Arranging the examination

A Boat Safety Scheme Certificate is valid for four years. An Annex XV Declaration of Conformity to Recreational Craft Directive can often be used for its first four years to support a boat registration and a Annex IIIa Declaration can be accepted for the first 12 months - but whichever is supporting your boat's registration, the examination can be carried up to two months early. This page points to things you should know when arranging a BSS examination.

We have new advice for anyone having their boat examined in the time of COVID-19

The Boat Safety Scheme is following current UK Government advice ‘Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people's homes’ as a model. BSS Examinations will continue where it is safe to do so. Boat owners are asked to continue to contact  an examiner to make the necessary arrangements.

As in the last lock-down, BSS Certification expiry dates are not being extended. However, Navigation Authorities may consider, on a case by case basis, any extenuating circumstances. In any such case where a boat is not available to be examined due to COVID-19 related issues and a BSS Certification is needed to support a necessary licence application, a registration, a toll etc, then the owner needs to liaise as soon as possible with the relevant Navigation Authority (not the Boat Safety Scheme), and seek its assistance in this matter.

If a BSS Certification is required by a marina or insurance company, the owner must talk directly with the marina or insurer about their individual circumstances, as this is not within the BSS zone of influence.

Please read these hints and tips before you book and have your boat's BSS Examination [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 Requirements (2002)?

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

Private Boat Requirements  Boat182x182

Hire Boat Requirements  Boat182x182

Other Non-private Boat Requirements  Boat182x182

Make arrangements in advance

You can book an examination up to (but not exceeding) two months before your old BSS certification runs out (or RCD Declaration of Conformity recognition for licensing purposes).

If your boat passes with two months or less left on your existing certification, the examiner will post-date the new certificate to start from the date when either the old one expired;  the fourth anniversay of the DoC or first-year date of the Annex IIIa document.

This means you do not lose any of the full four-year, or one-year validity of the existing document as relevant.

We recommend taking advantage of this facility, because if your boat fails 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 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 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 an 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 Certificate from April 2013

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.