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How Much Is a Boat or Yacht Survey? (Costs & How to Prepare)

Boat and yacht surveys have become commonplace in the nautical world, both for people buying boats (wanting to check the conditions) and for insurance companies.

Both insurance surveys and pre-purchase surveys are led by marine surveyors, who check every component on the boat applicable (for example, the engine, navigation lights, water systems, safety equipment, etc.).

Yacht surveyors will help to determine a more accurate purchase price and policy costs for your insurance company.

But, how much is a boat survey?

The prices of a pre-purchase survey and an insurance survey can vary from around £10 per foot to around £20 per foot, if not more.

The price will depend on the:

  • size
  • age
  • model of your specific boat
  • type of craft or vessel
  • as well as the surveyor you have chosen, their hourly rate and any travel costs for your/their location.

Let’s take a closer look at what you might expect on a boat survey day, and what else will influence the price.

How Much Does a Boat Survey Cost in The UK?

The cost of your boat survey will usually depend on the surveyors themselves.

Most marine surveyors charge per foot of the boat, while others have a set amount based on the general size and model of the boat. 

Some surveyors will charge you just over £20 per foot. 

Generally speaking, a boat survey can cost anywhere from about £450 to over £700, total.

That is why it is best to contact a few marine surveyors before making a final decision.

Their prices may not vary a great deal from one another, but if they are charging per foot of the boat, even a small difference in price could be significant.

In England and the rest of the UK, these are the fees you’re looking at for surveying boats

What About the Cost of A Yacht Surveyor?

Again, when it comes to the actual cost of a yacht surveyor, everything depends on the surveyor you choose, and the size and make of your boat. 

Some yacht surveyors will only charge you about £10 per foot, plus a baseline price, whereas others will cost you more (depending on their premium services, etc.). Once again – shop around.

Methods and Types of Boat and Yacht Survey (and how They Impact Price)

There are various types of boat and yacht surveys to choose from.

Most surveyors will need instruction from you about the specific inspections they need to carry out – based on insurance demands, etc. (Find out How to find good marine surveyors)

For example, they may be asked to do a full condition survey, which is common for buyers to seek before purchasing their boat and becoming a new owner. 

This ensures their future purchase is sound and ready to sail.

An insurance survey, meanwhile, will test an older boat and check its various components for the purposes of insurance coverage (as is obvious by the name!).

Ultrasound surveys, on the other hand, are useful for measuring the thickness of the hull platings. Rig surveys check rigging wires, and machinery and systems surveys check mechanical and electrical components in close detail.

Generally speaking, the most common boat surveys are insurance and full condition.

However, each survey carries a specific cost and fee.

Since full condition and insurance surveys thoroughly check multiple components of the boat, they tend to be the most expensive.

How Much Is a Boat or Yacht Survey blog post image

How to Save Money on Boat or Yacht Survey Costs

Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that you save yourself a bit of money on your boat or yacht survey. 

  • Clean the boat thoroughly before the survey. Cleaning up before a survey will save you and the surveyor a lot of time, ultimately saving you money. 
  • De-clutter your boat. Taking non-essentials out of the boat before the survey will make it easier to clean and easier for the surveyor to access – saving time and money, too.
  • Ensure that the batteries are working. If your boat is onshore and the boat is connected to the power of the port, then ensure that it is well connected and does work as expected. That means no need for extensive work or survey time.
  • Service your engine before the survey. Ensuring that your engine starts easily during the survey will help a lot with time and with any potential issues that the surveyor could note!
  • Check the hull for any damages. The hull will need to be in the best condition possible as the surveyor will look for any noteworthy damages – and again, the more time they spend, the more money you spend, too.
  • Preparation for a sea trial – if you’re going on a sea trial (which is a key part of inspections), it may seem obvious, but if you haven’t turned on your vessel in a while, then it’s worth checking it still turns on and runs.

How to Instruct a Yacht Surveyor

Before hiring a boat surveyor, you must ensure that they are right for the job.

That means checking with your yacht insurance company about what they expect to be checked, what qualifications they expect the surveyor to have, and more. 

You should also always check that the boat surveyor that you hire has a professional indemnity insurance cover. 

If you’re worried, reach out to your insurance provider as soon as possible – they know what they’re doing and can tell you what to look for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions on a boat survey or yacht surveys:

Do I Need a Survey to Buy a Boat?

You do not necessarily need a boat survey to buy a boat.

Most insurance companies ask for boat surveys on vessels that are over 25 years old, although some might ask for surveys on newer models, too. 

However, if you are buying a boat, hiring a boat surveyor for yourself is highly recommended for most people.

They will be able to see any underlying issues that the ship might have, which helps to give you a better idea of what price you should be paying – and what investments and repairs you may have to make in the boat in the future. 

How Much Does a Narrowboat Survey Cost in The Uk?

Much like a survey for any other boat, the cost of the survey will depend on the size of the narrowboat and the surveyor you have chosen. 

Generally speaking, you will pay between £10 and £14 per foot for a narrowboat inspection.


Seeking out a marine surveyor or boat survey expert shouldn’t be a hassle.

Whether your insurance carrier needs a survey completed, or if you’re paying the above fees to gain assurance on a future purchase, surveying offers fantastic confidence.

Their report will show all their important findings and their inspection may uncover a red flag you wasn’t expecting. This makes the fee well worth it.

Keep a close eye on fees payable, surveying scope, and do your best to get your vessel up to code – getting someone to inspect your boat is great value for your protection and peace of mind.

If you need any advice, contact us. We’ve been a boat insurance broker for over 20 years and will be happy to help give you any independent advice on the process and what you need for your vessel’s intended use.

You can also find qualified surveyors here



Categories: Blog

How to Find a Good Marine Surveyor? (and Where)

There is already so much to think about when purchasing a boat. From repairs, to mooring, to boat insurance and ongoing costs – there’s much to consider.

So, on top of it all, why should you have to think about hiring a certified marine surveyor for your insurance company? And how do you find a good one?

The truth is that having your boat surveyed by an accredited marine surveyor will do more than just benefit your insurance company – it will also help provide you with a lot of useful insight and confidence about your craft.

But, how do you find the right surveyor? 

Thankfully, boat surveyor companies and one-man bands are rife – and you should be able to find plenty in your area.

