time these are changed or added to, then it is the owner's responsibility to maintain the systems in good condition and compliant with the navigation authority's requirements.
iv) The next section is the key part that indicates whether the report is a pass and certificate has been issued. A certificate will be issued if the passes all checks, or if the examination passes all the requirements, but advice checks fail. Any points not passed will be listed in the comments section
v) The second page is for any examiner's comments on checks that have not passed. When these are Advice checks, those marked with an (A), these represent best-safety practice and meeting them all is highly recommended. Any listed in the report may be material to the vessel's insurance and the boat owner's duties under the law of occupier's liability.
- The BSS examination continues in the same way, it's just that there's no blue copy of the BSS Certificate to pass to the navigation authority.
- Boat owners must still be given either an electronic version of the report, or a paper print-out or both, as the owner prefers.
- Navigation authorities may still ask owners for examination numbers, the examiner name, examination date, expiry date and the classification of checks used - all of which is then later confirmed through the database.
- The certificate sets out clearly when the boat was examined, what the examiner found, and the certification expiry date.
- The change will help some navigation authorities to develop online boat registration and licensing, making the administration easier.
- The BSS would like boat owners to continue to pass on the BSS certification information from their boat file to the new owner, if or when, the craft is sold on.
- The BSS examination central database holds only examination and boat data, no owner or personal information is included.
- This means boats owners do not get direct access to the BSS database.
- The improvements will also involve essential boat risk information being recorded online by BSS Examiners and this is planned to improve safety on the waterways.