Q: At what stage in the yacht registration process should I organise the tonnage survey?
A: We recommend that the tonnage survey is organised as early as possible as the surveyor needs to visit the vessel and issue their findings to the responsible survey or classification society who in turn will release the survey to the appropriate registry.
Q: Does the yacht have to be taken out of the water for the tonnage survey?
A: No the yacht does not have to be taken out of the water for the tonnage survey – i.e. the tonnage survey can be, and often is, an ‘in water’ survey.
Q: Does the surveyor need access to the inside of the yacht?
A: Yes the surveyor needs full access to the inside of the yacht and to the engine compartment.
Q: On a new build yacht at what stage can the tonnage survey be carried out?
A: The yacht has to be structurally complete with the engines installed.
Q: The yacht is a production model. Do I still need to have a tonnage survey performed?
A: A tonnage survey is required even where a vessel is a production model (where the principal statistics may be known from other examples of the same type). This is because individual vessels can differ slightly from other examples of the same type and, even more importantly, the survey provides the respective Registry of Ships with proof that the vessel actually exists in lieu of them physically verifying its existence themselves.
Q: Can any surveyor perform tonnage surveys for Part I registration purposes?
A: No, the surveyor must be appointed by a survey or classification society that is authorised by the appropriate registry to carry out tonnage surveys on its behalf. We verify the credentials of all the surveyors with whom we work.
Q: Does the tonnage survey examine safety, design or construction aspects of the yacht?
A: The measurement of a yacht for tonnage purposes and the issue of a Certificate of Survey (tonnage measurement) is purely for the purposes of vessel registration and, for the avoidance of doubt, does not examine the yacht for value, insurance, safety, seaworthiness, structural strength or condition.
Q: What is tonnage?
A: Tonnage is a measurement of the internal capacity of a yacht, in other words it is a volumetric measurement as opposed to a calculation of weight.
The tonnage of a yacht should not therefore be confused with its actual physical weight which is known as its displacement, or deadweight (DWT), expressed in Metric Tonnes of 1000 kilograms or Long Tons of 2240 pounds.
The origins of the term tonnage can be traced back to the thirteenth century when data for the carrying capacity of vessels first began to be recorded for vessels carrying cargoes of wine.
The term tonnage derives from the Latin word Tunna which means barrel. Tunnage expressed the number of wine casks that could be carried by a vessel (a tun being the equivalent of approximately 250 gallons of wine occupying around 42 cubic feet).