The best thing to do is ask your insurance company directly about marine surveyors that they recommend to cut down on research time.

But, what exactly will a marine surveyor check for on your boat, what will you find in the report and what even is the point?

What to Look for in a Marine Surveyor?

  • Their background and experience
  • Areas of Expertise
  • Familiarity with your model and make of boat or vessel
  • Reach out and find out what they would look for on your boat while surveying
  • Qualifications and are they accredited marine surveyors 
  • Cost of the survey 
  • Experience with your boat insurance company 
  • Duration of the survey 

Where Can You Find a Good Surveyor?

When looking for a good marine surveyor, the best thing to do is to ask your boat insurance company about those they work with regularly.

However, many lenders won’t be too fussed as long as you use an accredited marine surveyor.

Still, essentially you are looking for someone experienced and qualified, with whom you can easily set an appointment sooner rather than later. 

You can also find qualified, reputable surveyors through a local Google search.

It’s also worth looking into SAMS, the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors.

This is a directory of approved survey experts who are highly regarded in their field.

They represent many surveyors across the states – and hiring via SAMS means you’re generally guaranteed exceptional care and knowledge.

You could also ask other boat owners in your port for their opinions on marine surveyors they may have worked with in the past. 

Forum reports are also worth checking for recommendations of inspection and surveys people have had for their yachts or boats.

Is a Boat Survey Worth It?

Not many people like the idea of a boat survey. It costs money, takes time, and what does it actually bring you? Quite a lot, actually!

Boat surveys help identify any potential issues that a boat may have. The truth is that it is not always about getting a more appropriate insurance policy. 

For example, if you plan to buy a boat, then a reputable marine surveyor can identify issues you may not have spotted yet on the vessel.

This will be important when negotiating a purchase price and in helping you understand what, if any, modifications you will need to make to the boat before it is safe to take out onto the water again. 

However, it is also true that marine surveys are indeed beneficial for insurance policies.

They benefit more than just the insurance company, as you will be able to update your marine survey when new repairs and modifications are made to your boat – thus, potentially adjusting your insurance policy rates, too. 

How to Find a Good Marine Surveyor blog post image

What Does a Marine Survey Include?

Marine surveys are thorough investigations of boats led by expert surveyors.

Typically, they will check:

  • navigational machinery
  • your radio
  • plumbing
  • electrical elements
  • air conditioning
  • engine and other mechanical elements
  • the structure of the boat
  • any essential onboard materials
  • and the general condition of the vessel or craft itself.

The idea is to ensure that everything is running smoothly and that there are no potential dangers on board – it’s a thorough examination of the different areas of your craft to make sure it’s safe for you to take to sea on your yacht or boat.

Depending on the size and condition of your boat, a marine survey on a small craft could take just a few hours or even an entire day for a larger yacht. 

The marine surveyor will likely request to see the ship in action when surveying any boats, at which point they will want you to take them out on the boat for under or just over an hour. 

Be ready for a quick trip!

Why Do You Need a Marine Surveyor?

Your insurance company will likely ask you to hire a marine surveyor to inspect your boat before they can set you the best insurance policies at the right price. 

This is so they can determine how safe your vessel is and how likely it is to need repairs, get into accidents, etc. 

If your boat is in a terrible state of repair, then the insurance company will have to create a much more comprehensive contract with you.

On the other hand, if your boat is in good condition and ready to go, then your insurance policies do not have to be as extensive or even expensive. 

How Long Are Marine Surveys Good For?

It is a little difficult to determine how long the average marine survey will be good for.

While some marine insurance companies are happy with the same survey for up to five years, others will only permit it for up to three.

Generally speaking, the condition of the boat will determine how long the survey will be good for.

For example, if you have a boat that needs serious repairs and adjustments, then the chances are that your marine survey will need updating pretty quickly. 

On the other hand, if your boat is in near pristine condition, then your marine survey will likely last a lot longer. 

Whatever the case, if you do make any adjustments to your boat during the time that you have a marine survey, then it would be a good idea to get renewed.

That way, if any serious repairs have taken place to improve the condition and safety of the boat, the new marine survey will reflect that, and it will show in the cost of your boat insurance. How much does boat insurance cost though?

How Much Does a Boat Survey Cost?

It depends on the surveyor you choose, and the size and make of your boat. We

Yacht surveyors usually start at around £10 per foot, plus a baseline price, whereas others will cost you more (depending on their premium services, etc.).

Shop around until you’re happy with the value you’re getting for the extent of the service and hire that surveyor associate to carry out your inspection.


Beyond determining the value of your boat, there is a lot that you, as a boat owner, stand to gain from a good marine survey.

During the process, you can expect the marine surveyor to find any electrical, machinery, or structural issues that you alone may not notice.

This, for example, is especially important if you are investing in a used boat that could have underlying issues. 

So, don’t be too concerned about your marine survey, and take it as an opportunity to get to know your new boat a lot better. 



Categories: Blog

Does Boat Insurance Cover on Water Towing? (is the Vessel or Person Covered?)

So, you have an insured boat, but do you actually know what that insurance covers? You could need all kinds of assistance on your vessel, including towing.

But does your insurance have towing coverage? And what type of towing coverage are you entitled to?

For example, are you covered in the case that you need a tow vehicle on the water, or are you and your boat covered when you are towing it on dry land? 

Generally speaking, boat insurance does not cover on-water towing or off-water towing. That being said, there may be some fine print in your insurance that covers “other boat accessories” – which could include your trailer.

So, let’s take a closer look at what your boat policy will likely cover, and what additional coverage you should be looking at.

Does Your Boat Insurance Cover Towing or On-Water Assistance?

If you tow your boat in and out of the water, then it is important to know where exactly your boat is covered. 

In many cases, boat towing on the water will be included in a basic policy.

In most cases, your boat will be insured only when it is in the water.

So, when it is on your trailer going home, it will not be covered by your boat insurance. 

But, what happens if you get in an accident on the road or just out of the water, and your boat is damaged? 

As an ‘element’ on your trailer, the boat may be covered on your car insurance. However, that is not guaranteed either. 

Therefore, it is essential to check with both your boat insurance policy and your car insurance carrier about whether or not towing expenses are covered.

Does Boat Insurance Cover an Accident While Hauling Your Boat?

