The influence of collisional damping and the radial electron density profile on the characteristics of the wave propagation as well as on the radial distribution of the electric field of electromagnetic surface waves is studied. The discussion is mostly addressed to the situation of surface wave plasmas in the RF frequency range in a strongly collisional case. Some aspects of the influence of the collisional damping on the wave propagation, particularly in view of diagnostic applications, are discussed. The range of validity of the ’thin cylinder approximation’ in the collisional case is compared with predictions of the collisionless theory. Furthermore the possibility of the occurrence of a resonant field enhancement as the position of a local plasma resonance under microwave conditions is pointed out.