The Boat Safety Scheme

The Boat Safety Scheme, or BSS, is a public safety initiative run as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. Our role in supporting navigation and harbour authorities, is to help minimise the risk of boat fires, explosions, or pollution harming visitors to the inland waterways, the waterways' workforce, other waterways users and property on or alongside the waterways.

BSS Examination & Certification

Just like a car, on most of the UK's inland waterways, a boat needs to be licensed, insured and have the boat-equivalent of a MOT - valid BSS certification - before it can cruise, or in some circumstances moor.

Check with your navigation or harbour authority if this applies to your waterway, harbour or marina. (This is not in the BSS remit to state whether this applies)

Links to popular topics:

gas locker clipboard 90x90


Stay Safe

Most boat-related incidents involve someone on board doing something to cause it, or not doing something to avoid it.

With the help of some of the leading organisations in their fields, we have advice and tips that may help keep you and your crew safe.

Find out more about:

Fit CO Alarms

Petrol Can Sml

The BSS Organisation

You can learn more on how the Scheme is run, the committees that steer its activities, how stakeholders are involved in the decisions and policies, as well as how the appeals and complaints systems work.

BSS governance change in April 2024:

The Canal & River Trust, Environment Agency, Broads Authority, and the Association of Inland Navigation Authorities are announcing some governance changes to the Boat Safety Scheme which will see it become a not-for-profit company. [LINK]

BSS Annual Reports:

The BSS annual report on its activities over the year  is published here including the challenges the Scheme has faced, and may still be facing; the successes it has had, and highlighting the work of the committee volunteers and BSS Examiners. [LINK]

Revised and improved BSS Examination Checking Procedures - BSS committees have revised the Examination Checking Procedures (ECP) for private and hire boats as a result of an extensive review of the Procedures. Full details of the changes are set out on this page [LINK]

Background information:

CO Alarms Are Mandatory