Boat Safety Scheme: application for exemption

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In 2010, the introduction of the Inland Waterways Order (IWO) brought in new registration requirements for river users. At that time the Environment Agency introduced a new registration option, allowing boats not compliant with Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) standards to be kept but not used on the River Thames and the River Medway and still hold a registration, this was known as the Boat Safety Scheme application for exemption or ‘red registration’.

After nearly six years, the Environment Agency removed the option on 1 January 2017 for the Thames and on 1 April 2017 for the River Medway and now insists all river users meet the full registration requirements, including a Boat Safety Scheme Certificate. This means powered boats must comply with our construction and equipment standards, to ensure we are minimising the risk of boat fires and explosions. The removal of this option brings the Thames and Medway in line with other waterways across the country, including the other rivers the Environment Agency manages.

Other Environment Agency guidance:

Application for exemption from requirement to pass boat safety scheme examination.