Again, if you are hauling your boat out of the water, then no, your boat or yacht insurance will not cover physical damage or accidents.

Boat insurance policies cover any accidents that could happen while your boat is in use, i.e. when it is in the water.

Out of the water, your boat isn’t as likely to run into another boat, sink, or incur marine damages! So, why would your boat insurance cover it? 

That being said, you will need to check your car insurance / roadside assistance cover for damages that could occur to belongings that are being towed.

If your car insurance does cover such aspects, then it should cover your boat while it is on the back of your car.

However, it is always best to check with your insurance company before assuming anything, as accidents do happen everywhere, and not every policy is very clear. 

What’s more, it may be that you will need to pay extra for coverage on your trailer specifically, as it may not automatically be included in your car insurance coverages. 

Does Added Sea Tow cover the Vessel or The Person (or Both)?

While some boat insurance companies will have additional sea tow cover, it’s usually best to get specific sea tow membership for peace of mind.

In the UK and surrounding waters, a Sea Start membership covers your pleasure craft.

Membership costs between £145-£165 depending on the type and size of the vessel.

The Sea Start membership generally covers the boat, rather than the owner.

In the US, if you have a membership with Sea Tow, then your basic package should cover the vessel and the person involved. 

Sea Tow are the people you call when you have run out of fuel, your engine has broken down, you’ve run aground, the list goes on.

The towboats will then come and get you safely back to your port.

You can easily call them via radio for instant boat towing support.

However, non-members can end up spending a fortune, with certain towers costing around $250 per hour! 

Sea Tow provides various membership options to choose from depending on where you take your boat.

Memberships typically cost between $100 and $200 per year.


Be careful out there – as even the best boat insurance policies have limited coverage when it comes to towing and off-water haulage.

We don’t tend to think of getting a boat insurance policy to cover physical damage that could happen to our vessels on dry land – but, in fact, it is an essential part of owning a boat.

While your vehicle is towing your vessel, you could incur any kind of damage to your boat.

You could also be found liable should the boat trailer or boat itself cause any damage to someone else’s personal property or even injuries that will require medical treatment. 

That is why it is so important to discuss your auto insurance, boat insurance, and any other coverages that you have with your insurance company. 

Liability coverage is also a must if you’re running a commercial boat or fleet of boats.

You should also ensure that you have separate coverage for any towing expenses that could occur. Think of it like roadside assistance.

In fact, car insurance or auto insurance may cover this. Check your boat policy

You hope as a boat owner that you will never need it, but it will save you a fortune and a lot of time if you have the right coverage for it.



Categories: Blog

Do I Need Insurance on My Boat Trailer? (Is it Covered by Other Insurance?)

Finding the right insurance coverage for any new boat can be a nightmare. It can all get confusing between marine surveys and repairs, too In the confusion of it all, many forget to insure their trailers!

If you have to tow your boat in a trailer, then it’s crucial to look carefully at your boat insurance policy.

  • Is your trailer actually covered by your boat’s insurance policy, your homeowner’s policy, or even your auto insurance?
  • Or, is your trailer completely uncovered, thus leaving you vulnerable to accident, physical damage and more?

Regardless, yes, you do need boat trailer insurance. Any manner of damages caused by your boat trailer could happen while towing your boat. Whether it be in a parking lot, at the port, or even on the road, you could easily cause, or be subject to, bodily injury or damages.

Don’t take your boat trailer anywhere until you’re covered.

Does Boat Insurance Cover Boat Trailers?

In many cases, boat insurance will cover damages to boat trailers, both in and out of water. 

However, this policy addition is not guaranteed. Some boat insurance companies will focus their policies solely on the boat itself and only when it is in water. 

Conversely, those that do consider the trailer as being an accessory to the boat and who will cover it may not even give you comprehensive coverage.

For example, your trailer may be covered in the case of damages, but there may not be any liability coverage.

So, if your trailer causes damage or injury, you could end up having to pay a fortune. 

So, how can you find out what your boat trailer is covered for, if anything? 

Get in touch with your boat insurance company, or be sure to read through the fine print in your policy.

It would also be wise to contact your car insurance company, as the trailer could fall under your auto cover.

It may even fall under homeowners insurance, though dedicated boat trailer coverage is most useful as part of a marine policy.

It is essential to check for any eventualities such as damages, injuries, and where they could happen (i.e. on land or in the water). If you’re using a trailer commercially,  it’s also crucial to consider your liability insurance and commercial boat insurance, too.

Should Boat Trailers Be Insured?

Boat trailer insurance rules may vary from territory to territory.

For example, no trailers have to be insured in the UK, so you are not obligated to have your boat trailer insured. 

That said, in the US, it’s worth making sure your boat trailer is protected.

What’s more. if you do get in an accident with your trailer that causes any damages or injuries, then you will be liable to cover the costs. That is why it is definitely wise to have your boat trailer insured – regardless of legal compulsion.

You could check with your car insurance company to see if your policy extends to your trailer. If not, then it would be wise to add a clause for it, just in case.

Will Insurance Cover Boat Falling Off Trailer?

Watching your boat fall off a trailer can be a nightmare scenario! Sadly, in some cases, it only takes one mistake for your boat to slip free and fall onto the road.

If your boat falls off a trailer while transporting, it will likely get damaged in the process.

Your boat insurance should cover any damages that happen to the boat – however, it is wise to check with your boat insurance company to ensure that your insurance policy caters to accidents that occur out-of-water.

But, what happens if you have injured someone, or caused damage to another’s property?

Do I Need Insurance on My Boat Trailer blog post

Your boat insurance company may cover you for damage caused by the boat itself – but if the trailer’s at fault, things can get complicated.

To avoid all doubt, check your auto insurance policy / car insurance policy – as well as your boat carrier – and if an insurance agent can’t give you much advice in this regard, it’s worth hunting down separate coverage.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Does Car Insurance Cover My Boat Trailer?

In some cases, car insurance does cover trailers – including boat trailers. They are considered to be accessories to the vehicle and therefore fall under your standard insurance policy. 

However, not all car insurance companies follow the same standards. It could be that your car is covered for accessories that do not include a trailer, for example – in which case, it’s time to add on separate trailer coverage with the provider, or to look elsewhere.

