Note: This article attempts to summarise, for ease of reference, all the relevant SAS and SAMSA requirements for sailing vessels >9m in length on the Vaal. Please refer to the SAS and SAMSA websites for authoritative, current and accurate information regarding this matter since the source information may change at any time.
The Merchant Shipping (National Small Vessel Safety) Regulations of 2007 as amended require that all sailing vessels >9m in length undergo an annual inspection to ensure that minimum safety requirements are maintained. Regardless of the debate [here and here] that continues to rage around this issue [why >9m only? and Why do we need regulation when the foremost nautical countries in the world have a voluntary system in place ? etc] it’s a legal requirement and if you want to stay on the right side of the law it needs doing.
So here’s a summary of what you need to do:
- Your vessel needs to be registered with SAS. “In order to get a Certificate of Fitness from South African Sailing (SAS) you need to list your yacht under your name on the SAS database. Listing requires proof of ownership as described on the application form.”
- Once your vessel is registered and has an SA listing number, you need to book an inspection. The first step in this process is to pay SAS for the survey. Based on where you keep and use your yacht, you would select the correct category. For a yacht based on the Vaal there is no need to do anything other than Category-R which covers inland and sheltered waters. At time of writing the cost for this is R530.
- Once payment has been made you can arrange a survey with a Safety Officer or Safety Surveyor. At the Vaal this means Manten Marina and their agents. The suggested route is to liase with Daphne Kasselman [+27 (0)11 824 2402, firstname.lastname@example.org] first and then arrange with Dicky Manten [+27 (0)83 626 5128, email@example.com] .
- Once the CoF is issued it’s valid for a year, after which the process needs to be repeated.
There are some SAMSA checklists to allow you to prepare for this inspection. Obviously, it’s in the owners best interest to ensure that the vessel meets the requirements before engaging with the surveyor/inspector, otherwise you will have to repeat the exercise, and possibly end up incurring additional costs in the process.
Once you have the vessel CoF, remember to keep the following documents on board at all times:
- Vessel’s CoF
- Vessel’s SAS Certificate of Listing
- Skipper’s Certificate of Competence [eg SAS Day Skipper]
- Skipper’s VHF operators licence [if the vessel has a VHF radio]
- Vessel’s VHF station licence
While the debate may still rage as to whether the authorities should be enforcing this or not, the prudent skipper would, without a doubt, comply to the basic safety requirements for his craft and passengers. So, in theory, your vessel should already meet all the requirements. The only additional step is to part with some cash and have an appointed expert issue confirmation of this.
I haven’t yet done this for the new old boat but will certainly return and update this post on the practicalities and inevitable challenges encountered once I have first-hand experience……