What are Inland Waterways?
The Inland Waterways are a huge part of the UK heritage being made up of rivers, canals and waterways. Some are privately owned whilst others fall under the jurisdiction of the Canal and River Trust looking after 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales; the Environment Agency which manages navigation for 634 miles of England’s rivers; the Broads Authority with lakes and rivers covering 303 km2 or Scottish Canals caring for 137 miles over 5 canals.
These organisations are responsible for all activities on their waterways including boating and the types of boats you will see cover a wide range – from historic narrowboats with their traditionally painted panels of roses and castles, to canoes and kayaks, motor and sailing boats and still some commercial trading on barges. There are many thousands of boats on our inland waterways offering a chance of peace and tranquillity and the opportunity to tie-up alongside a waterside pub for a drink or a meal. As well as privately owned boats there is a wide range of boats that can be chartered for a day or a week or longer.
Boat Safety Scheme Examination
The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) was established in 1997 jointly by the Environment Agency (EA) and British Waterways, now Canal and River Trust (CRT), to promote safety on the inland waterways in respect of boats, their installations and components. It is obligatory to meet the BSS safety standards in order to obtain a navigation licence on most inland waterways. This covers the majority of Britain's waterways including the Broads. To show compliance your boat will need to be inspected by an approved BSS Inspector. Some YDSA surveyors are also BSS inspectors.
YDSA surveyors can also provide surveys for the CRT Fitness for Purpose scheme.
Inland Waterways Group
The Inland Waterways Group (IWG) is a specialist group within the Association which liaises with other waterways organisations and keeps members up to date on rules and regulations, including the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS). They also exchange information on technical issues such as building methods, materials and new equipment and technology through discussions and trainings. This means that YDSA members working in the inland sector will provide surveys to assist you in understanding the condition of your boat, help you with repairs and re-fit, survey for purchase or insurance purposes.
The IWG Representative sits on the British Standards (BS) committee responsible for small craft, giving the Association a valuable input to the production and updating of standards.
Thinking of buying a boat for use on the inland waterways? Always find out what you are buying by employing a YDSA surveyor to advise you.
More information on Inland Waterways can be found at the following websites: