Tonnage measurement and registration

YDSA can measure your boat for Part 1 of the British Registry and some other Registries, which requires measurement by an approved Tonnage Measurer. Some ABYA members offer a complete registration service, can assist with transfer of registration to a new owner or do the measurement.

British Registration is under Part 1 or Part 3 of the Registry of Shipping and Seamen. This is operated by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) at Cardiff.

We can also provide tonnage measurement for other Red Ensign Group countries such as Gibraltar, Cayman, BVI, Channel Islands, etc, as well as for the Marshall Islands Registry.

Part 1 is the closest to evidence of title and applicants send in a Declaration of Eligibility as well as Bills of Sale showing the history of the boat's ownership for at least 5 years. The Part 1 MCA forms are all available on the MCA website.

The YBDSA tonnage measurement application form can be downloaded on the right.

Part 3 is a simple registration which does not provide any evidence as to title, or ownership, of a vessel. It is useful if, for instance, you want to take a ski-boat on holiday with you to Spain as it shows that you did not buy the boat in Spain and therefore Spanish taxes, etc. are not due. No measurement is required.

For those taking out marine finance over approx £50k you will be asked to register the boat so the interest of the finance house can be shown against it, in the same way as a house mortgage on the Land Registry.

Registration on Part 1:

  • Enables you to prove title to your boat
  • Allows you to register a marine mortgage
  • Provides internationally accepted documentation to ease passage to foreign ports
  • Entitles you to protection from the Royal Navy and the services of British Consuls
  • Can enhance the resale of your vessel
  • Provides proof of date of build in respect of the EU Recreational Craft Directive
  • Ensures that your boat's name is unique on Part 1

Contact the YBDSA to arrange your survey or complete the SUR6A (see the section on the right) and email to the Tonnage department at Don't leave it until the week before you sail, as measurers and the Registries get very busy in the summer months!

Tonnage measurement

The cost of tonnage measurement for British registration through the YBDSA is shown in the table on the right. For overseas registries please contact for further advice.

NB: For vessels lying overseas or not local to an approved measurer, additional expenses including travel are likely to be required. We can negotiate this for you with the measurer and provide a quote if you prefer not to do this yourself. We are also happy to work with your solicitor if they are doing the registration for you.

Discount for boats undergoing coding!

If you are seeking certification under the MCA Small Commercial Vessel Code, YDSA surveyors can carry out Tonnage Measurement for Part 1 British Registration at the same time as the Compliance Examination with a 10% discount from the normal Tonnage Measurement fee.


Applicants should send their application documents direct to the Registry of their choice and send their application for measurement only (SUR6A) to YBDSA. If you do not have a chosen surveyor, we will arrange the measurement and provide a quote. Once the measurement is done, the form is sent to us by the measurer for checking and counter-signature and sent on to the Registry, where it will be married up with your application. If you intend to use the boat for commercial (charter) purposes it is important to say so. You can use a commercially registered boat for private purposes, but not vice versa.

You may register if you are :

  • A British citizen
  • A non-UK national exercising your right of freedom of movement of workers or right of establishment
  • A British Dependent Territories citizen
  • A British Overseas citizen
  • A British subject under the British Nationality Act 1981(a)

Boats need to be re-registered every five years, for which the cost is currently £49. Delay in re-registration of over a year may result in a requirement for re-measurement.




Tonnage Measurement Flyer
SUR6A - Application for Tonnage Measurement
Guide to Using Our Fillable PDF Forms
Some forms are in fillable PDF format and a suitable PDF reader should be used. We recommend using Adobe Reader.
If you have problems opening or downloading these forms, right-click the link and select Save Target As or Save Link As.

Fees (from 5 April 2011)

For UK Registry
Vessel in UK
Under 15m overall £175.00
Over 15m and under 24m LLL* £230.00

Vessel outside UK
Under 15m overall £230.00
Over 15m and under 24m LLL* £285.00
For Overseas Registries
Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Red Ensign countries such as Cayman Is, BVI, Jersey, Turks & Caicos Is, etc
Up to 24m LLL* £275.00
*LLL = Load Line Length


You can pay by bank transfer or cheque or
Pay now by Debit/Credit card or PayPal

The Yacht Designers & Surveyors Association, The Glassworks, Penns Rd, Petersfield, GU32 3EW Tel: (01730) 710 425. Email: © The Yacht Designers & Surveyors Association.