BSS Examination Processes

This page has instructions and recommendations covering carrying out BSS Examinations, reporting the examination findings to customers, uploading examination details on the BSS Database (Salesforce) and on the subject of Examiners keeping examination records.

Undertaking BSS Examinations and reporting the findings to the BSS, Customers and Navigation Authorities

Examiners must carry out the prescribed BSS Check Items relevant to the class of boat being examined - The BSS Examination Checking Procedures (ECPs) relevant to private boats (2015, aka Core ECPs), non-private boats (2002 ECPs) or hire boats (HBR 2017) must be followed.

Examiners must not rely on memory and must use an accurate check-list setting out each and every check. It should be marked up during all examinations to ensure that BSS Check Items are not missed and that they are applied methodically. To prevent inadvertent errors, the check-list must be relevant to the class of boat being examined.

Recommendation: use the appropriate BSS Examination Record Form, which incorporates the list of BSS Check Items [download] [order printed pads]

Which Examination checking procedures?

The first question to ask your customer - which Certification i.e. which set of BSS Requirements is the navigation authority asking for your boat to comply with; Private Boat, Hire Boat Requirements (2017) or Non-Private Boat Requirements (2002)?

Neither Examiners nor the BSS Office can stipulate which boat has what Examination, only the navigation authority can state what set of requirement it wish to support that boats registration/licence/mooring permission application.

If your customer is unsure, refer them to the relevant navigation authority for a decision.

What to do when you cannot confirm that the boat complies (a 'No' result)

Examiners must communicate ‘not-passed’ BSS Check Items to their customers clearly in writing, i.e. not only a verbal briefing - except in cases where the customer rectifies any faults to make the boat compliant while the Examiner is still onboard.

Any BSS Advice Check Items that have 'not passed' must be reported in the same robust manner as 'not-passed' Requirements Check Items.

The written report to customers must:

  • Identify the relevant Check Item number;
  • Identify where onboard the boat the non-compliant item is located;
  • Explain the nature of the 'not-passed' item using key text drawn from the BSS Requirement (i.e. not secured, not accessible, not in good condition, cylinder locker drain not of a minimum internal diameter, etc);
  • Qualify and/or quantify the extent of the non-compliance, where necessary (i.e. if just one battery in a set of batteries does not pass, identify the battery that is non-compliant in clear terms.  Also, concerning any ventilation shortfall, the report must set out the requirement (in mm²) and the shortfall (either in mm² or as a percentage of the requirement figure).
  • Identify any BSS Check Items against which, BSS published safety related guidance (e.g. the Carbon Monoxide awareness leaflet) has been issued.
  • Identify any BSS Check Items against which, a BSS Warning Notice has been issued.

Recommendation: Report not-passed BSS Check Items to customers using ‘No’ BSSERs or hand-write a BSS Examination Customer Report Form (previously known as Status Report Form E). Alternative types of written report are acceptable provide they meet the criteria above.  [Forms Downloads]

Examiners must use the BSS database facility to record all BSS examinations to the BSS – see below at section ‘Uploading BSS Examinations on the BSS Database’.


BSS Warning Notice

The BSS Warning Notice must be completed in all cases where an Examiner has cause to suspect that people or property may be or are in ‘immediate danger’ or ‘at risk’ due to faults in installations or appliances on a vessel being examined.

Note that:

  • A BSS Warning Notice must be issued when the relevant ECPs specify [Appendix A]
    Other Check Items not complying may also lead to the issuance of a BSS Warning Notice where the Examiner suspects that people or property may be, or are in ‘immediate danger’, or ‘at risk’.
  • The BSS Warning Notice must also be issued where an Examiner observes a safety defect falling outside of the BSS Requirements* and when the Examiner has cause to suspect that people or property may be or are in ‘immediate danger’ or ‘at risk’.
  • The issuance of a BSS Warning Notice must be logged on the BSS database (Salesforce) by using the ‘tick box’ provided’ and must be identified in all written reports to customers.
  • Where the safety defect requires the disconnection of the LPG system, warning tape and a BSS Warning Label must be used in addition to the BSS Warning Notice. [Appendix B].
  • BSS Warning Labels should be attached to any LPG equipment where its continued use puts people or property in immediate danger

*Note: Any safety defect the Examiner warrants the issue of a BSS Warning Notice and that falls outside of the BSS Requirements, must be detailed under ‘Additional Observations / AO’ (p.k.a. Non-Specific / NS comments)


Hazardous Boat Notifications (HBN)

A Hazardous Boat Notification must be made in circumstances where any defects placing people or property in ‘immediate danger’ or ‘at risk’ relate to leaking gas; leaking petrol; gas refrigerators with naked flames on petrol-powered boats; heat damaged cables or other electrical fire risks; a.c. electrocution risks or significant quantities of fuel or other substances escaping into the watercourse. [HBN Guidance]


Issuing published safety-related guidance

Examiners must issue the published Carbon Monoxide Safety on Boats leaflet to vessel customers: 

a) where not-passed checks relate to leaking flue gases from appliances, or a significant shortfall in ventilation provision.  Under such circumstances, the issue of  a carbon monoxide leaflet must be recorded on Salesforce and must be referenced on all written reports to customers.

b) when acting in accordance with the ‘Trusted Messenger’ initiative to influence boater behavior.


