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Quality Accredited Boatyard Scheme

Quality Schemes for hire and passenger boat operators

British Marine has teamed up with Visit England to deliver a range of quality accreditation schemes that set standards defining good practice for those in the tourism business.

Each scheme (Quality Accredited Boatyard Scheme and the Boat Grading Scheme) acts as a business development tool, by providing clear objectives required in operating quality hire boat operations and the promotional benefits of an official quality logo.

British Marine operate the schemes under licence from VisitEngland.

A team of industry assessors recruited by British Marine and trained by VisitEngland and British Marine undertake the QAB and Boat Grading assessments.

The Quality Accredited Boatyard Scheme (QAB)

Gaining accreditation through the QAB Scheme indicates that hire boat operators are committed to quality, providing recognition for their hire boat operations, and giving potential customers a label they can trust.  The schemes provide clear expectations to customers when they are booking their hire boat experience. The clear criteria operators are assessed against provides a method of benchmarking, and can assist operators develop their businesses.

The Quality Accredited Boatyard Scheme is not a star rating scheme, but is an accreditation.  

The QAB assessments are carried out every three years with random inspection during the 3 year cycle. 

QAB assessment criteria includes:

  • Health and safety.
  • Legal requirements.
  • The Hire Boat Handover scheme.
  • Assessment of an operator's website and brochure.
  • Arrival and departure procedures.
  • Customer service procedures – onshore and when customers are away from the boatyard.
  • Boatyard facilities; car parking, reception, toilets, etc.

The scheme overview can be downloaded here

All British Marine members offering hire boats are required to be accredited under the QAB scheme

Boat Grading/star rating

The Boat Grading Scheme, is optional, and involves assessment of individual boats against defined criteria with star ratings of one to five.  A boatyard/operator will only be able to have boats star rated if a valid QAB rating is held.  However, a boatyard/operator with a QAB rating may choose not to have boats star rated, or just some of the fleet. Boats will need to be graded annually to remain within the scheme.

The star rating for boats have minimal criteria requirements and are based largely on the quality and condition of the individual boat and also the comfort and ease of use for the maximum number of occupants.

How to get involved

Documentation of both schemes can be requested from

For QAB, companies are asked to complete and return a Boatyard QAB Self Analysis and Assessor Report Form prior to an audit taking place.  The Self Analysis form should be completed electronically and emailed to with the completed booking form and other associated information. The information that is returned to British Marine is reviewed and forwarded to an assessor who will arrange to conduct an audit on a mutually convenient date. 

Please see the booking booking form and terms of business for further details of the costs and other information that is required to undertake a QAB.

If you are a British Marine member download the standards or contact who can provide further information.

Non members should contact for further information about these schemes.