BSSC (Boat Safety Scheme Certificate)
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Mon Jun 1, 2009 at 11:32am
I have just been talking with Craig a Marine Survey who is about to do a BSSC (Boat Safety Scheme Certificate) on Narrowboat which was sold over the weekend. BSSC are a mandatory requirement that all boats must have to be licensed and insured. The scheme is a joint Initiative between British Waterways and the Environmental Agency. The scheme is designed to ensure through independent verification, that boats meet the navigation authorities’ minimum safety requirements. More general information can be found on

The examination is a bit like an MOT for a car and can only be carried out by a qualified Boat Safety Examiner, during the test the following equipment and standards are checked and tested for compliance.

LPG Installations
Fire Extinguishers
Engine Installation
Electrical Systems
Appliances and Flues
Pollution Prevention Systems

The certificate is valid for a four year period from date of issue but like an MOT it is not a guarantee of the narrowboats safety through out that period. This often causes confusion when narrowboats are surveyed with a valid BSS, and surveyors find none compliances, the surveyor will have to fail the boat. A lot of things can change on a narrowboat over a four year period, and things can even change a few days after a test, it is important that anyone buying a narrow boat keeps this in mind through out the sales process.

Here at Whilton we try and negotiate with the owners to put a new BSSC on the narrowboat at the point of sale, although this is not always possible.

Until next time