BSS Examinations and Certification Reports - Framework & Limitations

The BSS Examination Report (BSSER) and Certification

From April 2013 -

This document reports the findings of your boat's BSS Examination which is to satisfy the question: 'Does your boat meet all the applicable navigation or harbour authority minimum safety requirements on the day it was carried out?' The question has three possible answers:

Yes - In this event, the report can be considered a BSS certification.  It indicates that your boat met all the applicable minimum requirements on the day of examination. You should take note of the expiry date in forward planning your next BSS examination.

It is the entry of this information on the central BSS database, and not the BSS Examination Report, that will be used by your boat licensing body as evidence of your boat's BSS certification status. Keep the certification information with the boat's records and pass it on if you sell the boat.

Yes, but some advice checks did not pass - All the information in the paragraph above applies; however the examiner found advice check items that could not be passed (marked with an 'A'). 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.

No - Checks marked 'R' for 'required' have not passed and these items must be addressed to achieve BSS certification. Again as above, addressing any issues linked to any checks marked 'A' included in the report are highly recommended. Full details of what has failed, why and what must be achieved will be provided by your examiner.

Warning notices - these are issued when the examiner has found, or has cause to suspect, that your boat presents a significant and immediate risk. You should arrange, or carry out, works to make the boat safe as soon as possible. The general nature of the risk and any checks associated with Warning Notice will be identified by your examiner.

About the BSS Examination and its limitations

Please note: the BSS Examination findings, and examination report, relate only to the facts observed at the time of the BSS Examination. It is not evidence of compliance with the navigation authorities' requirements at any other time.

The owner's on-going responsibility: it is crucial to maintain 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 validity of a BSS Certification may be affected and can be cancelled if the vessel is not properly maintained; and/or non-compliant alterations are made; or if a hire boat or other type of non-private boat is examined against the 'private boat' category of BSS checks.

A BSS examination and examination report relates only to the relevant version of the BSS Examination Checking Procedures published on Depending upon the nature of the specific check, the examination may be confined to items that can be seen, reached or touched.

A BSS examination is not a full condition survey, nor is it an indication that the vessel is fit for purpose.  For example, it does not cover the condition of the hull or deck, the integrity of through-hull fittings or the stability of the boat and it isn't the same as having your boat serviced and doesn't check its general mechanical condition.

Prospective boat purchasers are strongly advised to satisfy themselves about all aspects of a vessel's condition by commissioning a pre-purchase survey before committing themselves to becoming new owners. Some surveyors are also authorised BSS Examiners and may be willing to carry out a BSS examination whilst surveying the craft if contracted so to do.