Consultation on changes the BSS Requirements for hire boats

A public consultation on proposed changes to the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) requirements for hire boats has ended, the comments have been reviewed and the implementation date is April 2017

A risk review on behalf of the UK’s inland waterway navigation authorities that involved hire operators, navigation authorities, trade representatives and boating, including boat hiring representatives helped inform the revision process and provided the basis of the changes consulted on.

The respondents included the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators, now known as British Marine Inland Boating and the Broads Hire Boat Federation ( BHBF ) between them, this represents over 120 members and the significant proportion of the fleet of hire craft. Other responses came from major hire companies, smaller operators, BSS examiners and hirers.

There is an important and fundamental concept that underpins the forthcoming new and revised requirements for hire boats. It is that responsibility for the safety of those people hiring boats and anyone in the close proximity of the hired boat rests jointly with the people aboard, the hire operators/boat owners and navigation authorities. All must take steps to ensure that the risks are reduced to as low as reasonably practicable.

The revised set of BSS requirements for hire boats are being implemented from April 2017. Existing non-private BSS Certificates will continue to be recognised, but hire operators are expected to ensure their boats meet the revised requirements on the implementation date.

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All comments received during the consultation and the BSS responses in detail can be viewed here

The revisions can be put in three categories.

  • the introduction of six new BSS hire boat requirements.
  • the formal adoption of the private boat checking procedures for hire boats including the 23 additional, or wider scope requirements introduced in recent years.
  • the introduction of clarifications or improvements to five existing BSS hire boat standards.

A short overview summary of the changes can be read here read_action_90x90

In the aforementioned three-way responsibility regarding safety we recognise that the hiring boaters will not be able to control the risks associated with the condition, equipping or construction of boats. So it follows that all relevant BSS requirements are mandatory for hire boats and this factor represents the key difference in looking at the requirements for hire craft and the mix of requirements and advice checks for privately-owned and privately managed boats.

The BSS is only one means by which the navigation authorities help keep hirers safe. The navigation authorities will separately be consulting on the introduction of the revised Hire Boat Code published jointly by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency / Association of Inland Navigation Authorities / British Marine, as a licensing condition, including the proposal to introduce stability testing of hire boats.

The BSS thanks all the contributors to the consultation for their interest and engagement which has added to and complimented the considerable hard work of all the volunteers and professionals involved with the BSS committees in the Hirer Safety Review and consultation preparations.

Your comments and views have been immensely valuable in refining and improving the existing out-dated BSS Standards

Further information information_90x90

The original consultation paper (now closed) and details of the revisions - click here read_action_90x90 and the Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment (pdf), here read_action_90x90

All comments and the BSS responses in detail can be viewed here read_action_90x90

The BSS will be publishing the new and amended checks in detail in April 2016 on its website.

Technical support for any hire boat operator seeking information to help move their fleet to full compliance is available by using the ‘contact-us‘ page on this site where questions, photos, diagrams and supporting documents can be uploaded to the BSS website or call 0333 202 1000.

A hard copy of the consultation document is available upon request.

Links to BSS Risk Review and Assessment Papers concerning specific changes can be seen here