Always ensure that your trailer is covered, at least when it is on the road.

This is especially important as your boat insurance is not likely to cover your trailer once it has deposited your vessel and left the water.


Having to take out extra boat trailer coverage may seem like a pain, but it could be your saving grace at any point. 

On the bright side, you could have coverage for your boat trailer already under your homeowners’ policy, boat insurance policy, or car insurance policy. 

If you’ve not already pored through your fine print, you may find your insurance covers you for a lot more than you expect!

If not, then it’s time to get in touch with an insurance representative to get your limited coverage extended.

Most people assume that they will never need it, but whether it is for roadside assistance, if a tree falls on your trailer, or your boat falls off or hurts someone, you must be able to protect yourself – and to cover physical damage financially.

Unfortunately, none of us are truly psychic in this regard!

Regardless of where you tow or take your boat, always protect your interests – and your assets – with appropriate insurance.

Paying for damages caused or for physical harm can be seriously costly – and for just a small amount of money each month, you have a safety net in place.



Categories: Blog

Do You Need a Licence to Drive a Boat? (When & Where)

Driving a boat is one of the biggest pleasures that you can have in life. Fellow boat owners can attest, there really is nothing like the freedom of being on the open waters.

However, in order to get to the open waters, one often needs a licence – and if your plan is to use the UK’s inland waterways like the River Thames, then you’ll most certainly need one as it is one of the legal requirements to have a licence.


  • what kind of licence do you need?
  • when do you need it?
  • and how do you get it? 

Keep reading – we answer the question “do you need a licence to drive a boat?” in full within this post.

In order to use a boat on the UK’s inland waterways, you will need a boating licence (and inland waterways insurance is always a good idea)

However, if you are using your boat on the sea, and have a sailing boat rather than a motorboat, then the rules may be more relaxed (or stricter, depending on where you’re boating).

Here, we’ll take a look at the boating licence requirements in the UK, and what you specifically will need to get you on the open waters!

What Licence Do I Need to Drive a Boat in the UK?

Sadly, getting the right boat licence isn’t quite as easy as just getting a driver’s licence for a car, a lorry licence for a lorry, and so on. 

The type of licence that you will need for your boat depends on where you are, what boat you have, and where you plan on taking it. 

In some cases, a boat licence isn’t even necessary at all.

On the other hand, there are also situations in which the lack of the right licence could leave you with a hefty fine or worse. 

So, let’s take a closer look at the situations in which a boat licence is absolutely necessary, how to get one, and how much it will cost you to get one.

Can You Drive a Boat Without a Licence in the UK?

Whether you can drive your boat in the UK without a licence depends on where you are, where you plan on taking the boat, and what kind of boat you have. 

For example, if you plan on driving a motorized vessel (i.e. one that is powered by a motor engine), then you will likely need a licence.

On the other hand, sailing boats are a lot easier to obtain without boating licences and do not necessarily require them. 

Now, let’s consider your location. In most of the UK’s inland waterways, a boating licence is required. However, that is not the case for all of them.

It is always best to determine who owns and/or manages the inland waterway that you plan on using before going on it.

Contact the agency in question before travelling and they will inform you about their most recent regulations regarding the area. 

Certain areas also have age restrictions regarding minors taking the helm of boats, with or without adult supervision.

Therefore, you will likely have to provide your date of birth as well as proof, to ensure that you are legally of the right age to sail your boat in that specific area. 

Sailing in the sea surrounding the UK tends to be a little easier licence-wise, as they are not always required.

How Much Does a Boating Licence Cost?

The prices for boating licences depend on the types you wish to buy. 

For example, an annual boating licence for rivers and canals in the UK costs nearly 700. 

On the other hand, something as simple as a short-range radio operator’s licence only costs about £70. 

A general BSSC (Boat Safety Scheme Certificate), which lasts for one year, can start at about £144.

How to Get a Boating Licence in The UK

In order to get your boating licence in the UK, you will need to contact one of these three agencies:

  • British Waterways – which runs the Yorkshire Ouse, the Severn, the Trent, and many other rivers and canals (Also known as The Canal and River Trust site here – also have great information on boat licences for various vessels)
  • The Environment Agency (which runs the Thames, the Medway and the various rivers of East Anglia) site here
  • The Broads Authority (which runs the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads)

Each agency has its own set requirements for boating licences, and you will need to go through their specific processes. 

In some cases, you can purchase your licence online.

You will most likely need to have a completed BSSC (Boat Safety Scheme Certificate) as well as have boat insurance in order to secure your licence. 

Once you have successfully completed your boating education requirements, and have obtained your boating education certificate, and whatever specific licence you need for the area that you plan on chartering, you will be ready to go!

In some cases, depending on where you wish to travel to, you may need to undertake a boating safety course, or at least prove to international bodies that you have undertaken the requisite boating safety education to set sail.

It’s always good to check boating laws for wherever you wish to travel, and even if you intend to rent a personal watercraft or similar, to check that your boat operators are clear on what’s expected of you.

Do Boat Owners Need a Licence Just to Own a Boat?

No, boat licences aren’t required for boat ownership.

You don’t need a licence to purchase your own boat but boat owners will need a boat licence to use the UK’s waterways and navigable rivers.

Do I Need Boat Insurance to Get a Boat Licence?

Yes, you will require boat insurance – a minimum of third party insurance – to get your boat licence.

As well as third party liability cover as a minimum, you’ll also need your boat safety certificate or BSSC (boat safety scheme certificate) in order to get your boat licence.


It is essential to know what approved courses, licences, and other requirements you need to operate a boat, before even investing in one. 

As was previously mentioned, everything depends on where you are, the type of vessel that you’re sailing, whether you will sail offshore, in a canal boat, rowing boats etc and the area and jurisdiction in which you plan on using it.

Boating law isn’t as straightforward as one might hope, so getting it right is essential! Contact the local navigation authorities for full details of what you need.

That being said, in all situations, having a boating safety course under your sleeve will never be a mistake.

Even if it isn’t necessary, it will help you in all kinds of ways.

Not only will you be able to take your boat out farther (into waters that require proof of you taking a boating education course), but you will also be more assured in your own abilities, and the safety of those around you. 

Moreover, having the correct formal boat licence will automatically help you to get better deals on your boat insurance, should the worst happen and you do some accidental damage or need to make a claim. 

