Before the examination

We have advice concerning COVID-19 for anyone having their boat examined 

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]


Advance bookings

Certifications can be renewed at any time and they will last 48 months maximum, but for the next Certification to carry the same expiry day (-1) and month, then the Examination can only be undertaken up to two (2) months before the Expiry date of the current Certification. Full details on advanced booking is on this [LINK]

Ensuring a smooth and successful Examination

Regular maintenance to keep your boat safe and complying with the legal obligations when it is on the water should ensure a first-time pass.

If it doesn't pass, you will need to know the information on this page about what the examiner has to do next.

However, preparing your boat before its examination will pay off and success and safer boater should be your reward.

Apart from checking to see that installations, components and fittings comply with the requirements before the examiner arrives, there are several things you can do to make the whole process run smoothly.

Firstly, will the examiner need to see any documentary evidence about a component's manufacturing standard e.g. engine hoses manufactured to standard ISO 7840. Can you have it ready?

"An examiner cannot issue a certificate on an incomplete examination!"

The critical point is that all relevant items must be capable of being checked effectively and accurately. If not, the examination will be considered to be incomplete and no certification made.

Here are a few points to keep in mind to ensure BSS Certification is possible and that the examination runs smoothly.

Are there fuel burning appliances aboard?  
Is there gas/oil fuel available to run appliances? tick box 90x90
If the appliances need power, are the batteries charged? tick box 90x90
Is there enough water in the system to run boilers / water heaters? tick box 90x90
Are all access panels/covers removed? tick box 90x90
Are all gas system joints available to see and touch? tick box 90x90
Is the gas locker lid/door unlocked? tick box 90x90
Is there sufficient access to the gas pipe to assess its support & condition? tick box 90x90
Can all gas hoses be seen and reached? tick box 90x90
Can fuel hoses and their connections be seen and reached? tick box 90x90
Other important arrangements  
Make any documentary compliance evidence available for the examiner? tick box 90x90
Do you know the boat's last certification number and expiry date? tick box 90x90
Has any relevant landowner been notified? Is there access to the mooring? tick box 90x90
Are the boat keys available for the examiner if necessary? tick box 90x90


Additional advice on preparation

LPG lockers

LPG cylinder lockers - boat owners must ensure the BSS Examiner can carry out careful checking of the LPG cylinder locker for condition, including the removal of all loose portable items, base protection mats, removable false floors and the temporary removal of connected LPG cylinders.

Discuss your LPG cylinder locker arrangements with your examiner in advance of the examination as this may require your attendance or you to make prior arrangements involving service agents.

LPG lockers not accessible enough to allow an assessment of condition will involve the BSS Examiner having to return to carry out the check with the obstruction removed.

Electrical Shore Power
Where a boat uses A.C. shore-power and other a.c. power sources, the following notes on connection leads should be taken into account -

  • If practicable and safe to do so, boat owners should disconnect shore-power, battery charging, and other power sources in readiness for the BSS examination;
  • Boat owners should make available the shore-power, battery charging or other power source leads for examination of type and condition.
  • Information about the location of the a.c. consumer unit should be made known to the examiner in advance of the BSS examination.

BSS Examination Checks

We strongly recommend you read more about the BSS Examination for your boat. The advice will help your preparation of the boat in readiness for Examination and hopefully ensure its compliance for BSS Certification and avoid the need for a return visit.

Information on the BSS Examination for privately-owned, privately-managed boats can be found on the page for BSS Private Boat Requirements* including every check laid out in detail, additional information about making the checks and check list you can use for your own boat.

If the navigation authority is asking your boat to have a BSS Hire Boat Requirement* certification, the details are available here.

If the navigation authority is asking your boat to have a Non-Private Boat certification, the BSS Standards can be seen on here.

Planning for success

We urge you to check out 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]