Boat owners on the inland waterways will soon no longer have the task of sending off the blue copy of their Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) Certificate to the boat’s registration or licensing body.

From 31 March 2013 the examination recording process has moved into a central online database system with direct input from BSS examiners.

After a successful boat examination, the owner will get a copy of a new, receipt-style certificate, called a BSS Examination Report, to keep for their own records.

The change has been made possible because all navigation authorities participating in the Scheme have access to the BSS central database where they can double check a boat’s certification details and expiry date.  

Most authorities will no longer use printed and posted BSS documents to administer boat registration and licensing applications.

The change allows BSS examiners to provide directly the new-look certificates either as electronic files, or printed on plain paper in black ink.

New look certificate

The new-look certificate, or BSS Examination Report, may include any failure notifications and advisory information, combined in one multi-page document.

Existing BSS Certificates will continue to remain valid until reaching the expiry date.

Commenting on the impact of the changes for boat owners, Graham Watts, BSS Manager said, ‘The BSS examination continues in the same way, it’s just that there’s no blue copy of the BSS Certificate to pass to the navigation authority.

“Boat owners benefit from having improved information clearly setting out when the boat was examined, what the examiner found, and the certification expiry date.

‘Boat owners should continue to pass on the BSS certification information from their boat file to the new owner if the craft is sold on.”

BSS examination data is already held on a central database and authorised BSS Examiners have been inputting into this for over two years. It holds only examination and boat data, no owner or personal information is included.

This move will help some navigation authorities to develop online boat registration and licensing, making the administration easier.

The improvements will also involve essential boat risk information being recorded online by BSS Examiners and this is planned to improve safety on the waterways.

A guide to the new-look certificate has been posted on the Boat Safety Scheme website