So, wherever you are, consider taking up an approved boater education.

And, even if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, remember to look up the boating laws in your area to ensure that you can legally operate your vessel – with or without a licence – where you are, and wherever you may go.



Categories: Blog

Do You Need a Licence to Rent a Boat? (UK & US Requirements)

There’s nothing like taking a rental boat out during the holidays, setting sail with your loved ones and completely letting go! But do you need a boating licence to rent a boat?

In some cases, boat rental is not as straightforward as boating in your personal watercraft.

Some places require that you have a boat licence, others don’t.

So, it can be a little confusing and can even prevent you from having the holidays of your dreams purely from misunderstanding the rules! 

The short answer is, in many cases, you do not need a boat licence to rent a boat, however, that isn’t the case everywhere.

The rules and regulations do indeed change from country to country, state to state, and company to company.

So, let’s take a closer look at the differences between the UK’s and USA’s boating rental regulations, and more.

Do You Need a Boat License to Rent a Boat in the UK?

Whether you need a licence or not to rent a boat in the UK depends on where you plan on using it. 

For example, if you are going to be using the boat in inland waterways, then you will need to contact the specific organisation managing the area i.e.

or other organisations relevant to where you plan to go boating.

Each area will have its own requirements regarding licences, however, most do request that all kinds of water vessels come with their own licences, boat insurance, and a Boat Safety Scheme. 

Given how busy inland waterways can be, it is only natural for the managers of these areas to want to ensure that whether you are renting a boat, or running your own, that you are more than capable of handling the boat in busy areas safely. 

If you plan on hiring any kind of sailing boat, rowing boat, canoe, or motorboat to use on the sea, then you will need to contact your local council for a pleasure boat licence.

This licence will allow you to take up to 12 passengers and roam the specific areas that you have stated. 

It is important to enquire about the right licence for your trip from your council, as it is not only dangerous to go out without one, but you also risk being fined up to £1,000 for a lack of a licence – or for ignoring the terms of your licence. 

Do You Need a Boating License to Rent a Boat in the USA?

Thankfully, most states in the US do not require you to have a boat license in order to rent a vessel. 

However, some of them do have boating license requirements.

For example, you will need to obtain a boating license in Tennessee and Texas. 

That being said, even the states that do not ask for a boating license, do still have certain requirements that need to be met: 

  • Some states ask that you be at least 16 years old to rent a boat yourself and that under that age you must be accompanied by an adult of 18 to 21 years old, and older. 
  • Some states also require the boat operator to complete an approved boating safety course before being able to rent a vessel.
  • They will also need to carry proof (which could be in the form of a temporary certificate) on their person as they navigate. 
  • In some states, such as Massachusetts, Illinois, and Idaho, there are no minimum age requirements, nor is a licence or a boating safety course required. 

Either way, whether you need a license or not, it is always wise to take a boater education course, or at least a safety course to ensure that – not just you and your passengers – but that everyone on the water around you is safe.

No matter the vessel, knowing basic safety and first aid will go a long way, and will not limit your fun.

If anything, it will make it better by ensuring that your family, friends, and the other boaters around you stay safe during your trip.

See here for more information about the US rules on licencing.

What are The Requirements to Rent a Boat?

Depending on the country and state that you are in, you may have to meet:

  • certain age requirements
  • certain aptitude tests such as online courses
  • getting a boater education card
  • a boating safety education identification

And maybe other requirements specific to the region. 

The requirements for renting the boat will also depend on the rental company that you choose.

In order to meet their insurance policies, you may have to provide different documents stating that you have successfully completed certain courses, indicating that you can safely operate a boat. 

It will also depend on the watercraft that you are renting.

For example, you will not need the same certificates for renting a canoe as you would for renting a sailboat. 

In order to ensure that you are ready and able to rent a boat, ensure that you have checked the watercraft rental safety checklist, as well as the regulations set by the country, state, and company from which you will rent the boat.

You will be able to check the regulations for renting a boat on the company’s website, before going to the shop.


So, if you are interested in boat rentals for your upcoming holiday, then remember that a little bit of research will go a long way.

Even contacting your local council or state boating law administrators will help you to get the best, precise answers that you need to get a rental boat safely this year. 

It pays to obtain a boating license wherever possible to be safe, but at the very least, ensure you know basic first aid and boating safety before you take to the water.

You never know when lives may depend on it, and the coast guard isn’t always going to be around to help you.

In the best case, you will have the all-clear and be ready to go with what you’ve got. However, don’t fall foul of the law.

Whether you’re one of several recreational boaters taking to the water this year or not, keep an eye on what’s expected of you when you rent a boat.



Categories: Blog

Do You Need a Sailing License for A Sailboat? (Qualifications & Certifications)

Given just how big even a small pleasure craft can be and how dangerous it can be to sail anywhere, one would expect that there must be some kind of boater education card or at least a mandatory safety course as minimum requirements for sailing.

However, is there a need for a sailing license for a sailboat – or can you just take to the waves?

Legally, no, you do not need a sailing license to use a sailboat for recreational purposes in most countries. However, getting qualified might still be worth your while.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the sailing qualifications you should consider, and why you might need them. 

What Sailing Qualifications Do You Need? 

From a quick Google search, you will be able to deduce that nowhere does it say that you absolutely have to have a boating licence of any kind in order to sail a boat. Great news!

That being said, that does not mean that you should not get a license at all – as it can be beneficial for you for multiple reasons. 

First of all, of course, it is a great way to learn basic sailing techniques which will help you to sail easier, and much safer. That goes for not only you but also everyone on your boat and those around you.

As simple as sailing may look to some of us, it can be hazardous – even smaller sailing boats can quickly get into turmoil if they are mishandled.

Therefore, for your own safety and that of others, it is definitely best to have at least a few sailing lessons, even just from your local sailing club, to help you to understand the basics of control.

If that leads to a qualification, that can at least show you know what you’re doing!

However, having a sailing education will not only help to ensure your safety, it can also help to save you money.

Whether you have local competence certificates or an actual license, any proof that you have experience and an education in sailing a boat will help to lower your insurance rates.

As you can imagine, most insurance companies are not keen on covering boats that inexperienced people are sailing. These users are far more likely to get into accidents, get injured, or injure others.

Therefore, they are considered high risk, and some insurance carriers may not cover at all.

However, by being able to prove that you actually can control your boat, you are far more likely to get your sail boat insurance approved – and pay less, too.

Ever wondered if you need a boat survey to get insurance? Or what kind of boat insurance do you need? < Find out in our guides here.

Do You Need a Sailing License for A Sailboat blog post image

Do You Need a License to Sail Around the World? 

Generally speaking, no, you do not need a license to sail around the world. While there is no doubt that there are some countries in which boating licenses are a legal requirement, it’s not a given.

Even on sailing boats, these rules generally only apply to those living in that country, and not to those visiting. 

That being said, many charter companies require proof of a boating license before you can actually take helm of the boat.

Understandably, this ensures that the boats they loan out are in relatively good hands and, therefore, less likely to run into trouble.

So, if you plan on travelling around the world and renting boats in different areas, then chances are that you will need appropriate licences for each territory.

However, there are some countries in which the necessity for a boating license is a bit unclear.

While you may not be asked for one, it is best to check with the country and even the specific state or region that you plan on visiting in order to better prepare for your journey. 

When it comes to the legal definition of international waters, you have no need for a boat license.

However, again, taking at least a boat safety course is a good idea, especially if you plan on taking your boat around the world.

The Different Sailing Certifications and Licenses

Just because there are no sailing qualifications required to sail your own personal watercraft, having basic knowledge will be extremely beneficial for you.

For that, you could stick to entry-level lessons or learn more about maritime rules, first aid, and professional level sailing. 

Thankfully, there are a few different courses available, depending on what kind of level of recreational sailing you want to learn. If you’re in the UK, it’s worth getting in touch with the RYA, or Royal Yachting Association.

The RYA offers multiple tiers for budding sailors – even for those getting into commercial sailing, too.

First of all, there is RYA’s Tier One, beginner level sailing course.

During this course, you will learn how the boat moves, your basic navigation techniques, boating safety, and of course, some basic sailing lessons.

This kind of course should only take a few hours in one sitting, or can be spread across a few days. You will be with your instructor the entire time, and some will even come to teach you on your own boat if you have one

It’s also worth considering a certificate of competence from the RYA, or the American Sailing Association (in the US).

During the course in the UK, you will learn advanced navigation, safety procedures, night cruising techniques, maintenance, repairs, how to work the deck, emergency procedures and more.

This course can take up to five days to complete – however, it is not for everyone.

In the UK, you have to be at least sixteen years old, have basic knowledge about sailing, and have spent at least five days and four-nights on a sailboat. If you can prove all of this – go right ahead!

Finally, consider an international certificate of competence, too – if you plan on renting a boat or even sailing around the world on your own.

As the name suggests, it is recognised internationally, so you will not have to worry about potentially needing to provide a license when you port somewhere.

You will have to go through both a practical assessment and an ICC theory assessment (if applicable). During the practical assessment, you will go through engine checks, mooring, fires, first aid, confined handling, and man overboard procedures.

Then, during the theoretical assessment, you will work on buoyage, sound signals, international boating regulations, VHF radio and more. It can take between three to four weeks to complete the course and the ICC exam. 


If you are interested in using your sailboat for recreational use, then whether you plan on charting foreign waters or enjoying local boating, it is best to go through at least some sail training.

Ideally, it is best to work your way through all of the suggested courses above – including the internationally recognised ICC course – to gain the best sailing experience, ensuring that you are equipped for whatever you may come across. This should especially be the case if you are carrying passengers!

It is important to note that exam fees will vary depending on the country in which you are taking the course. ASA courses can even vary slightly depending on the state, too.

In any case – regardless of legal requirements, a boating safety course might be just the ticket to get you out into the wide blue yonder. Happy sailing!


RYA Training (UK)

ASA Training (US)



Categories: Blog

The Difference Between a Boat and Ship (Compared)

While most of us tend to use the terms boat and ship very loosely, the truth is that the two do not necessarily refer to the same things.

Of course, they both have the same concept of being vessels that float on water, there are, in fact, very big differences between different water vessels, differences which enable us to define them as either being boats or ships.

So, what are these differences? 

It’s all down to the size of a vessel and what it’s used for. For example, fishing boats are much more different in terms of size and scope compared to sailing ships!

So, let’s take a closer look at these differences and see what makes a boat a boat, and a ship a ship. This will also help you understand what kind of boat insurance you need.

A Ship Vs a Boat: What’s the Difference?

You’ll know if your ship is not a boat depending on size, areas of travel, cargo held, available crew, and equipment involved. Let’s go a little deeper.


The biggest difference between a ship and a boat that people tend to note is their size. An easy way to remember their difference is that ships can carry boats – but boats can’t carry ships.

While a boat can technically be a very large vessel, and most can carry other boats (such as kayaks, canoes, lifeboats, etc.), ships are in part built to carry other boats as well as heavy machinery, complicated equipment, a captain and crew, and more. 

To get technical, most seafarers refer to ships when they are at least 550 tons in weight.

Cargo capacity on a ship, of course, is therefore likely to be much larger than a boat’s.

Area of travel

Operational areas for boats and ships tend to vary. While some boats do travel across oceans, it is not common for them to do so. They tend to stick closer to their home coastlines, traversing small passages of water.

Ships, meanwhile, are built to take on the high seas, travel across deeper waters, and reach various countries around the world. 

They are commonly used by organizations such as the Royal Navy, or for delivering international cargo.

Ships are also built to traverse deep water – a boat sinks easily if you take it too far off the coastline. That’s why when a ship sinks, it’s normally got a very good reason!

Boats will take to inland waters – and while not all boats stay on shore, it’s rare you’ll see them taking to the sea.


While some boats can technically carry cargo, ships tend to carry a lot more and a lot farther. Boats generally aren’t built to carry extensive cargo – meaning large transfers and sea trading normally takes place on ships.

cargo boat - Difference Between Boat and Ship

Crew and demand

While some boats do indeed carry a small crew, especially if they are being used for commercial purposes, they vary wildly from ship crewing standards.

Naval ships, fishing vessels, and commercial vessels tend to have far bigger crews that are trained for different circumstances.

