BSS boat safety examination

Great news – Swallow passed her BSS boat safety exam today!

The examiner had visited previously and presented me with a to-do list of amendments to make to ensure Swallow was gas safe and not likely to blow up any neighbours/cats/locks/sections of the canal.

Luckily these were fairly simple tasks and there were no major surprises. A sturdy chain to restrain the propane bottles in the gas locker, the cleaning of the diesel vent, and the biggest job – restraining the batteries so they couldn’t move in any direction…including up and down.

Narrowboat batteries

It’s safe to say these batteries are going approximately nowhere.

The purpose of all this restraining is to ensure that, should your boat tip onto its side (for example in a lock), there is no danger of a gas leak or batteries moving. Also as Graham helpfully adds in the comments below, if batteries move too much they can become disconnected, leading to an electrical fire.

My gas works were also tested to ensure they were safe and tight:

Photo 17-08-2014 15 48 49

So Swallow now has a BSS Certificate…which means I can insure her and renew her licence when this one runs out.

Another load off my mind!


  1. Graham says:

    Beth …
    Apologies in advance but whoever gave you the information about the reason for battery restraint got it wrong !
    The reason why batteries have to be restrained is somewhat more fundamental – batteries are heavy and therefore have inertia and WILL move if you bump into another boat or a lock wall. When the batteries move they take all their connected electrical leads with them and this movement will put a strain on the connections which, if they are not properly terminated, could lead to an electrical fire …

  2. Graham says:

    Beth …
    As you are a live-aboard, the guy who fitted your water heater must not only be Gas Safe registered but he should have also issued you with a document known as a ‘Landlord Certificate’ or a ‘Gas Safety Test Report’ which is only valid for 12 months.

    As far as your Boat Safety Certificate is concerned please note that it is NOT valid for 4 years – it has a maximum validity period of 4 years which is quite different as you (the boat owner) can easily invalidate it if you modify any element of the boat that was previously examined (check the T&C’s that your BSS Examiner should have issued with the Certificate) …

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