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 - 4.5MB). These examination checking procedures are for privately-owned, privately managed boats in private use.

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]

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 (2017) or Non-Private Boat Requirements (2002)?

Neither BSS Examiners nor the BSS Office can stipulate which boat has what Examination type. This matter is in the hands of the navigation authority. It will define which BSS Examination type will support an application for registration/licence/mooring based on the boat's use.

This page covers private boat requirements (boats in private pleasure, leisure and residential owner occupation)

If you need one of the other two choices, these are the links

Hire Boat Requirements  Boat182x182

Other Non-private Boat Requirements  Boat182x182

Understanding the BSS Examination Process

Be prepared - 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.

So please 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.

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 Checking procedures for Private Boats

All BSS Requirements & BSS Checks for Private Boats

Download the fourth Edition (Sep 2021) of the BSS Examination Checking Procedures for Private Boats here

This complete document (4.5 MB) is 167 pages including titles and introductions. It comprises of: -

  • 82 pages setting out all the BSS Core Checks
  • 9 page checklist
  • 27 pages of Appendices supporting the BSS Examination Procedures (limited revision August 2022)

Revised and improved BSS Examination Checking Procedures - 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 andmanaged 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 of the Examination Checking Procedures1 April 2019

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.

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

Note on the BSS Examination for non-private boats

- If a vessel is a trip boat, rented residential boat, floating business or some other form of commercial or public use vessel, but not self-drive hire craft, the boat will be examined to the 2002 BSS Standards.

This link and the link on the left hand side of this page will take you to the BSS examination for non-private Boats.

Note on the BSS Examination for hire boats

A revised set of requirements and modernised checking procedures (April 2017) are now applied to hire craft. Hire craft in this case are any powered boats such as weekly and day hire vessels:

  • 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).
  • Boats let on a non-moving bed and breakfast accommodation basis on some navigation authorities (please check with your appropriate navigation authority)

The term ‘hire boat’ does not include (these remain in the non-private category above):

  • privately owned or managed boats;
  • boats operating commercially with a skipper or crew, and which carry passengers;
  • shared-ownership boats managed jointly by the private owners;
  • workboats;
  • emergency service boats and rescue boats.
  • moving hotel boats,
  • boats let as residences or longer term accommodation (please check with the appropriate navigation authority first)

Please note this important information: - Existing BSS certifications on hire boats will remain valid until they expire. The onus is on hire operators to ensure their boats meet the new and amended BSS Requirements from 1 April 2017.