Private Boat Requirements

The complete list of BSS requirements including all checks are available to view and download on this page (By clicking on the link on the image below - 13.5MB). These examination checking procedures are for privately-owned, privately managed boats in private use.

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, Hire Boat Requirements (2024) 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.

BSS Examination Checking procedures for Private Boats

(All BSS Requirements & BSS Checks boats that are privately owned, managed and used)

Download or read the Edition 5.0 (2023) of the Core BSS Examination Checking Procedures (ECP) for Private Boats [LINK]

This complete document (13.5 MB) is 195 pages including all checks, appendices, titles and introductions. It comprises of: -

  • all the BSS Core Checks
  • complete checklist
  • Appendices including additional information, pictures and digarams

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.

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]

Requirements and Advice - these are the two types on check on privately-owned and managed boats in private use.

Those marked with an 'R' are Requirements, they must be complied with if a certification of boat is to be made.

Those marked with an 'A' are Advice Checks i.e. good advice that will help you meet your responsibilities as a boat owner for the safety of people aboard your boat.

Although privately-owned boats do not have to comply with advice checks to achieve BSS certification, each one represents best-safety practice and meeting them all is highly recommended.

Any listed in the Examiners report may be material to the vessel's insurance and the boat owner's duties under the law of occupier's liability.

As such, we recommend that your boat meets all BSS Advice Checks. You can then be confident that as an owner, you have achieved a higher standard of safety.

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 does it include the integrity of through-hull fittings and/or the stability of the boat. Your boat’s safe condition must include having your boat and appliances being competently installed and serviced in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

The owner's 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.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm Requirements - section 6.4

At least one carbon monoxide (CO) alarm is now 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.

We published a guide to the CO alarm requirements including background information on how the alarms will help keep crew members safe. To read or download it, click on this [link] Document Black 20X20