New Safety Checks For Canal Hire Boats

By | January 26, 2017

THE Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) has published its new and revised checks for boat hire to be introduced from April 2017. A complete new examination will be implemented, the vast majority of which will be the existing checks on privately owned and managed craft in private use. This follows the consultation in 2015 and the BSS announcement in February 2016 that the proposed changes would be implemented.

The newly published list represents the 16 checks that are a mix of items retained from the 2002 BSS Standards for hire boats, or completely new requirements.

BSS manager Graham Watts said: “I believe the new and revised checks are straightforward and easy to implement and will enhance hirer safety. That said, any request for technical support by any hire boat operator is welcomed. I’m confident we can help any operator to move their fleet to full compliance.”

Boats holding existing 2002 non-private BSS Certificates on boats rentals will continue to be recognised by the navigation authorities until they expire, but this with the expectation that all hire craft will meet the new revised requirements from April 2017. Owners and operators of narrowboats are advised to visit where the list can be downloaded or printed out. Boat operators will also find some links to additional useful advice and information including the private boat examination checking procedures. The BSS technical team can be contacted via where the form allows for questions, photos, diagrams and supporting documents to be uploaded for the BSS support requests.

New requirements

  • Slip-resistant surfaces: are all designated external crew areas, companionway steps, and boarding planks provided with suitable slip-resistant surfaces?
  • Narrowboat tiller arc identification: is the arc of the narrowboat tiller clearly identified?
  • Means of escape: are all means of escape, other than main doors, clearly marked with a suitable label in good condition?
  • Smoke alarms: if the vessel has overnight accommodation, is at least one suitable smoke alarm provided?
  • Smoke alarms: are all smoke alarms in good condition?
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms: if the vessel has overnight accommodation and an installed solid fuel stove, are the correct number of suitable carbon monoxide alarms provided?
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms: Are all carbon monoxide alarms in good condition?