Boat Safety Scheme examinations COVID-19 suspension lifted

21 May 20

Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) Examinations, suspended in the COVID-19 related lockdown, have now resumed for most boat owners. BSS have announced that the exams will happen in a ‘new normal’ framework based on the latest Government guidance.

BSS is a public safety initiative, initially opening in 1995 and is owned collaboratively by the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency. Its purpose is to help minimise the risk of boat fires, explosions, or pollution harming visitors and users of the inland waterways. The BSS examination certificate assesses whether a boat meets the minimum safety requirements of the Navigation Authority. 

Following the UK Government request that those who cannot work from home, should restart work where possible, the BSS has lifted the suspension on examinations with a cautious framework designed to prevent transmission of the virus by the use of distancing between the boat owner and examiner.

This move coincides with further government advice issued on 13 May 2020, that private boating could resume on English waterways subject to conditions set by the relevant navigation authorities. 

The BSS will not be able to provide examinations safely on the boats of those that are in self-isolation or are shielding. Therefore for those people, if their boat’s BSS Certification is due soon and their licence, registration, mooring or insurance usually depends on that Certification, the BSS recommend that those boaters speak with their relevant navigation authority, mooring management or insurer and explain their situation.

A detailed guide for boat owners on what are the ‘new normal’ preparations for BSS Examinations, can be found on the BSS website: