The Steamboat Association
of Great Britain

to foster and encourage steam boating and the building, development, preservation and restoration of steam boats and steam machinery

to stimulate public interest
in steam boats
and steam boating

to promote high standards
of workmanship,
safety and seamanship

SBA Boat Owners Declaration Scheme

Fulfilling our Duty of Care

The SBA normally organises events on public waterways that any appropriately licenced boat owner, SBA member or not, may use. This means that the SBA has to operate in the context of a more complicated situation than if private waters were used. Thus, the SBA recognises that it has a duty of care to its Members and to the general public in relation to the Events that it organises. The basic position is that any event should be organised and run in a manner that will cause no loss or damage to participants, bystanders, other boat owners and the waterways authority.

To achieve this the SBA Committee delegates its authority to Event Organisers who are people with the knowledge of the the intended venue of the event. Organisers are the "people on the ground" who will make the necessary risk assessments, consult the relevant waterway authority, the local boat club(s), and so on. The Event Organiser will make arrangements following the guidelines set out in the Organiser Pack issued by the SBA Committee Events Co-Ordinator.

The Event Organiser is backed by the SBA's Public Liability insurance cover. This is intended to cover any liability that might arise from the negligence of the Event Organiser. Negligence is essentially failure to do that which might be expected of the "reasonable person", or doing something that the "reasonable person" would not do. After all, SBA Event Organisers are human and humans can make mistakes sometimes.

However, the main feature of an SBA Event is the steam boat flotilla. These vessels are privately owned and skippered by the SBA Members. To enable the SBA to meet its duty of care obligations it is necessary to have a suitable set of rules to guide the Member/skippers. After all, the skipper is responsible for his/her boat and all the decisions relating to it. The SBA cannot, and would not wish to, take that responsibility away from her/him.

The SBA has published, and regularly updates, its Requirements For Members And Boats Attending SBA Events which provides the general framework of rules. The SBA also has in place a system for establishing that Members are abiding by these rules. This has changed over the years and most recently was the SBA Boat Registration Scheme (also known as the Disc Scheme). As from the AGM of 2009 this scheme has been replaced by the Boat Owners Declaration Scheme.

Under the the Boat Owners Declaration Scheme, any Member wishing to attend an Event fills in the Declaration form confirming that s/he will have a valid boiler ticket and appropriate insurance at the Event. These forms are sent to the Event Organiser who will check that they are correctly completed and signed. Provided the boat owner has completed the form correctly, s/he will be admitted to the Event. In practice that means the Organiser will send her/him joining instructions and such other information is appropriate for participation in the event.

After the Event the Organiser will send the Declaration Forms to the SBA Safety Officer who will file them. At some point between the receipt of the forms and October the Safety Officer will carry out an audit of a sample of Declaration Forms. This will involve the Members whose forms have been chosen producing the documents that they have listed on the Declaration Form. A report on the Audit will be presented to the Committee at the November Committee meeting.

All boats attending SBA rallies must conform to these rules

All boats attending SBA rallies must conform to these rules.    Download a copy here.

Almost since its inception, the SBA has recognised that when it organises Events, it must take reasonable steps to assure the safety of participating members, their families and friends, and of members of the public who might be affected by the event. One element in achieving this has been mandatory requirements for members and their boats to comply with basic essentials. These have been updated and refined over the years, and this document is the latest version, including all the changes that have taken place since the last complete version was published in 2008. Further amendments are likely to be made from time to time, and will be published in Funnel or in Event entry details as they arise.

Any boat taking part in an Event organised by or in the name of the SBA must, at the time of taking part in the event:

