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COVID-19 guidelines for marine brokerages

Published on: 17 February 2021

COVID-19 guidelines for marine brokerages

It has come to British Marine’s attention that there have been some instances of leisure marine boat brokers continuing to arrange physical viewings with clients onboard vessels and we would like to remind our members of the current guidelines and applicable law.
 
British Marine’s interpretation of the current lockdown guidance with reference to brokers is as follows:
 
Brokerage – brokerages are non-essential retail and must shut to the members of the public, and employees must work from home where possible. Enquiries can still be taken and virtual viewings given however, there must be no physical viewings or meetings with clients. Brokers can continue to visit vessels alone, where they have access to the vessel without meeting the client, to take pictures etc. 

However, brokers can continue to sell houseboats/residential moorings and vessels as long as they are being sold as the customer's primary place of residence, this includes having COVID secure physical viewings (please see guidance for estate agents). If brokers are undertaking these viewings they must also check that the site that the vessel is situated at allows for this under their COVID rules and follow all protocols that the site has in place. It will be down to the brokers to obtain proof that is the intended purpose of the sale.
 
The law is laid out by SI 2020 1374 as amended and can be found here. Part 3 of the regulations details that businesses that must close.
 
Further to the above the general public cannot leave home without a reasonable excuse and viewing vessels is not included as a reasonable excuse.
 
The Police and other authorities have been granted additional powers to target businesses and people that are not complying with the law. 
 
In order for the marine industry to be able to restart at the earliest opportunity when the Government eases restrictions, it is essential that all follow the current law and guidelines.