What is the allowable gap between examinations?


Boat owners whose boats do not pass the first examination often ask 'Will my boat need a full examination again?' or 'How long have I got before the next examination?'

We can now set out the answers to those and similar questions formally. In doing so, we hope it will help owners plan remedial and compliance works following an examination where the examiner was unable to issue a BSS Certificate. Please remember that a Certificate will be issued to a boat that complies with all the requirements, but does not pass the 'advice checks'. You are urged to make the boat compliant with all checks, but it is the boat owner's responsibility to consider crew safety and not the duty of the navigation authority to regulate on the risks covered by the advice checks.


The BSS policy on re-examination allows in general* for a maximum of three calendar months between the full examination and any associated re-examinations.  This period to undertake remedial works and make the boat compliant strikes a reasonable balance.  On one hand, there are the responsibilities of the examiner and navigation authority and on the other, the understanding that that remedial works can't always be done immediately; perhaps because of stoppages, bad weather, access to boatyards, or an owner's personal circumstances such as ill-health or work commitments, etc.

*Conditions to be met

Subject to the maximum three-month policy outlined above, examiners re-examining a vessel after work on non-compliant items, may check just those items that were non-compliant at the previous examination. This is provided that the conditions listed below are applied.

  1. If the boat changes ownership between the previous full examination and any associated re-examination; a full re-examination must be made.
  2. Before re-examining the boat, the examiner will ask its owner (or owner's representative) if any general works to the vessel, or modifications to the boat systems, including any additions or deletions, have been made since the previous examination. A note will be made of the answer.
  3. If any works have affected or disturbed previously compliant items; or if modification to any boat system is made known by the owner (or owner's representative); or if modifications are identified during the re-examination, then a full examination of the particular modified system (e.g. gas, electric, diesel etc.), must be carried out, irrespective of the interval since the previous full examination.
  4. If during re-examination, the examiner sees that obvious non-compliance(s) have been introduced to items passed at a previous examination, then a full re-examination of that complete system (e.g. gas, electric, diesel, etc.) must be made, irrespective of the interval since the previous full examination.
  5. If there have been any modifications or works to the gas system since the last examination, a gas tightness test must be carried out upon re-examination, irrespective of the interval since the previous examination. The record of the examination will reflect the latest tightness test results and the appliances present at the time of the Certificate issue.
  6. Where extensive non-compliance was found during the previous full examination, your examiner will carry out a full re-examination. If there are any doubts about specific circumstances, then you and/or your examiner should seek guidance from the BSS Office.

BSS policy and the Navigation Authority

This is a BSS policy, it will always defer to the Navigation Authority's licensing interests concerning specific boats. For example, if a boat is on a waterway and requires registration or a license which is dependent on a new BSS Certificate being issued, it is the Navigation Authority that must set the terms it sees fit to continue to allow the boat to use that waterway.