Annual BSS report of incidents and accidents
This report covers incidents recorded over the year from 1st January to 31st December 2021. In total there were 70 incidents on the inland waterways. There were 28 fires and CO incidents. Of these, the cause of 16 incidents (57%) is unknown/not conclusive/to be confirmed. In nine of the 28 incidents, the boat was used intensively (i.e. for residential or extended use). Despite the high number of unreported causes of fires on boats, there are six recorded incidents involving solid-fuel stove fires, which makes these the single largest factor in known causes for 2021. A summary of the main findings in the report is:
David Fletcher explains the new Examination Check Procedures.
The BSS team members are on a campaign at the moment to improve the consistency and quality of the examinations. We are all familiar with the discussions about how my boat passed last time, so why has it failed now? These events do nothing to improve the confidence of boaters, and they don’t improve the confidence of the navigation authorities (NAs) either. They are worried. We should not forget that the BSS examination has only an incidental role in the boat owner’s safety (the so called ‘first party risk’). For NAs it is about making sure that all the boats they have licenced are not a danger to others. This in the NAs’ duty of care. The statistics show that a third of boats fail their BSS examinations. The actual number is probably higher, because some failure points are fixed at the time and are not recorded. It is not a good picture.
Every so often, something happens that brings home the dangers closely associated with our way of life and hobby. Preventing carbon monoxide (CO) accumulation has been in the forefront of the fight to make life on a boat safer, with compulsory CO meters, adequate ventilation and a programme to make boaters more aware of the dangers. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has just released the findings of an investigation into the deaths of two people on a cruiser in York, which makes sobering reading. The link to the full report is given below and I really would recommend that you read it, but the following is a short synopsis.
The summary from the MAIB is as follows:
‘At about 2000 on 4 December 2019, the bodies of two men were discovered in the cabin of the privately owned motor cruiser, Diversion, which was moored to a quay in the centre of York, England. The bodies were those of the boat owner and his friend, who had spent the previous evening in the city centre socialising with former work colleagues and were spending the night on board. Both men had died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. The carbon monoxide had leaked into the cabin from the boat’s diesel-fuelled cabin heater exhaust.’
David Fletcher has news of a study to monitor CO in boats.
Carbon monoxide (CO) continues to kill several boaters every year. The BSS requirement for alarms was introduced last year, accompanied by a significant press campaign, but there continue to be incidents, and the number of boats failing examination on this point continues to disappoint. The highest numbers of failures on private boats concern the amount of fixed ventilation. If this is your boat, you are at risk because there is not enough air movement to disperse the small amounts of CO contamination that are inevitable. Remember that the BSS is not about your safety; it is about the navigation authority discharging its duty of care to others.
COVID-19 News Boat Safety Scheme Examinations Temporary Suspension
Following the most recent announcement from the Prime Minister regarding the UK’s response to the coronavirus crisis, the joint owners of the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) are allowing a temporary extension to safety certificates for those craft requiring an examination in the period until the 14th April. Any future change will be reviewed in respect of the Governments most up to date advice and we will advise you accordingly. In the meantime, Navigation Authorities and licensing bodies will maintain a record of extensions.
News releases on BSS issues can be seen here.
See the full text here
What we have been saying to our members