Published on: 04 November 2020The UK Government, on 5 November, will bring into force new legislation with regards to a national lockdown period to combat the spread of COVID-19. The effects on the marine industry are still not 100% clear and the following has been ascertained by the Yacht Brokers Designers and Surveyors Association (YBDSA) further to consultation with the appropriate Government departments and in consultation with British Marine.
The full Statutory Instrument as laid before Parliament can be found here.
For those who are unable to work from home, they may continue to travel to work but should avoid unnecessary travel where possible. For boat brokerages, this industry is listed within the regulations as being one that is either restricted or should be closed as a non-essential industry. The restrictions in place for the industry are such that businesses may remain open if only responding to orders or order queries either through a website or otherwise by on-line communication, by telephone or by post.
The YBDSA understand that this would allow a broker to respond to a query to a listing on their website and show the vessel to a prospective buyer provided it is all done electronically or virtually. Boat brokerages and their offices should not be open to the public.
General members of the public are unable to leave their home unless for work or for a limited number of specific reasons. Purchasing a boat for private use is not one of those reasons and therefore boat sales for recreational purposes should be considered to be carried out virtually. Purchasing a boat as part of a work venture could be considered as part of work and therefore a vessel being purchased for commercial use by a member of the company looking to commission the vessel for their business purpose may be permitted.
Similarly, a vessel for sea trials if going into commercial use would be considered to be an area of work that cannot be reasonably done from home. A vessel on sea trials for recreational purposes would not be permitted with the prospective purchasers onboard.
For surveyors, the information is a little easier to decipher in that they cannot reasonably carry out their work from home and therefore may attend a vessel. Surveyors are advised to contact the boatyard or marina they are visiting in advance to ensure that they comply with any local health and safety requirements that the boatyard or marina may have in place. A surveyor working on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency via a Certifying Authority may continue to work with minimum restrictions.
The full guidance can be found here.