Beer and Boats and the BSS

Well its going to be a bit of a mad weekend.

On Saturday Nick, myself and a few friends are off to the ‘Second’ Cheltenham Beer Festival’ which is run by the Friends of the Samaritans as a way of raising funds. Running from 12 noon on Saturday till 11pm they are promising to have 26 beers, all from local breweries, some perry and cider, and a pig roast. Last year it was a great event – perfect weather and two rugby games to watch too (that’s what happens when you hold your event at a rugby ground) along with a giant Jenga set, Chess and activities like face painting for the kids.

Then on Sunday (assuming we are capable) we are off back to the boat to fix up a few problems that meant it failed it’s BSS check.

For those who don’t know about the BSS (Boat Safety Scheme) it is a set of safety checks invented by a bunch of safety-fascists which if your boat doesn’t pass then its not going to get a certificate and thus can’t get a licence. Unlike the MOT, which has lots of local garages involved, BSS examiners are like hens teeth and have a matching price tag.

I could go on here about the fact that the BSS is a shifting target which retrospectively applies changes, that it is inconsistent, and sometimes flies in the face of logic..a few years ago they decided that rigid push fit plastic spill rails on diesel engines were not safe and they had to be replaced with metal pipes. Bit award as the return fittings on some new Ford engines were for push fit pipes and that there were a lot of cars driving around, apparently perfectly safely, at 70mph with push fit hoses… but NO.. that’s not safe in a boat at 3-4mph

They did eventually back down on that one.. but it’s just one example of how disconnected the BSS can be from reality. In the past couple of years they have slackened off on a lot of things and there is a much more “common sense” style approach to it than there used to be but there are still places that give off that “We are saying you have to do this, not because it sensible, but because we can” and in places you get the feeling that the requirement has been pushed by people who have a vested interest in boats failing.

To be fair the people in the BSS office are excellent and have been really helpful in helping us resolve a couple of problems we have had.

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