How Cost Estimation is done for Ship’s Dry Dock?

Preparing a ship for a dry dock is not at all an easy task. A lot of planning is required in order to ensure smooth repairing work along with optimum ship repair cost.

Every ship undergoes major repairing work during dry-dock period. Though there are several intermediate docking surveys and repairs scheduled in between, a five yearly dry dock is the one which involves major revamping of the ship.

Needless to say, dry dock is an expensive process which requires systematic and efficient planning and cost estimation to minimize overhead costs along with other unnecessary spending.

dry docking

Cost estimation plays an important role in order to keep a check on a ship’s dry docking budget and to ensure a sensible quotation for the whole repair work. There are three important aspects of ship repair cost estimation:

  • Cost Groups
  • Cost Parameter
  • Work Breakdown Structure

Let’s take a look at each of these aspects in detail.

Cost Groups:

Cost grouping in an integral part of cost estimation wherein the whole repairing process is divided into parts for the ease of cost quotation and work completion within the stipulated time. Cost groups also help to divide and assign work to different segments of the repair yard and to get individual quotation for each one of them, making the whole process smoother and manageable.

Cost grouping is mainly done on the basis of ship’s department. For e.g. deck, engine, electrical etc. Details of things included in each of these department are as follows:

Engine Room

  • Main engine and propulsion machinery
  • Boilers
  • Engine room tanks
  • Auxiliary Machinery
  • IG System


  • Accommodation area
  • Navigation equipment
  • Anchor and deck machinery
  • Cargo gear
  • Hull, rudder and tail shaft
  • Cargo tanks, fuel tanks ,ballast tanks , and slop tanks


  • Controls and automated systems
  • Instrumentation jobs


  • Motors
  • Panels
  • PLC’s
  • Main Bus Bar modification

Electrical jobs in all areas of the ship

Cost grouping is an excellent way to stream line the process of cost estimation and to avoid errors related to costing while planning a dry dock.

Cost Parameters

Cost parameter is an aspect of cost estimation which defines the total number of elements that are to be included for the final project cost. Cost parameters specify the limit and scope of activity during the repair work.

Cost parameters help in analyzing the scope of the work and also helps in considering each and every aspect taken into consideration for the dry dock.

Examples of cost parameters are:

  • Dry docking fees and repair yard cost
  • Agency cost
  • Classification surveyors’ cost
  • Cost of the stores
  • Repair and maintenance cost
  • Damage repair cost
  • Cost of necessary spares

Work Breakdown Structure

Work breakdown structure is an extension of cost grouping which further helps in distribution of jobs and procuring cost estimation for each job.
dry docking management

Work breakdown structure helps estimating the time needed for whole process, including period of repair, dry docking period and lead time. It helps to figure out additional job quotations that would be required during the repair work. Based upon these parameters, quotations are asked for repair and spare from different agencies/yards, and eventually the best suited quotation is selected.

The work breakdown structure also helps the chief engineer to decide what all jobs can be handled by the ship’s staff within the stipulated time in order to save repair costs. This eventually helps in making the final quotation that is to be sent to ship yards.

A general breakdown of the structure would include

Engine room

  • Maine engine and turbine
  • Jobs on auxiliary machinery including generators, auxiliary condensers, steering system and engine room pumps and pipes.
  • Work on auxiliary boiler without re-tubing
  • Boiler survey, soot blowers, and chemical cleaning
  • IG System
  • COP control and valves
  • Safety equipment
  • Radio and navigation equipment
  • Machinery and instrumentation controls
  • Electrical work including motors and switch boards

Deck Side

  • General expenses
  • Anchor and chain
  • Hull anodes and sea chests
  • Tail shaft
  • Painting
  • Steel / shell
  • Ballast tanks internal inspection / survey & anodes
  • Accommodation
  • Cargo gear, deck machinery
  • COP and stripper pumps
  • Tank washing machines and pipes
  • Hydraulic pipes and valves
  • Steel damage

By taking all the three parameters mentioned above into consideration, optimum ship repair cost estimation can be reached using the resources and manpower available on board ship.

Image Credit: zebecmarine

You may also like to read – What is Extended Dry-Docking of Ships?

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About Author

An ardent sailor and a techie, Anish Wankhede has voyaged on a number of ships as a marine engineer officer. He loves multitasking, networking, and troubleshooting. He is the one behind the unique creativity and aesthetics at Marine Insight.


  1. Is it normal for a 5 year Dry Dock Expenditures amounting to USD 2.3 M for a vessel of 37,500 DWT

  2. An unscheduled job is over-priced by the yard giving numerous reasons like revamping crew,equipment etc. So when entering dry dock , the repair list should be full and final and with the attending superintendent.

  3. As per your studies, please suggest what is the proportion of costs of Paint material, Surface Preparation, Labor & Scaffolding in a typical dry dock with Cargo Holds + Hull painting.

    A great introductory article. Saving a PDF for my reference.

  4. What is the estimated cost for painting of scratch marks on hull over an area of 100 sq. meter

  5. I am planning to set up a ship breaking yard And hoping to go for a dry dock can you advice me on how many tons dry dock I should purchase. We are going to break maximum 15,000tons vesels.

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