A ship spends months at sea at a time and has to face different kinds of challenges to those of boats, with crews that can spend up to a few weeks away from land.

Although both certainly have their challenges, ships tend to have bigger and more trained operatives on board.

Ships also demand their own ship’s captain in order to keep the crew in line and organised, whereas boats can be less strict. 

A boat’s captain, for example, may sometimes be the only crewman on board.


While boats can be used for different purposes, including for commercial reasons (such as fishing boats, tourism, etc.) and even rescue (lifeboats), boats are also commonly used for recreational purposes.

On the other hand, no one buys a ship for recreational purposes. They are largely used for commercial, military, trade and research purposes. 

The exception to the rule here is, of course, cruise ships – but these are large-scale commercial vessels.

How they work

This point is a little more complicated to define. While it isn’t the case for all boats, there are some smaller vessels that can move without engines at all, such as sailboats, canoes, kayaks, etc.

On the other hand, ships have a different propulsion system and need to be moved forward by very powerful engines.

Although one could argue that motorboats are not considered to be ships and yet have engines, this is a slight distinction between the two that is worth noting. 

When Is a Boat a Ship?

Again – there are no real set rules! Some suggest that a boat is a ship when it has three, square rigged masts, or when it’s over a weight of 550 tons, as mentioned above.

Generally, however, many people refer to any small vessel as a boat – regardless of purpose or intention.

If it has less complicated equipment, and fewer demands than your larger sailing vessel, it is likely to be a boat.

Types of Boats and Ships

Just when things couldn’t get more complicated(!), there are of course a variety of different boats and ships out there with specific roles and names.

Here are just a few of the more commonly used boats and ships you’re likely to have come across over time.



  • Cruise ships
  • Naval ships
  • Tankers
  • Carriers
  • Container ships
  • Offshore vessels
  • Other passenger ships
cruise ship standing - Difference Between Boat and Ship


So – what is the difference between a boat and a ship? It turns out there are plenty of distinctions – and it might not always be so easy to tell between the two definitions.

On the whole, you can expect a ship to be larger, to cover more distance, and to sail almost exclusively offland or offshore.

Boats, meanwhile, are much smaller and are likely to be recreational – and will usually stick to waterways onland (though bigger bluewater boats do make trips offshore).

We found this discussion on The Guardian interesting where people and boaters added their own definitions of what a boat and a ship is.

However, if you happen to mix up the two terms, then don’t worry – we can help you define your ship or boat, especially where boat insurance or commercial ship insurance implications are concerned.

As it happens, most people have no real idea that there is any difference between the two – but if you run a commercial vessel of any kind, it’s worth keeping aware of the key differences.

Need more information about boat or yacht insurance? Have a look below:




Categories: Blog

What Is Marine Insurance? Everything You Need to Know

If you’re running a business at sea and are importing and exporting goods, then you are going to need to consider marine cargo insurance – or, at least, marine insurance coverage.

This type of cover helps to not only protect your business and your customers’ interests, but also any stock you may be carrying, too.

However, the world of marine insurance can get a little complex.

Keep reading, and we’ll let you in on what you need to know about different marine insurance policies – and what marine insurance covers.

What Does Marine Insurance Mean?

A marine insurance policy is one which covers any form of business or professional operation involved in freight or cargo at sea.

An insurance provider offering this type of cover to ship owners will protect both vessels and cargo alike – meaning that you are effectively covered in the event of any loss or damage.

As you may imagine, the risk of either may end up costing you, any customers and professional partners dearly in the long run.

However, there are different types of marine insurance – there are policies that generally cover your goods, and others that focus on liability insurance.

Crucially, the aim of any kind of marine freight insurance is to protect you from escalating expenses, as well as from losing business over time, too.

What Does Marine Insurance Cover?

The average marine insurance policy covers plenty of ground. You’d normally expect a business or cargo voyage policy to cover:

  • Accidental damage to cargo
  • Marine risk – potential ship damage and deterioration
  • Capsizing and running aground
  • Hull insurance
  • Loss of goods / cargo
  • Weather or natural damage or loss
  • Cargo loading concerns
  • Theft
  • Malicious damage
  • Machinery insurance (breakdown cover, etc)
  • Third party liability
  • Physical damage in any shape or form
  • Partial loss and total loss when transporting goods

As a cargo owner or ship owner, if there is any risk to a loss of goods or to the structure and stability of your ship, it’s likely you will be able to find a policy that protects your interests.

In fact, insurance company policies will vary in terms of flexibility and scalability, meaning you may be able to add and subtract specific ‘tweaks’ to your policy as you see fit.

If you work in the marine industry, it’s also likely to will need to load on land as well as off land – meaning it’s worth researching the insurance market to see how you can cover your specific interests and intents.

What Are Some Examples of Marine Insurance?

It’s true – there are many different types of insurance policy that affect the marine industry.

No matter what you do – full shipping company operations to individual marine services, it pays to make sure you are insured against a variety of different risks.

Let’s take a look at how different types of marine insurance can provide coverage for your daily operations.

Liability Insurance

This type of marine policy will cover you should any collisions or accidents result in your liability.

For example, if you accidentally run a cargo boat or ship into rocks or even another vessel, you will expect to pay fees.

Liability insurance coverage will, variously, see that you have the financial backing to cover this potential scenario.

Providing you operate your vessels and ship cargo carefully, there are no reasons why liability insurance should ever be necessary.

However, as with other types of insurance policy, it makes sense to have a form of safety net in place should the worst case situation ever come to pass.

Third party liabilities covered by marine insurance allows for any costs you need to pay to other boat owners or cargo owners on route.

Should you be required to pay a plaintiff in court, for example, this policy will cover you as such.

What Is Marine Insurance blog post image

Freight Insurance

You’ll need to consider this type of marine insurance if you wish to protect the cost of goods that you transport.

Imagine that something happens to the stock you have on board that results in disappointment at the other end.

What if your customer’s goods are irreparably damaged or even lost (through theft or otherwise) while on route?

If the cargo you agree to ship doesn’t make its final destination for whatever reason, then it stands to reason that you will be expected to pay for the loss.

This type of marine insurance policy is also known as marine cargo insurance.

Of course, there are always likely to be individual clauses and points to keep in mind with this type of cover.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to look into what’s expected from you while in transit sailing under this policy style.

