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CO alarms on boats - BSS seeks your views - closing date 9 November 2018

The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) has launched a public consultation proposing BSS requirements for carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on boats. The proposals promote checks to be introduced for suitable CO alarms in good condition and in suitable locations on all classes of boat with accommodation spaces. The proposed mandatory new BSS Requirements are intended to come into effect from January 2019 and be implemented as BSS Checks on 1 April 2019. 

The shift to propose mandatory CO alarms recognises that CO poisoning could affect boat owners and crews from sources of CO generated outside of the boat by others e.g. the use of engines and appliances on adjacent boats. ">An additional and significant recognised benefit is the anticipated effectiveness of CO alarms in preventing death or injury to boat owners placed at risk in their own boats from running the boat’s engines or appliances. The measures will also to help protect persons on boats in a workplace environment, such as BSS Examiners, marine trade service agents and waterways staff.

BSS believes that over 60% of private boats already have CO alarms and with suitable devices costing £10-15, predicts uptake will be rapid and widely complied with. BSS also believes that most hire boats already meet the majority of the proposed new requirements.

  • Comments can be made in the next twelve weeks using the consultation form on the BSS website, the deadline is 1630 on Friday 9 November 2018. For more information on the proposals and to make comments, go to

BSS anticipates the evidence in support of the proposals will cause concern and for those who don’t currently have a CO alarm on board, it may cause them to act straight away to buy one.   

if the information provided in support of the consultation persuades you to act straight away to buy a CO alarm and you are unsure which model to buy, BSS selection guidance can be found here . This webpage includes a list of CO alarms recommended as suitable for boats by the manufacturers and as promoted by the relevant trade body, click here 

It is also important that CO alarms are fitted in the right place, but not all alarms have specific fitting instructions for boats. If they do these should be followed, but if they don’t or if the general fitting instructions are difficult to meet fully on a boat, then best practice placement guidance as provided by the CO alarm makers, can be found in the CO Safety on Boats leaflet. The online version of this advice is available here

BSS will produce a summary of the views expressed in the consultation and the BSS responses, by Friday 21 December 2018. The summary will be published on the BSS website.