Specialising in Inland Waterway Craft in the UK


Inspections to enable the craft to obtain a BSS Certificate are provided.

If the boat falls short of the published requirements, then details as to how conformity can be achieved are provided.

The Boat Safety Scheme

The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS), operated jointly by Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency, defines minimum requirements regarding installations & equipment aboard a vessel.

This encompasses:Flue repair

Inboard, Outboard & Portable Engines
Fuel Installations
Electrical Installations
Gas Installations including Appliances
Fire Prevention and Extinguishing Equipment

It should be noted that the above list does not include hull integrity and craft stability. Hence, it cannot be assumed that a craft carryinga BSS Certificate has a sound hull.

The Scheme was first introduced in the late 1970's and became compulsory for all hire boats operating on the inland waterways from 1980. At this time, a Certificate of Conformity (C of C) was issued for vessels meeting the requirements.

The Scheme was modified and renamed the Boat Safety Scheme in the mid-1990's, with a new Boat Safety Scheme Certificate (BSSC) replacing the C of C.

The Boat Safety Scheme is split into mandatory and advisory items. In general, the mandatory items are concerned with minimising the risk of fire or explosion, whereas the advisory items cover other concerns, including those associated with personal safety within the craft. Under a duty of care, the Navigational Authorities recommended that all items are complied with but only the mandatory items are required for craft licensing, as these minimise the danger to waterway users outside the craft. This is with the exception of hire boats and boats carrying less than 13 passengers, which have to comply with all items. BSS Certificates can only be issued by approved Examiners or Surveyors.

Craft requiring a BSSC include all leisure and commercial vessels needing a licence on navigations controlled by Canal & River Trust or the Environment Agency, and other navigations, such as the Avon Navigation, Basingstoke Canal, River Wey, Broads Authority and Bridgewater Canal. A BSSC is valid for four years but vessels built under the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) do not require a BSSC until they are four years old.

More information can be found on Boat Safety Scheme or obtained from:

Boat Safety Scheme
First Floor North
Station House
500 Elder Gate
Milton Keynes

Telephone: 0333 202 1000

email: bss.office@boatsafetyscheme.org