BSS Examination COVID-19 Suspension Lifted

Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) Examinations, suspended in the COVID-19 related lockdown, have now resumed for most boat owners, but they will happen in a ‘new normal’ framework based on the latest Government guidance.
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 enforcing precautious distancing between the boat owner and the examiner. This mo1ve coincides with further government advice issued on Tuesday 13 May 2020, that private boating could resume on English waterways subject to conditions set by the relevant navigation authorities.
To help guide boat owners through what are the ‘new normal’ preparations for BSS Examinations, the BSS has created a dedicated webpage; visit to find out more.
We know those boat owners who are in self-isolation or who are shielding, especially but not exclusively liveaboards, will have many concerns about what this means for them. The BSS will not be able to provide Examinations safely for their boats.
Therefore for those people who are isolating or who are shielding, if their boat’s BSS Certification is due soon and their licence, registration, mooring or insurance usually depends on that Certification, The BSS recommends that those boaters talk with their relevant navigation authority, mooring management or insurer to explain their situation.
The BSS will issue further updates if there any changes in governmental guidance
affecting BSS Examinations, including any information from devolved regions.
If any boater would like to comment on this please forward those comments to your chairman who can pass them to the BSS Office.
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Latest CRT Coronavirus Update: 7/5/2020

Below is a link to the official Boat Safety Scheme update on boating examinations. Please give it a read as it outlines the scheme’s wish for boaters to book their examinations as soon as possible, but only if your circumstances safely allow so.

BSS COVID-19 Suspension – Planning for Changes

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How To Access The Latest CRT Restrictions, Help & Advice

To stay up to date with the current Canal & River Trust restrictions, help & advice surrounding the pandemic please follow the link below to their frequently asked questions page:

Stay safe all!

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CRT Coronavirus Update: 9/4/2020

There’s more detail below but, for absolute clarity, only move your boat if it’s essential (not for leisure purposes) and minimise your use of the towpath.

If you are not currently occupying your boat the government guidance is that you must not visit (this means any short trips or breaks on your boat at this time). With the Government expected to extend the lockdown period later today, we are extending our suspension of the normal movement requirement to the 18th of April.


Please follow the government advice – stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives. For further information please visit the following websites:

The Government’s Current COVID-19 advice:

Canal & River Trust’s update:

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Latest Incidents And Accidents Report Is Now Available

The report of incidents and accidents for the year ending 31 December 2019 (written by the Boat Safety Scheme) is now available to any interested parties. If you require any further information or access to the report, please request this via

We wish to highlight incidents regarding fire and CO in the belief this may lead you to reconsider your boat and its use, thus becoming safer.

Out of a total of 196 reported incidents on inland and coastal waterways, there was 72 Fire/explosion (including ‘immediate risk of’) incidents and 7 CO (including near incidents) reported. Whilst this is not a huge number, the CO incidents are reported as ‘major injuries’, that is those requiring hospitalisation. In addition to the above numbers, there are potentially 2 further people affected. At the time of this report, an initial inquest hearing has raised the possibility that 2 people died from CO poisoning on an inland waterway. We are awaiting confirmation of the likely source of the CO at the inquest.

10 Fire incidents were recorded as being caused by electrical issues, a mix of low voltage DC current and mains voltage AC current. Unfortunately, incident reporting is not always completed or accurate during the year, for example, there were 12 fire or CO incidents reported without a cause being determined.

As the Boat Safety Scheme is risk-based data gathered is used to plan future concentration of effort and focus. Examples of this use are the recent introduction of compulsory CO alarms and fire alarms.

Thanks for reading,

BSS Officer

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