BSS Examination Checking Procedures Reviewed 2012-13


During 2012, the Boat Safety Scheme carried out a periodic review of its Examination Checking Procedures (2005) for privately owned, privately managed boats and here is the detail of the changes that were proposed and the comments made during consulatation.

The proposals were formulated with the help and guidance from examiner, boat owner and marine trade representatives on the BSS support committees.

The BSS Examination Checking Procedures set out the details of the BSS Examination that the BSS and its owners, the Navigation Authorities, require BSS Examiners to perform. These checking procedures are mirrored by the BSS Essential Guide for boat owners and others.

The proposals followed a review intended to make essential editorial changes to help BSS Examiners perform the checks more consistently. There are also some technical changes that affect a very small number of boat owners and in general, these will help the BSS achieve a consistent risk management approach.

Most, around 60 per cent of the changes tidied up the editorial content. The balance, could be summarised in this way:

  • a new check for portable fuel tanks in engine spaces;
  • five new advice checks concerning 230V a.c. systems;
  • a new advice check for cracks and unintended gaps on solid fuel appliances;
  • 15 existing checks amended to introduce an enhanced technical requirement;
  • 63 changes have been made to the existing checks that reduce or slightly change the technical impact;
  • two checks, one about marine fuel filters and the other about 230V a.c. shore connections are being removed.

A four-page overview summarising these key changes can be seen and downloaded on this link.

The changes were implemented on 1 January 2013 and our examiners have completed online and local workshop training exercises concerning the changes.

The comment period has now closed

The opportunity to make a comment about the proposed changes was offered in July 2012, but the pages covering the seven BSS Parts where changes are proposed remain open, see the buttons on the left side of this page or in the header row of the table below.

In total 50 comments were received, 37 from Nationwide Alliance of Boat Surveyors & Examiners (NABSE), the remaining 13 comments are broken down as follows: 3 from National Association of Boat Owner (NABO), 3 from the BSS Office , 2 from marine trade representatives, 2 from other unamed organisations, one from a boat owner, one from a surveyor and one from RBOA.

All the submitted comments can be seen here and the BSS response to those comments are available in this pdf file (186kb)

The opportunity to comment, while not a formal consultation was provided in a desire to be open and transparent and our commitment to supporting the use of boats and of boating. A formal consultation was not required because the BSS General Requirements are not being reviewed.

The phase to make the final reviews and then produce of new manuals and train examiners is now beginning.

A little more detail on the proposed changes

The impact of the proposals for change is considered to be neutral across the fleet of boats subject to the Scheme, but essential to support BSS Examiners apply the checks in a consistent manner and enhances boater and waterway safety.

Six out of the seven 'all new' checks are 'advice' checks not linked to the issue of the BSS Certificate but are very important in helping guide boat owners to stay safe and protect BSS Examiners and others. The 'advice' checks mostly cover 230V a.c. systems.

There is also an added offer to boat owners to provide any shore lead, or other leads for examination. Owners will need to ensure any 230V a.c. systems are disconnected for the examination, by way of keeping the examiner safe.

You can review the proposals part by part

The proposal for change are segregated Part by Part in the links in the table below and also in the buttons running down the left side of this page.

The total number of checks in the 2005 Examination Checking Procedures (ECP) is 155, the total number of checks affected by the proposed changes is 86 (55%).

The number of changes totalled 180. The classification of the ECP changes can be broken down by type as shown in this table:

ECP review 2012 Change Table

Across the range of BSS checks this table breaks down the impact of the changes. The header row of this table has links in it to each separate section, but Part 4 is not linked as there are no changes to this section.

When the pdf files are opened, the additions to the 2005 published checks are identified in red/underlined font. Deletions are in red/cross-through font. A rationale for each change is included in light blue font.

Please note that changes are presented unaltered from the document provided to the BSS support committees, in the interest of transparency.


Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Editorial changes



























Number of changes









Proportion of all changes









Number of checks affected

32 of 40

13 of 22

0 of 4

2 of 13

2 of 8

22 of 47

13 of 18

2 of 3

What is not being reviewed

The 31 General Requirements for privately-owned and privately-managed boats are the legal requirements and were not reviewed. They are supported by expected means of compliance as set out in the ECPs and as published in the BSS Essential Guide.

The BSS Guide sets out accepted ways of how to achieve the goals. By following its practical advice, compliance will be certain, however, it remains open to any boat owner who has not followed the published means of compliance (ECPs) contained within the BSS Essential Guide to prove that they have complied with the BSS General Requirement in some other way.

The terms and conditions are published here.