The triple approach
The Navigation Authorities employ, through the BSS three broad approaches to meet the BSS purpose:
1) The BSS supports the Navigation Authorities' minimum safety requirements for boats by;
i. helping identify, monitor and develop the necessary and reasonable Navigation Authority minimum safety requirements;
ii. providing the verification service to assess whether any given boat meets the Navigation Authority minimum safety requirements.
2) The BSS employs education, persuasion and promotion of safety to address accepted risks linked to the use of of the vessel and its appliances, engines and associated boat systems and fuels in order to assist owners and other craft occupants to identify and control the risks for which they have a responsibility.**
3) The BSS monitors all boat-related risks and reports on any trends, local hot-spots and any critical groups.
The BSS Requirements
The navigation authorities' minimum safety requirements are represented by the BSS Requirements are there to help support the navigation or harbour authorities’ duties of care associated with specific hazards that can be exported beyond the confines of a boat to affect other people or property nearby that boat. These hazards are typically the effects of fire, explosion and pollution from engines or sewage.
On privately owned and managed craft in personal use the requirements are split into eight subject areas
Permanently installed fuel systems and fixed engines
1. All permanently installed fuel systems and fixed engines must be designed, installed and maintained in a way that minimises the risks of explosion, or of fire starting or spreading.
2. Fuel filling arrangements must prevent any overflow from entering the interior of the vessel.
3. All fuel filling points must clearly identify the fuel in use.
4. Marking must be provided to identify the location of fuel system emergency shut-off devices, or their means of operation, which are not in open view.
5. All permanently installed fuel systems must be designed, installed and maintained to ensure fuel-tight integrity.
6. All permanently installed fuel tanks and fuel system connections must be accessible for inspection.
7. The pressure systems of steam-powered installations must have a current inspection certificate issued by a recognised competent person.
8. All electrical systems must be designed, installed and maintained in a way that minimises the risks of explosion or of fire starting and spreading.
9. All electrical systems must be capable of being safely and quickly disconnected from their power source(s) in an emergency.
10. Control and emergency devices, or their means of operation, must be marked when not in clear view, or when their function is not clear.
11. All battery compartments containing unsealed or open-vented batteries must be adequately ventilated to prevent a build-up of a flammable mix of gases.
Electrical propulsion systems
12. All motors, controller equipment and charging equipment relating to electrical propulsion must be adequately ventilated.
Outboard and portable combustion engines and portable fuel systems
13. All portable and outboard engines and portable fuel systems must be designed, installed and maintained in a way that minimises the risks of explosion, or of fire starting and spreading.
14. All spare petrol must be stored in a way that minimises the risk of fire and explosion.
15. All portable and outboard engines with integral petrol or LPG tanks, and all portable petrol tanks, must be stored in a way that minimises the risks of fire, or explosion when not in use.
Fire extinguishing and escape
16. All vessels must carry specified fire-fighting equipment.
17. All fire-fighting equipment must be in good condition and kept readily accessible for safe use in an emergency.
18. All LPG systems must be designed, installed and maintained in a way that minimises the risks of explosion, or of fire starting and spreading.
19. All LPG containers and high-pressure components must be secured in a position where escaping gas does not enter the interior of the vessel.
20. All LPG systems must be designed, installed and maintained to ensure gas-tight integrity.
21. All LPG system connections and flexible hoses must be accessible for inspection.
22. All LPG control and shut-off devices, or the means to operate them must be readily accessible.
23. LPG shut-off valves, or their means of operation, must be marked when not in clear view, or when their function is not clear.
24. All LPG systems must have a suitable means to test that the system is gas-tight.
Appliances and flues
25. All appliances must be designed, installed and maintained in a way that minimises the risks of explosion, or of fire starting and spreading.
26. All liquid-fuelled appliances must have an emergency shut-off valve located at a safe distance from the appliance.
27 a) LPG and liquid-fuel burning appliances installed from 3 Jan 2000.
All burners and pilot lights shall be fitted with a device that automatically shuts off the fuel supply if the burner flame fails.
b) LPG and liquid-fuel burning appliances installed before 3 Jan 2000.
Burners on catalytic appliances, appliances with continuously-burning flames and pilot light burners shall be
fitted with a device that automatically shuts off the fuel supply if the burner flame fails.
28. All appliance flues must be designed, installed and maintained in a way that minimises the risk of fire.
29. All fuel and power supply systems for appliances must meet these navigation authority requirements where relevant.
30. Any leakage of oil from engine equipment must be contained and prevented from being avoidably discharged overboard.
31. Bilge pumping and toilet systems must be designed, installed and maintained in a way that minimises the risk of avoidable pollution.
The checks that support these Requirements are set out in the BSS Examination Checking Procedures which describe what compliance is, what is checked and how it is checked.
During the BSS examination, the examiner will also check items not linked to the enforceable navigation authorities' requirements. These advice checks are just that: good advice that will help you keep the people onboard your boat safe!
Although privately-owned boats do not have to comply with advice checks to achieve BSS certification, each one represents best-safety practice and meeting them all is highly recommended. Any listed in the report may be material to the vessel's insurance and the boat owner's duties under the law of occupier's liability.
As such, we recommend that your boat meets all BSS Advice checks. You can then be confident that as an owner, you have achieved a higher standard of safety.
We stress that a BSS examination is not a full condition survey, nor is it an indication that the vessel is fit for purpose and it doesn't check the boat’s general mechanical condition. For example, it does not cover the condition of the hull or deck, nor does it include the integrity of through-hull fittings and/or the stability of the boat. Your boat’s safe condition must include having your boat and appliances being competently installed and serviced in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.
The owner's on-going responsibilities include running the equipment as per the instructions and maintaining the vessel in good condition in accordance with the safety requirements; and, any other licensing, registration or mooring conditions of the relevant navigation or harbour authority.
** The BSS requirements concerning non-private classes of boats take account of the users of such classes of boat who may not be responsible for the full control of the risks to which they may be subjected. It follows that BSS requirements for such classes of boat will invariably be mandatory and the scope of such BSS requirements may be wider or different than for privately-owned and privately managed boats, as determined by the application of the BSS Risk Management Process.