The allowable time period between an initial BSS examination and subsequent re-examinations.

So while we hope you never need to use the content on this page, it is probably very help to understand the re-examination policy in advance.

Re-examinations can be costly for boat owners and time consuming, so avoiding non-compliance is beneficial for everyone. We recommend reading the basic tips on the Preparing for Examination page and reading through the examination checks for your boat on the Private Boat, Hire Boat or Non-Private Boat as relevant to the certificate you need.

Latest information

It is also worth noting that resulting from a review of the core Examination Checking Procedures (ECP) covering Private Boats and Hire Boat examination, a revised set of BSS Checks was published in September 2021 with process adjustments and editorial improvements to enhance the clarity and uniformity of the ECP presentation, so whether you are a boat owner, boat operator, marine fitter, or BSS examiner, the Checks should be easier to understand and process clearer to follow.

However, we recognize that leading from the improvements in clarity, and together with an ongoing extensive in-service training programme of current Examiners and an improved new entrant programme, there could be situations whereby Examiners may newly discover an installation as non-compliant and so could require some adjustments or work to meet compliance and improve safety.

Similarly, the greater clarity in the Checking Procedures and the improved Examiner training may also address the relatively uncommon situation of any previous over-application the published BSS Requirements.

But please also note, for two very small groups of boats there are the two additional requirements, (one being a reintroduction from before 2005) pending consultation confirmation. These two changes only affect boats with cast iron fitments on LPG systems and a few dozen craft with Wilderness Boats gas fridge flame traps.

There are also 20 relaxations in the form of additional compliance options or reduced requirements. Full details of the changes and the consultation, running March – May 2022, are set out in detail on this page [LINK]

The BSS Re-examination Policy

If your boat does not pass its first examination, you may ask 'Will my boat need a full examination again?' or 'How long have I got before the next examination?'

We hope our answers will help you plan remedial and compliance works following an examination where the examiner was unable to issue a BSS Certification. Please remember that a Certification 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.  We wanted to strike a reasonable balance:  there are the responsibilities of the examiner and navigation authority and on the other side, the understanding that that remedial works can't always be done immediately. There may be stoppages, bad weather, boatyard access problems, or an owner's personal circumstances such as ill-health or work commitments, which prevent instant remedy.

*Conditions to be met

Subject to the maximum three-month policy 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.

However, the conditions listed below must be met for the policy to apply.

  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. The examiner will make a note 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 examination record will report the latest tightness test results and the appliances present at the time of BSS Certification.
  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.

The BSS Policy and Navigation Authority Terms & Conditions

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 Certification, it is the navigation authority that must set the terms it sees fit to continue to allow the boat to use that waterway.