How the Stage 1 risk-review was conducted

The risk review stage of the navigation authorities hirer safety review set out to answer three basic questions: How safe is hire boating? What are the biggest risks? What, if anything, should be done to reduce them?

The review used available incident data and information from operators of hire boats, navigation authorities and the boat trade in a way to establish what has changed since the last since the last time a risk review was carried out in 2007 in support of the development of the Hire Boat Code.

The risk-review stage was made up of the following elements that are being moved forward through the BSS committees:

i) The existing published BSS private boat requirements were assessed by the BSS Committees for their appropriateness and relevance for hire boats, including the new and changed BSS requirements for private boats published in January 2013.

ii) The current BSS hire boat checks published in the 2002 BSS Standards that are in excess of the 2013 BSS private boat requirements were assessed for their continued relevance. For example, the use of safety glass, the height above waterline of through-hull fittings, personal flotation devices, etc.

iii) The coverage of hirer safety published in the Hire Boat Code that is over and above the current BSS requirements were risk-reviewed. For example, stability assessments, the concept of fire/CO detection, cleats and strong points, anchors and chains/warps and adequate hire boat handover.

iv) The hire boat incident data since 2007 was reviewed and analysed and the hire boat population is re-affirmed, and use patterns established. All data sets were used to inform the risk-review.

It was an open process and hire operators contributed in a variety of ways to help establish what has changed since the time a risk-review was last carried out and what changes to the risk-controls may be necessary, namely through:

  • their representative organisations on the BSS Committees, and
  • those hire boat operators represented on the Hirer Safety Review Group (HSRG), a sub group of the BSS committees that met over two days in October 2013, and
  • the general hire trade participation in regional open 'forums' held during November 2013, which were also used to share the interim risk-review results coming through, then gather attendees reactions.

Reflecting this work, the initial recommendations arising from the review are largely refinements to existing risk controls, they also address the need to ensure that key safety controls are consistently applied.

The consultant’s report that draws all this work together and outlines initial recommendations is now with the BSS Management Committee for consideration. The report is intended to support the development of navigation authority proposals during the early part of 2014, concerning any need to change the existing risk controls (navigation authority licensing conditions, and/or BSS hire boat requirements).

The consultant’s report can be viewed here. There is no need to comment on this report as its initial recommendations are subject to change and any proposals will be subject to full public consultation in due course.

Watch out for information about the public consultation stage where your contributions will again help with the wider project.


A graphic representation of the three stages and their timelines can be seen on this link.

Further information concerning the subsequent stages of the navigation authorities hire safety review will be published in advance of each stage.