Certificate of Fitness and other legal requirements

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:

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……

 

 

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About clewless

s/v Ocean Blue Another step closer to being far, far away........
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