Contrary to popular belief, the tonnage of a yacht has nothing to do with how much it weighs.
It is, in fact, a measure of a vessels ability to carry cargo. This is because, historicaly, fees and taxes were calculated based on a vessels cargo load. Originally it was the number of barrels (tuns) of oil or wine that a vessel could carry. Over the years the term "tunnage" has changed to tonnage. However, it is still essentially the measurement of the internal volume of a vessel with allowances made for tankage, machinery and ships stores.
The surveyor will takes some critical measurement and note essential details of the vessel, then send a report to the relevant authority who will issue the tonnage certificate. This document is required for part 1 British registration.