Surveys during the coronavirus pandemic

Published: 23 May 20

Covid-19 guidelines for surveyors and clients on the conduct of boat surveys

The Yacht Designers and Surveyors Association – as a professional association for yacht designers and surveyors in the UK – provides these guidelines for surveyors and their clients as everyone needs to continue to take great care.  A boat cabin is a small enclosed space.  Even though some easing of restrictions has started in some areas of the UK and overseas we all need to ensure we don’t create a second wave.  Our guidance therefore applies to all involved in the survey process so we keep you safe too.

Bear in mind a boat survey is totally different to a house survey due to the constricted spaces.

Neither the seller nor buyer should turn up for the survey as the surveyor should be alone onboard.  If they, or their representative, comes on board the surveyor is within his rights to abort the survey.

Our surveyors are advised to allow 72 hours from when someone was last on the boat, giving any pathogens time to die.  They will need contact with either the seller, marina or broker to find out when the boat will be available and check that no-one has been on board in the last 72 hours.  The surveyor will liaise with them about collecting the key.  Our surveyors are advised to use gloves to pick up the key in case it has not been disinfected and agree how they will return it and advise when they have left the boat.


When organising a survey the surveyor should:

  • Discuss the survey requirements with the buyer/client in the usual way
  • Book a date and time with the yard, marina or broker
  • If you need the boat lifted book a time slot – not all yards currently have crane operators working and some need additional H&S details at the present time
  • If the boat is ashore and you are unable to take your own ladder, discuss this with the yard
  • Maintain a 2m social distance from anyone else on the premises
  • Take and wear gloves and a protective face covering
  • Take a bottle of water as you may not be able to buy one
  • Take a bottle of sanitiser or anti-bac wipes
  • Consider putting a sign by the ladder such as: ‘Surveyor Aboard. No entry’
  • Advise the broker, marina or yard when you are leaving


  • Allow anyone else on board during your survey
  • Handle the keys or other yard equipment such as a borrowed ladder without gloves
  • Forget to let the broker, marina or yard know you are leaving

TOP TIP FROM A SURVEYOR - wear an eye guard so you don’t touch your eyes inadvertently.



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