BSS Requirements for hire boats

The information on this web-page is for hire boat operators and sets out essential and useful information for complying with BSS Hire Boat Requirements.

Which Examination Checking Procedures apply to your boat? (the BSS cannot answer this question)

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

Neither BSS Examiners nor the BSS Office can stipulate which boat has what Examination type. This is a matter for the navigation authority only, and it will state which BSS Examination type it needs to support an application for registration/licence/mooring based on the boat's use.

We advise you not to book a BSS examination without reading our pages on ‘Arranging A BSS Examination’ which have important information for making arrangements and preparations in advance of the BSS Examination to help ensure it is a smooth and successful process.

All relevant BSS checks in the Hire Boat Requirements are mandatory compliance.

The checks for Hire Boats are a combination of the Core BSS Examination Checking Procedures (parts 2-9) and an additional

(The core checks for privately-owned and managed boats only, are a mix of requirements and advice checks).

The full set of BSS Hire Boat Requirements (published 2024) can be viewed downloaded from the link below. The document contains the following information:

  • BSS Checks and requirements
  • Supporting Appendices with additional information, pictures and diagrams
  • BSS Checklist for Hire Boats

Read and download the BSS Hire Boat Requirements [LINK]

Notes on 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. that will help everyone’s understanding and application of the BSS 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.

Following a public consultation, the changes also saw the introduction of two increased BSS Requirements and 20 relaxations arising through lessening of some requirements or expanding potential compliance options.

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

BSS Examination limitations: We stress that a BSS examination is not a full condition survey, nor is it an indication that the vessel is fit for purpose and it doesn't check the boat’s general mechanical condition.  For example, it does not cover the condition of the hull or deck, nor all the equipment the operator provides, and/or the overall stability of the boat. A hire boat’s safe condition must include having the boat and appliances being competently installed, serviced and operated according to the manufacturers instructions. There is a joint responsibility between hirers and hire operators in this respect.

The on-going responsibilities include running the equipment as per the instructions and maintaining 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.