Hull / Risk Insurance

Of course, in any stretch of maritime or international trade, there is always likely to be a risk to your own hull – and your cargo vessels will need protection in case you happen upon an accident, or even a collision or malicious event that cause you severe damage, Repairing cargo ships is not a cheap business!

This type of marine insurance will, therefore, assess any damage caused to you and pay should you not be found liable for said problems.

For example, if your boat runs into oil pollution or other risk factors outside of your control, you may expect financial reparation.

Wreck removal, at the very worst, may come into play if your boat cannot be rescued at all.

Whichever marine trade you are involved in, you can trust your vessel with Velos. Start your boat insurance policy quote now by clicking on the quote button below:


Working in the shipping industry, you are unfortunately going to come across some dangers which makes marine trade insurance a must.

If you’re not operating in the US, you won’t have to worry about extensive cover such as inland marine insurance – but it’s crucial to make sure you are protected with a policy document to cover your boat, your crew, and any cargo you intend to carry from one end to another.

Ultimately, it could make all the difference between having to pay out hugely for unavoidable damage, and not at all.

Therefore, do always take time to research policies that stand to protect you.



Categories: Blog

What Kind of Boat Insurance Do I Need?

Are you considering looking into boat insurance cover?

While it may seem simple enough to arrange boat insurance coverage for any vessel, there are actually different types of boat insurance policy that cover different needs, wants and activities.

It’s important to know what different boat insurance policies offer before you take to the water.

Let’s take a look at what the main types of boat insurance policies are, and how they can support you.

Commercial Marine Boat Insurance

If you are running a vessel for business, then standard boat insurance policies won’t cover your needs and demands at sea.

For example, this type of cover includes liability insurance in the event of crew accident and ship repair.

Commercial marine insurance policies may also offer third party liability in some cases.

The right commercial boat insurance for your commercial marine operation can be tailored to the specific size of vessel you are running, too.

Inland Waterways Boat Insurance

If you’re planning to run a houseboat or canalboat down inland waterways, there are specific boat insurance costs you can pay to protect your vessel down smaller bodies of water.

For example, you could insure your boat against weather and temperature damage, accidental loss, fire, or personal accidents.

Crucially, if you’re going to run a boat down canals or rivers, you’re going to need your insurance company to cover you specifically for non-sea use.

Yacht Insurance (Pleasure Crafts)

Pleasure craft or yacht insurance coverage comes in handy if you intend to sail a personal watercraft for cruising, racing, or watersports.

In some cases, you may not need this type of boat insurance quote to cover a yacht outright. It’s worth checking specific boat insurance requirements with your chosen carrier.

In most cases, you’ll need boat insurance for these vessels that cover personal accident, fire and explosion, malicious attack, theft, third party incidents and more.

You can also add extra cover for racing, too.

Bluewater Yacht Insurance

Bluewater yacht insurance generally covers those vessels that are likely to head out into the wide blue yonder!

If you’re going to sail your yacht or pleasure vessel into the Atlantic or to explore the Pacific, this cover is going to be your best port of call.

Many carriers will protect you in international waters, meaning it’s worthwhile checking which type of yacht your prospective bluewater insurance cover protects you for.

Super Yacht Insurance

A super yacht insurance policy is likely to go further than most.

Super yachts are almost like luxury holiday homes on water – in which case, boat insurance rates can cover you for up to millions of pounds in potential claims!

These insurance policies will cover you for accidental loss, malicious attack, machinery freeze and more.

Again, the exact liability coverage will vary with the carrier you sign up with.

Marine Trade Insurance

Marine trade insurance is a little different to the third party insurance policies and cover you’ll find for standalone vessels.

These policies will protect your marine business on land as a fixture – for example, you may run a sailing club, or a marina in your local area.

What Kind of Boat Insurance Do I Need blog post image


How do boat insurances differ?

Comprehensive cover for one type of boat might not be relevant for another – for example, running a houseboat down a canal will require inland waterway insurance, which won’t cover you for a diesel powered boat, for example, in the open sea!

As a responsible boat owner, it’s mainly important to choose the adequate financial protection for your type of vessel, where you’re sailing, and who may be impacted by your activities.

Beyond that, many different types of boat insurance policy cover familiar ground.

For example, you can expect to receive protection against a potential boating accident, frost cover, accidental damage, loss of personal items, bodily injury liability, etc.

Is It a Legal Requirement to Have Boat Insurance?

In the UK, it’s not a legal requirement to run a boat.

However, boat insurance claims will protect you in the event of damage to your own boat, or to someone else’s property.

If you run a business, too, you can expect financial cover to help with salvage costs, boat management fees and other potential costs.

Ultimately, an uninsured boater is likely to be at significant risk of high fees and costs should the worst happen – an accident involving another vessel, for example, or if they lose personal items.

What’s more, comprehensive coverage will support those running businesses at sea – whose livelihoods may be impacted greatly by service interruption or unexpected costs.

Do I Need Insurance for A Small Boat?

It’s a good idea to insure any boat you intend to run, for personal or professional reasons.

While vessel insurance is not like car insurance (in that the latter is a legal requirement), insuring even a small boat will protect you against potential costs of repair and replacement should something go wrong.

If you don’t have enough actual cash to pay for potential damage, it makes sense to protect yourself with a safety net.

How much do different types of boat insurance cost?

The price you pay for different types of boat coverage will vary depending on a few different factors.

For example, the actual cash value of your boat, where you intend to sail, what you intend to use your vessel for – all will have direct impacts on the price you pay.

Consider, too, that the costs you pay will likely vary from insurance agent to insurance agent.

What’s more, add-on services such as hull insurance, additional coverage for medical payments, etc – all will likely increase the price you pay in premiums.

Whether you own a yacht, sailboat, pleasure craft, motorboat, or a commercial boat or marine trade, you can trust your vessel with Velos. Start your boat insurance policy quote now by clicking on the quote button at the top of this page.


The unfortunate reality of running any kind of boat is that you are at risk of property damage, accidents and more.

While it’s not a legal requirement to set up boat insurance, choosing the right insurance policy will ensure that you have financial recourse to recover from the worst possible case scenarios.

Take your time to look through different policies and types – and be sure to protect yourself and your interests for the years to come!



Categories: Blog

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