Boat Safety Scheme

The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS), is a public safety initiative owned by Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency.  Its purpose is to help minimise the risk of boat fires, explosions, or pollution harming visitors to the inland waterways, the waterways' workforce and any other users.

There is more information on the Boat Safety Scheme website.

Boat Safety Certificate

Nearly all boats (there are exceptions for some unpowered vessels) will need a Boat Safety Certificate in order to obtain a licence on waterways managed by Canal & River Trust, the Environment Agency, Broads Authority, Essex Waterways Ltd, Avon Navigation Trust and some other navigation authorities.

The certificate lasts for four years and full details of the scheme are available from the Boat Safety Scheme website.

The scheme operates like an MOT for your boat, only it is much more comprehensive.

New vessels may not have a Boat Safety Certificate but should instead have a document called a 'Declaration of Conformity'. This means the boat has been built to the standards in the European Recreational Craft Directive and the Declaration of Conformity can be used in the same way as a Boat Safety Certificate.

Before you purchase a boat you should ensure that it has a valid BSS certificate, in the same way that you would check a car has an MOT certificate.  If it does not have a certificate, make sure you know the extent of work required to bring it up to standards required.  A good marine surveyor will point out issues that affect BSS regulations during the survey.