1.  Have current third party insurance cover for a minimum of three million pounds (£3,000,000), or such amount as the Committee shall from time to time recommend, in respect of any accident involving the boat, its boiler or machinery.
  • Note 1. In order to ensure adequate insurance cover, it is essential to confirm with the insurers that they are aware that the cover is required in respect of steam raising plant and steam machinery; this may not be included within the meaning of the term “engines” or “machinery” in a standard marine policy.
  • Note 2. Steam boat insurance arranged through brokers that provide cover in accordance with the SBA Steam Boat Insurance Conditions will comply with these requirements. A number of brokers including Bishop Skinner Marine (insurance brokers), Simon Winter Marine (insurance brokers) and Insurance Risk and Claims Management (insurance brokers) operate this scheme.
2.  Have a current boiler examination report certified by a competent boiler inspector and stating that, at the time of the boiler examination, the boiler was in a satisfactory condition for use. The boiler examination to which the report refers must have been carried out by a competent boiler inspector in accordance with the principles set out in the Health and Safety Commission Approved Code of Practice “Safety of Pressure Systems”, 2000.
  • Note 3. “Competent Boiler Inspector” means “Competent Person” as defined fully in the H&SC Code of Practice. In essence, this requires the competent person (or his staff) to have such practical and theoretical knowledge and actual experience of the type of system which is to be examined as will enable defects and weaknesses, which it is the purpose of the examination to discover, to be detected and their importance in relation to the integrity and safety of the system to be assessed: he is also required to be independent of the system operator and to act in an objective and professional manner and carry out examinations solely on the basis of an impartial assessment of the nature and condition of the system under review.
  • Note 4. Insurance companies and other commercial inspection organisations, and the SBAS Boiler Inspection Scheme may be relied upon (if they agree to carry out a boiler examination) to supply a competent boiler inspector and apply the principles of the Code of Practice. If the examination is carried out by another organisation or by an independent inspector, the inspector must be asked to state on the examination report that the examination has been carried out in accordance with the H&SC Code of Practice.
3.  Have signed and submitted to the Event Organiser an SBA Event Declaration form that gives confirmation of compliance with requirements of 1 & 2 above. Boat Owner/Operators who have not provided this Declaration, cannot steam their boat at the event.
  • Note 6. Not later than the end of the Season, the Safety Officer of the Committee will audit a small random sample of completed event forms to determine that the system is operating correctly. Boat owners are advised to retain any documentation that expires during the season until December in case it is need for audit.
  • Note 7. In exceptional circumstances only, SBA Event Organisers are permitted (but may at their sole discretion decline) to allow the boat owner/operator to update an event Declaration form at the Event if the boiler and/or insurance details were not valid or available at the time of making the event application. Members are urged to avoid the need for this exceptional procedure, as it creates extra work for the event organisers, and could lead to a boat’s entry being refused.
4.   Carry safety equipment appropriate to the size of the vessel and the waters. This may include paddles or oars for small boats on inland waters, secondary means of propulsion for small boats on salt waters, anchors and warps as appropriate, fire extinguisher(s) or other fire fighting equipment and a first-aid kit. Non-swimmers, and any others required by the boat owner, should wear buoyancy aids.
Members submitting an entry form for an SBA Event must sign a Declaration on behalf of themselves and their party confirming that, while attending the event, their boat including its steam plant will be insured against third party claims up to at least three million pounds, and that the boiler will be covered by an up to date boiler certificate issued by a recognised boiler inspector, and that they accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused by the boat and/or its crew.


SBA Boat Owners Declaration.   Download a copy here.

All members taking a steam launch to an SBA-organised event must complete this form.

The SBA owes a Duty of Care in law to those directly involved or who happen to be bystanders at its events. The Association is responsible for organising events in such a way that nobody should suffer personal loss or injury as a result of what could be perceived as its negligence.

One aspect of our Duty of Care is that the SBA needs to assess any proposed event undertaken in its name and provide appropriate instructions to those attending. Event organisers do this as part of their organising role.

The SBA also needs to have a clear set of rules which specify clearly what is meant by responsible action and exercise of reasonable care by members in the context of an SBA-organised event.

The SBA needs to check that its members are abiding by its rules and, if they are not, act appropriately with those who do not comply. Two key rules relevant here include having a valid boiler ticket and appropriate third party liability insurance.

This document is the means to affirm that members will abide by the rules, acknowledging that if a member does not do so, the Association may ask for the member’s withdrawal.

The signatory is also acknowledging that they may be asked to produce their documents at a later stage in the course of an audit.


[Name of boat]

I [Name of Boat Owner] warrant and undertake that during [Name and date of the SBA Event] my steam vessel will have valid boiler certification issued by a competent authority and that I will also have in place an insurance policy to provide third party liability cover in respect of any loss or injury howsoever caused by my vessel.

I agree to fully indemnify and hold harmless the SBA from any liability whatsoever, in respect of any loss or injury caused by my vessel.

Boiler inspection certification issued by [Name of boiler inspector]
Boiler inspection certification valid until [Date of expiry of Boiler Ticket]

Insurance policy issued by [Name of Insurance Broker/Underwriter]
Insurance policy valid until [Date of expiry of Policy]>

If your present boiler certification or insurance is not valid for the dates of this event or has not yet been arranged, you must provide the SBA organiser with updated details in writing of insurance and boiler certification before your boat can take part at the event.

All participants at this event must conform to the SBA published requirements for boiler inspection, insurance, and safety. Details of these are available on request from The SBA Event Secretary.

In making this declaration I confirm that I fully understand the implications of making an incorrect or false statement.
Signed [Signature of Boat Owner]

Dated [Date of signing].

Note that at the end of the season the SBA will undertake random checks of the boiler certification and insurance details provided to ensure the system is operating effectively. The SBA would take a serious view if a declaration were found to be false.

Fulfilling our Duty of Care

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