What to do when a boat complies (i.e. a ‘Yes’, or a ‘Yes, but some advice checks did not pass’ result aka Certification)

Examiners must use the BSS database (Salesforce) to record all BSS Examinations – see below at section ‘Uploading BSS Examination details on the BSS Database (Salesforce)’

For examinations where all mandatory Requirement checks are compliant but one or more Advice check Items are not, the non-compliant Advice Check Items must be identified on Salesforce together with a suitably robust description of the location nature and extent of the non-compliance (as detailed within the bullet-pointed list above).



Uploading BSS Examination details on the BSS Database (Salesforce)

Examiners must use the BSS Database to record all BSS examinations, of all results, 'Yes', 'Yes But...' and 'No'. ‘How to Guides’ are available [link]

Examiners must enter the following information on the BSS Database for all BSS Examinations:

  • any items ‘not passed’ during the initial and any subsequent BSS Examinations (including details of the location, nature and extent of individual non-compliant items);
  • where a BSS Warning Notice was issued;
  • where a BSS CO leaflet was issued;
  • where a BSS examination was terminated for safety reasons;
  • where the boat has never had an examination before, identify the reason in the 'First BSS?' field.

Examiners are requested to complete all known boat information on the boat page in the database. It helps a smooth licensing/registration process and it is used to assess risks and trends.

Please help identify the boat by including details of make, year, length, beam, engine details, photo, etc.

Accuracy of boat information is vital, it is very difficult for navigation authority licensing staff to register the boat, or in the future to identify the correct boat, if there is an error or confusion in the name or registration number.


Reporting ‘pass’ BSS Examinations (i.e. issuing Certification BSSERs) to customers

Examiners must provide customers with a standard format BSS Examination Report (BSSER) for all boats that 'pass' the examination i.e. must use the BSS Database merge tool document. BSS Examination Reports for ‘Yes’ or ‘Yes, but some Advice checks did not pass’ examinations are known as the acronym BSSER.

Anyone proving only the BSSER number falls below expectations of authorised BSS Examiners.

Examiners must offer their customers an electronic version, paper version or both as preferred by the customer. [‘How to Guide]*. They should advise their customers to retain the BSSER document as copies will be charged for.

Any Advice Check Items not passed, must be included in the BSSER and be described in the way identified above for ‘not passed’ BSS Check Items.

With every 'pass' BSSER (Certification), Examiners must provide a copy of the information covering the terms, conditions and limitations of the BSS Certification. The information is contained in a document called ‘About the Examination Report’. [download] [order printed pads] (Note: the merge report V5_ExaminationReport_inc_T&C also covers this vital information)

'Pass' (‘Yes’ and ‘Yes, but some Advice checks did not pass’) examinations must be recorded on the BSS database within the specified time limits. It must be done within 48 hours apart from an infrequent exception that can only be used by prior agreement with the owner. This must not be longer than 5 days.

*Note that Examiners may add their own pages in front of and/or at the end of the BSSER but must not adulterate the BSSER or change its format.


Keeping records of BSS Examinations

In addition to the BSS Examination information that must be uploaded on the BSS  database as detailed above, all records, including any supporting information collected, must be kept by the Examiner for a period of at least six years.

This generally covers the period that an individual can bring a civil claim against an Examiner. (Note that this can only be general advice because the period will start from the date that any damage is suffered).

Examiners must gather and maintain the following information within their own personal records:

a) A copy of all check-list used during BSS Examinations.

b) The following boat information for all ‘pass’ Examinations:

i. the make, type and input rating of all oxygen-burning appliances;

ii. the ventilation calculation performed (the boat’s ventilation provision and the calculated requirements);

iii. the make, fire rating and certification mark of the portable fire extinguishers;


Recommendation: Record the appliance, ventilation and portable fire extinguisher details in Section 3 on the BSS Examination Record Form. Examiners can also upload the above information using the ‘Details of Appliances’ facility on the BSS database. Alternative formats are acceptable provided they meet the above criteria.


c) A copy of all BSS Warning Notices issued.

d) A copy of any RCD Owner Declaration Forms obtained.

All records must be made available by the Examiner to the BSS Manager upon request.

 Recommendation: collect any other information that informs or supports decisions; for example, photographs, drawings of arrangements, scans or copies of documents provided in support of BSS compliance.