NR24-002 The Boat Safety Scheme transitions into Boat Safety Scheme Limited

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.

NR24 002 Changes To Governance Arrangements For The BSS 08Mar24 FINAL

As a company limited by guarantee, Boat Safety Scheme Limited has been incorporated to take on the work of the existing Scheme from 1 April 2024.

The Scheme’s structure remains unchanged, with all income returned into the running costs and continuing the safety improvements brought about by the Scheme since its inception in 1995.

Boating customers of the various navigation and harbour authorities won’t see any change to their existing BSS Certification or boat licence/registration processes because of these changes. The current Boat Safety Standards will continue to apply in the same form - with current BSS Certificates remaining valid until their existing renewal date.

Boat Safety Scheme Limited will also continue to regulate the training and accreditation of BSS Examiners in the same way as the current Scheme.

Jon Horsfall, Director of Boat Safety Scheme Limited in welcoming the new arrangements said,

‘The governance changes will bring greater transparency on decision-making and clarify relationships between the existing stakeholders.

‘We will continue to reference best practice and technology by seeking advice of our existing technical and stakeholder consultative forums.

‘We also like the clarity that a new joint navigation and harbour authority standards setting forum brings. Its role is to decide collectively about implementing any BSS recommendations for making changes to current, or adopting new, safety standards.’

The navigation and harbour authorities are committed to working with Boat Safety Scheme Limited to ensure the highest safety standards for boats on their waters.

Anyone with queries or concerns about these new arrangements can contact the Scheme at

Further information including some ‘Questions & Answers’ will be posted on the BSS website at

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The BSS is currently a public safety collaboration between the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency.  This status changes to a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee on 1 April 2024. At least 15 other navigation and harbour authorities have also adopted it. Those authorities’ purposes for the Scheme are to help reduce the risks of fire, explosion and pollution on small craft, typically under 24m. This is done by promoting fire safety and pollution avoidance advice to help boat owners keep themselves and their crew safe as well as regular examination of fuel systems, gas systems, electrical systems and appliances. The BSS is responsible for the administration and supervision of the BSS Examination processes.

A BSS Certification has a life span of four years. Navigation authorities using the Scheme usually require BSS Certification on a boat at the time of licensing, registration, toll renewal or similar. The Certification is achieved when a boat is found to be compliant with all the BSS Requirements relevant for that boat. These can be freely downloaded or read on . The compliance check is carried out by authorised and independent practitioners known as BSS Examiners.