Boat Safety Scheme Examinations

Private Boats:

For private vessels, Tom regularly applies the 2015 BSS guidelines for privately managed vessels, as required by most navigation authorities for licensing. This service is usually fairly local only, as price becomes uncompetitive outside of 25 miles radius of Alcester, Warwickshire. Tom does not just fail your boat and walk away, I offer guidance and technical assistance in rectifying faults as cheaply and easily as possible whilst staying within best practice guidelines. I’m always available for ‘phone consultation too. Retests are usually always free depending on distances travelled. Tom can always recommend reputable traders to assist with repairs. If you liveaboard, you should be ensuring your BSS examiner is gas safe registered to get the best service possible. Tom is gas safe registered (300458),  so if you liveaboard, this ensures you get the best possible service. 

Non-private Boats:

Tom specialises in applying the 2002 BSS guidelines to workboats, hotel boats, passenger boats, commercial enterprises, and residential lettings. 

Hire Boats:

Tom has contracts to carry out BSS examinations for all leading hire fleet operators, and carries out BSS examinations on 20% of all the hire boats in the UK, across England, Wales and Scotland. This is a specialist aspect of BSS work with fleets managed throughout November-April. Tom advises on the adoption of the new 2017 BSS hire boat guidelines, as well as offering a bespoke service to traders - as much or as little as you need. 

Valuation Survey

Simple market-value appraisals can be carried out as required. Very popular with sailaway self-builders and owners who have improved their boat considerably and wish to increase the level of insurance cover. This is not a condition survey. This can also be carried out for probate/divorce settlements

Hull Insurance Condition

Usually undertaken for owners whose insurers have asked for a hull condition survey in order to obtain fully comprehensive insurance. Tom's reports are acceptable by all insurers and are produced and delivered within 7 days. All reports are submitted in secure Adobe Acrobat format via email. This survey is also usually acceptable to purchasers within a reasonable timescale. 

It is important to find out exactly what kind of survey your insurance company requires, prior to commissioning a survey. It is also important to ask if they require a valuation, as this is easily done at the time of survey and less so afterwards!


Tom currently acts for a number of public bodies and charitable trusts as well as leading hire fleet operators as a consultant. This is a specialist role that requires a high level of proven competence and extensive insurance cover. Please contact for further information.



Hull Condition Surveys

The craft requires docking in dry-dock or lifting/slipping to hard standing: this is the responsibility of the purchaser. It is most important that you check the facility you are using permits access to all of the hull - if in doubt ask. Full Ultrasonic thickness testing is carried out alongside pitting depth analysis. This survey includes analysis of protective paint covering, steelwork condition, superstructure condition, steering and stern gear condition. Also includes integral lockers such as LPG lockers, integral tanks where accessible, and advice on how protect your investment for the long-term. 

In-Water Surveys

As the name suggests the craft is examined ‘in-water’. The hull and steering/stern gear are not examined. This survey is generally for people who are buying a fairly new craft and are confident the hull is in good condition. This survey looks at the following key areas:

Engine Installation and Operation

Fuel systems

DC and AC Electrical Systems

LPG Installation

Appliance operation


Fresh, Grey and Black Water Systems

Fire Fighting Equipment

General Equipment

Valuation by request

The craft is also examined against BSS Examination Checking Procedures and a failure list produced. It is the owners’ responsibility to ensure the craft remains compliant at all times so this is particularly important when purchasing a no-compliant craft. Upon completion of all BSS related faults a new four-year BSS certificate can be issued by retest as agreed, and for a small additional charge to cover costs.

Full LPG soundness testing is carried out to BSS/GAS SAFE REGISTER standards if so required. This is not always necessary or required

Full Surveys

Often the most favoured survey as it includes all points listed in the Hull and In-water surveys. This is usually carried out to ensure complete peace of mind for the purchaser. Reports include integrated full-colour photographs to illustrate points as required. As well as the secure electronic report within seven working days (usually within 3 days), you will also receive an advance summary sheet to forward to the broker to aid any negotiation that results, and avoid delay in progressing with your purchase. You are welcome to be present at the time of survey and ask as many questions as you like, but please be mindful that a full survey is complex and in-depth, and it is important not to distract the surveyor. A full survey takes the best part of a day, with the report taking half a day. Full surveys generally uncover a host of defects which allow a purchase to be made from a fully informed standpoint. On completion of any remedial works necessary, a new 4-year Boat Safety Scheme certificate can normally be issued to give you a sound start to your new venture. 

Tom now offers the opportunity for you to undertake one or two-day RYA Inland Waters Helmsman Certificates on you own boat, as an Instructor of Tillerfolk School of Boating. If you are interested in this, please ask or look here for additional info and pricing. 


Some finance companies insist on a survey before releasing funds. This is usually due to the amount of money to be borrowed or the age of the craft. As all reports are sent in a secure electronic format you can simply forward this on to the finance company which reduces delay in releasing funds. These surveys can be of the following type:

Hull Condition Survey


Full Condition


It is important to find out exactly what kind of survey your finance company requires, prior to commissioning a survey.