Examining Boats in the Time of COVID-19

Some context

Last update: 31 Mar 2022

Following the Government guidance will help keep the stress off the health services and that will help avoid critical lockdowns

basics principles published by the three Governments defining COVID-19 policies in the BSS implemented areas are these:

  • Keep up to date with all your offered vaccine shots
  • limit your contacts and maintain a good space
  • outdoors is safer than indoors, ventilate well if you have to work in shared spaces
  • the Governments are still advising you to have a lateral flow test if you have symptoms
  • if you have symptoms, you are still advised to self-isolate and book a PCR test
  • wear a face covering
  • maintain a very good hygiene of handwashing, face touching, tissue use/disposal etc

When working in other people’s property, it is important to take actions and implement measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus. This is important for limiting the risk to yourself, but also the risk to those people whose property it is where the work is taking place.

  • Discuss the BSS Examination process and how you would like it to work well before it happens, so as to reduce risk for all parties.
  • Always obey the relevant Test & Trace / Test & Protect / Test, Trace and Protect rules and follow and guidance carefully relevant to the country you are living in or working in.
  • Before undertaking a BSS Examination where other people are present or will be shortly afterwards, Examiners should still have a PCR test if they have symptoms of COVID-19 leading up to the day of Examination.
  • Boat crew members are also advised to undertake a LFD or have a PCR test in the lead up to the BSS Examination day if they have symptoms. We are encouraging householders, particularly those on the High-Risk List, to ask people who are working in their home to take an LFD test first.
  • At the time of examination, if anyone using the boat is self-isolating, you are still advised to not proceed with the Examination. If the BSSC is critical for licensing, registration, a moorings agreement, or insurance, then the customer will need to discuss their situation with the relevant body. The BSS office will not be able to assist by changing an expiry date for example.
  • As with any workplace, risk assessments are important in identifying risks and how they can be controlled. Even if self-employed or an individual contractor, you should undertake a risk assessment for working in or on someone else’s property that covers Covid; see the HSE website for advice about risk assessments https://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/index.htm
  • The Scottish Government asks workers in other people’s property to wear a face covering, especially when moving through someone’s home or engaging with any of the residents and it is being recommended in England.
  • Governments are recommending that even where a face covering is not legally required you can choose to encourage customers, to wear a face covering if and when you are in close proximity with a customer (or other workers), though it should be remembered that not everyone is able to wear one and this must be respected. Please be mindful that face coverings may make it harder to communicate with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions, and clear sound.
  • You should be particularly strict about handwashing, coughing and sneezing hygiene, such as covering your nose and mouth and disposing of single-use tissues carefully.
  • Maximise ventilation of the boat to allow circulation of fresh air;
  • It is still advised to keep a reasonable distance from any boat crew members or marina staff.

Q&As related BSS Examinations in the time of COVID-19

Should I hand over CO booklets


If you know that the boat is not going to be occupied for a time matching or beyond the survival time for the virus on surfaces in the Government advice, consider leaving a CO booklet

I need to leave a Warning Notice and label

Consider using filing punched pocket stationery or plastic bags that can be wiped with disinfectant before you leave. You may want to seal the pouch with tape.

The private mooring is accessed through someone's property.

Find out if there is access outside of any building.

It will be important to know if anyone at the property has be showing symptoms.

If you must go through a building e.g. a home, consider asking the owner to ventilate the space well before your arrival. Ask the owner to open all doors on the route so you are in the interior space for the briefest time possible.

Consider the use of PPE, such as face coverings/masks and gloves.

If you need to witness a Gas Safe registered technician undertake a gas tightness-test, how can this happen if you need to leave the boat?

Consider the best way of recording or creating a record (eg distanced selfie photo of the two of you in front of boat) that you were both at the boat at the same time.

Consider not boarding the boat at the same time and asking the technician for an electronic report of the readings and timings so you can keep it in your records.

A GSR technician is under a duty of law to work competently.

Due to self-isolating, a customer with symptoms or a call from an NHS tracing service, I cannot provide a BSS Examination immediately, can my customer's BSS Certification be extended or renewed as they need it to support their boat's insurance policy / licence renewal / moorings agreement?

Boat owners are being advised to discuss options with their insurer or broker and same for their moorings management where relevant.

For the avoidance of doubt, certification expiry dates are not being extended, where a boat's BSS Certification has expired, navigation authorities are allowing customers to licence or register their boats with the expectation that the BSS Certification will be renewed as soon as possible thereafter.