Arranging A BSS Examination

A Boat Safety Scheme Certification is valid for four years. A Declaration of Conformity to Recreational Craft Regulations / Recreational Craft Directive can often be used for its first four years for a complete boat, or first 12 months for a part-built / sailaway boat. Whichever is supporting your boat's registration, A BSS Examination can be carried up to two months early. This page points to things you should know when arranging a BSS Examination.

We have advice regarding how COVID-19 could effect the Examination of the boat.

BSS Examinations will be carried where it is safe to do so. Boat owners are asked to continue to contact a BSS Examiner to make the necessary arrangements.

BSS Certification expiry dates are never extended.  Where a boat is not available to be examined due to COVID-19 related issues and a BSS Certification is needed, please discuss this matter as soon as possible with your boat's registering Navigation Authority, insurance company or moorings management (not the Boat Safety Scheme), and seek its assistance in this matter. This matter is not within the BSS zone of influence.

Before you book and have your boat's BSS Examination, please read these hints and tips about how Covid-19 precautions may effect your examination on the day [LINK]

Which Examination checking procedures apply to your boat? (the BSS cannot answer this question)

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

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

Private Boat Requirements  Boat182x182

Hire Boat Requirements  Boat182x182

Other Non-Private Boat Standards  Boat182x182

Make arrangements in advance

A re-examination of and certification can be carried out at any point in the lifespan of a BSS certificate.

However, having a examination up to (but not exceeding) two months before your old BSS Certification runs out; or two-months if the navigation authority's period of recognition for a Recreational Craft Regulations / Recreational Craft Directive Declaration of Conformity (DoC), a BSS Examiner will post-date the new Certification to start from the date when either the old one expired; the applicable anniversay of the DoC.

This means you do not lose any of the full term of validity for licensing/registration purposes of the existing document.

We recommend taking advantage of this facility, because if your boat does not comply for any reason, you will still have some time to put things right.

The BSS calls this process 'forward dating' - the full detail is here Advance Booking of Examinations

Is everything in place for the examination?

It is a good idea to contact an examiner well in advance of needing to get your boat licensed, registered or take up a mooring.

You need to consider if everything is ready for a full BSS Examination to take place such as: Can the examiner get to the boat? Does he need permission of any land owners? Are keys involved? Is there gas aboard? etc.

To help have a successful examination, please check out the advice on Preparing for BSS Examination,

If your boat has a gas system with a gas cyliner locker, please take a moment to read this extra information concerning the checking of gas lockers and a.c. electrical shore-supply leads.

Selecting the examiner - what may affect the cost.

There is no fixed price for BSS Examination. Be prepared to get two or three quotations, and always have a list of questions to hand so that you can agree the details right at the outset.

These could include for example, does the price include the cost of administrating the BSS Examination Report, are there extra charges if the examiner spends longer inspecting your boat than he expected, and will there be an extra charge if the examiner needs to make a return visit?

The examiner might ask you a range of questions about the systems installed on your boat to help him give you an accurate quote. Sorting these details out can help you make an informed choice when selecting a BSS Examiner.

Remember, each Examiner is free to set his or her own charges, and market forces, the complexity of the boat's installations, VAT applicability, and travelling time may influence the prices given to you.

This is the webpage to Find-An-Examiner

The receipt-style BSS Certification

Like car MOTS, BSS Examiners now give boat owners a receipt-style BSS Certification report (BSSER) . This can be either on paper, or by electronic file, or both if you wish, please discuss your preferences with your examiner.

The navigation authority may still want to see a print-out or PDF file of your Certification report. The authority is still likely to reqest your BSSER number and its key details in any initial transaction.

Behind the change in the process is the access all participating navigation authorities have to the BSS online database to double check your boat's certification validity. Because the BSS does not hold any detail about who owns what boat, boat owners do not have access to the BSS database directly. However some navigation autorities have an an online system for anyone registering or licensing a boat for their waterways, where that person can view their own boat details through a secure webpage. These navigation authorities will have more details.

Planning for success

The Revised and improved BSS Examination Checking Procedures - Between 2021 and 2023, the BSS committees have revised the Examination Checking Procedures (ECP) for private and hire boats as a result of an extensive review of the Procedures.

These changes are part of a large number of changes to the ECP splitting of Check actions, swapping some Check numbers, text and information improvements that are designed to result in greater consistency in applying the BSS Checks. The improved BSS Checks will help everyone’s understanding and application of these Checks, whether they are BSS Examiners, boat owners or members of the marine industry.

However, leading from the improvements in clarity and understanding of the Checks, reinforced with recent extensive training of Examiners, situations could arise where an item may be newly discovered as non-compliant and so could require some adjustments or work to meet compliance and improve safety.

Similarly, the improvements may also address the relatively uncommon situation of any previous over-application the published BSS Requirements.

The Changes have also seen the introduction of two increased BSS Requirements and 20 relaxations arising through lessening of some requirements or expanding potential compliance options and the BSS is running a consultation on these changes.

Full details of the changes are set out on this page [LINK] and you can participate in the public consultation on this page [LINK]