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Boat Safety Scheme

Issues resolved since 1992

Licence types: The differences between Commercial and Pleasure Boat licences, as perceived by the then BW, required the rationalisation of some anomalies eg contradictory requirements for the positioning of heating/cooking appliances in cabins without a second means of exit, contradictory requirements for guard rails around decks and counters.

Fuel system: Allowing the retention of certain fuel gauges, sight glasses, dipsticks and indicators on former freight carrying/passenger boats/tugs/ice-breakers etc. No requirement for a fuel drain valve. Variation in requirement for fuel return pipes. Variation in beam requirement for exemption on balance pipe valves and clarification of the term pipe.

Engine installation: Early engines are not required to have a reverse gear. Oil tight tray not required provided no bilge pump draws from this area. Only potential hot areas of exhaust need to be lagged. Recognition of silencing requirements of certain engines. Acceptance that all engine stop and start controls need not be extended to the steering position if they were not designed to do so.

Fire extinguishers: Still a major contention for small cabins, but an exemption of one extinguisher for craft without engines.

Appliances: Recognition that (eg) legless ranges may not have suitable fixings and that chocking is therefore sufficient.

Blowlamps for (eg) Bolinder engine starting (several modern boats also have such engines) are no longer subject to the requirement for a flame failure device.


Concessions since 1997

Diesel fillers which are inboard and have large openings do not have to be piped to an outside filler for (eg) Grand Union style tanks (and others) where there can be no unseen spillage.

Solid bulkheads between (eg) a traditional back cabin and engine room, on a historic boat, are deemed to be a structural member and there is no need to cut an escape hatch.

Boats with cargo carrying licences are not now required to comply with Part 10 of the BSS (which covers life-buoys, hand rails, hull openings, weed hatches, safety glass and ventilator labellings).


General approach.  At a 1997 meeting with David Fletcher (then BW chief exec) it was agreed that it was " very important to work together to get historic boats through the coming requirements for the BSS". "It was not (BW's) intention to force inappropriate modifications on historic boats" and "If there are any problems with examiners or surveyors (on historic boats) then David Allison, in the first instance (followed by DF) should be approached, who will be sympathetic."