The Boat Safety Scheme has recently announced changes to the BSS certificate Examination Checking Procedures for private boats. These will come into effect from 1 Jan 2013.

About 60 per cent, are editorial in nature, basically tidying up terms and descriptions. The aim is to ensure that the checks are applied consistently by BSS examiners, effectively reducing risks and seeing safer boats. 

The rest of the changes can be summarised in this way:

·           portable fuel tanks will not be allowed in inboard engine spaces to connect to fixed engines;

·           five new ‘advice’ checks concerning a.c. systems concerning  the type and condition of inlet and lead connections,  ensuring it is impossible to connect simultaneously more than one power source to the a.c. distribution system and a check that all a.c. electrical circuits pass through a consumer unit;

·           a new advice check for cracks and unintended gaps on solid fuel appliances;

·           15 existing checks are amended to introduce an enhanced technical requirement;

·           63 changes have been made to the existing checks that reduce or slightly change the technical impact;

·           two checks, one about marine fuel filters and the other about a.c. shore connections are being removed.

Another summary of the changes can be downloaded here.

The revised BSS Checks are published on These apply to private boats. BSS requirements for hire and other non-private boats are not affected by the changes.


The proposals for change were first published in July 2012 on the BSS website at .  The proposal documents contain the rationale supporting each change and the BSS response to each of the public comments received.

NABO representatives David Fletcher and Trevor Rogers have been actively involved in the review of the proposals over the last two years.

The following guidance is offered by BSS to boaters in preparation of an examination:

Examiners will not be disconnecting LPG cylinders so boat owners must ensure the BSS Examiner has full access to be able to 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.

Owners should discuss their LPG cylinder locker arrangements with their BSS Examiner in advance of the examination as this may require the owner’s attendance or making 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.

Boaters are asked to help themselves stay safe by making available for examination a.c. shore-power and other power source leads and by providing additional information about the boat’s a.c. system. Boaters can also help ensure examiner safety  –

•               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;

•               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.

Please contact your NABO representatives if you have questions on these changes.