Non-private Boat Standards

The checks and information about the non-private boat standards are covered on the buttons on the left.

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

Please read these hints and tips before you book and have your boat's BSS Examination [LINK]

Understanding the BSS Examination Process

  • BSS hire boat requirements have been implemented

    Following the public consultation in Autumn 2015 on proposed changes to the Boat Safety Scheme for holiday and day hire boats, the BSS has published the agreed outcomes, and actions.

    Most of the proposed changes had maintained stakeholder support through the consultation and have been implemented as set out in the consultation, and have now since April 2017 come into force.

  • Go to the 'Hire Boats 2017' page if you have a weekly/day hire vessel requiring examination. Boat in scope are:
    • let or hired under an arrangement, whether or not on a pre-contract basis;
    • the subject of a bare boat charter arrangement;
    • the subject of any form of third-party managed shared-use arrangement (including timeshare or shared ownership).


If your boat is not privately owned and managed, such as a small passenger vessel, clubs and societies activity craft, café boat, etc, etc. your examiner is likely to need to be authorised specifically to undertake the examination for that type of craft.

There is a tick box on the Find An Examiner page, tick this and the examiners that are listed are authorised to carry out examinations to the 2002 Boat Safety Scheme Standards for non-private craft.

You should also note the information on the affect of gas safety legislation on such boats - LINK

Apart from the training in the different checks for non-private craft, all examiners undergo the same training and skills updates.

1 April 2019 - Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm Requirements - section 6.4 of the Examination Checking Procedures

CO Alarms Are Mandatory BW SmallAt least one carbon monoxide (CO) alarm is a requirement on nearly all private and non-private boats in scope of the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) Requirements. BSS Certifications will not be issued to boats without alarms.

The requirements apply to boats with permanent accommodation, which is defined in this way:

“Space surrounded by permanent boat structure in which there is provision for any of the following activities: sleeping, cooking, eating, washing/toilet, navigation, steering. Spaces intended exclusively for storage, open cockpits with or without canvas enclosures and engine rooms are not included.”

There are four new BSS Check items in the BSS examination:

Check 6.4.1 covers the provision of alarms in suitable numbers – this check ensures everyone on board can hear the alarm if it activates.

Check 6.4.2 is an Advice check for private boats, promoting a CO alarm in the same space as a solid fuel stove – stoves can present a specific risk if flue gases enter the cabin.

Check 6.4.3 requires CO alarms to be placed in open view, be of a certified quality and have a test function button – this check provides an assurance about the quality of alarm manufacture and performance.

Check 6.4.4 requires CO alarms to be in good and working condition, showing no signs of damage, being within any visible expiry dates and passing the function test using the test button – this check ensures the alarm will work effectively if called upon.

There is a handout available as an essential guide to all the new requirements and background information. It covers what is required and how the checks will be carried out by BSS Examiners and how the alarms will help keep crew members safe. Click on this link to download it. Document Black 20X20