Free advice from the Broads Authority and the Boat Safety Scheme

Boat Owners are being offered free advice on preparing vessels for Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certificate examinations, which are to be mandatory for many vessels – private as well as commercial – in the Norfolk Broads and the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation within the next three years.

The three surgeries will be held from 10am to 4pm on:
Saturday 28 April at Ranworth Broad Tourist Information Centre, Saturday 12 May at Bramerton Common Broads Authority Moorings and on Saturday 9 June at Waveney River Centre.

Throughout the Saturday surgeries there will be demonstrations about preparing a boat for an examination and the Broads Authority’s hazardous boat checks. Items from the BSS ‘black museum’ will be available to illustrate potential pitfalls. Copies of the BSS Essential Guide will be on sale at the discounted price of £6 at the stand.

The Boat Safety Scheme – described as an MOT for your boat – came into force on the Broads on 1 April this year for the largest boats. The next stage of the scheme from 1 April 2008 will apply to all remaining hire craft and private motor craft of 11 sq m and above. From 1 April 2009, it will apply to all remaining private motor craft and all private sailing craft.

It’s anticipated that the majority of boats affected by the scheme are in the mid-sized category, hence the encouragement from the authorities for planning ahead.

Charlie Middleton, the Broads Authority’s Waterways Officer, said “Owners of vessels in the second phase are recommended not to delay making preparation as boatyards and examiners could be overstretched this coming autumn and winter if everyone leaves it to the last minute.”

The Chelmer and Blackwater authority is bringing the scheme in over a much shorter time period as there are far fewer boats affected.

To find out when and if your boat will need to have a certificate, log on to or contact the Broads Authority