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Fitting out a Sailaway and the RCD

I have been beavering away having been fitting out the sailaway that I purchased last year.
Assuming that I would not be selling within 5 years and the difficulties that conforming to the RCD would present to me as a novice I decided that it would be best to work towards the BSS.
My confusion is that I assumed 5 years began from when I received the boat and cruised it for the first time, but I have heared it is from when I actually "finish" the fit out. The fit out has potentially been finished for a while but as I learn more I keep changing things so I don't envisage it actualyl really ever being totally finished.
My builder has provided the declaration of conformity document and the boat is CE marked with the builder's plate and Hull ID number. I spoke to him recently and he said that I didn't even need to wait 5 years, as long as I acquired a BSS certificate once the declaration had expired then it was fine to sell on.
So my question is, when does the 5 years actually start? and is my builder correct in what he is saying?
Thanks in advance

Asked by: Phil  | 7.10pm, Monday 13 April


WW says:

The question of when a self fitted out narrowboat is complete is always a difficult one. I 'completed' our boat in 1993 but I have since added systems like a 230-volt circuit and a solar panel as these became more widely available. I suppose you could say it is when the boat has all the basic systems like water, lighting, cooking and heating, and can be cruised in reasonable comfort - although these definitions are open to interpretation.
If you read the BMF RCD guide (Google rya/bmf rcd manual and standards website), there is a section on narrowboats which clearly states that 'Home-built boats are exempted only if they are not subsequently placed on the market within 5 years'. This suggests that your builder is not correct. The aim is to prevent builders routinely by-passing the RCD procedures and opting for the BSS alternative.
If you think you might sell the boat within five years, it would be a good idea to assemble some documentary evidence of its completion date. This could be the Boat Safety Certificate obtained on 'completion' and some photographs with a proof of date. Whether you would ever be called upon to produce these is debatable but it might make you sleep more easily.

Graham Booth  | 11.46AM, Tuesday 14 April

A sail-away is normally provided with a partial RCD or "Annex III" declaration stating that the systems supplied meet the basic RCD requirements. This will allow the boat to be licenced for one year, after which it will need a BSS examination. Under the RCD regulations the five year period starts from when the boat is first commissioned, which is difficult to determine especially if it has been out of the water. In the case of a "Sail away" which has been taken away after being put in the water, the five years will probably start at that point.

Rupert Smedley  | 2.54PM, Tuesday 14 April

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