If you are operating a vessel on the South African waters, you will require a Skipper’s License (also known as Skipper’s Ticket) to do so legally. In official terms, the skipper’s license by SAMSA is called the ‘National Small Vessel Certificate of Competency’. In this article, we will mainly talk about methods of obtaining a Skippers license in South Africa and its validity.

If you are looking for skipper’s license categories, check out this article instead!

Interim Skippers License Validity

An interim or temporary Skipper’s License is the license issued by the examiner upon successfully completing your exam. This license is valid for 6 months only. So, within this time frame, you have to obtain a permanent license from the SAMSA itself. Usually, SAMSA does the procedure and sends you the license within the temporary duration.

However, for further information, always consider staying in touch with your examiner. They will help you out throughout the process to make sure your experience is a breeze. In rare cases the examiner may tell you to contact SAMSA directly (or you can do so if your examiner does not take responsibility for this, which is rare). Keep your ID handy while contacting SAMSA and they will update you on the status of your permanent skippers’ license.

Permanent Skippers’ License Validity

A permanent skipper’s license has lifetime validity. If you have a permanent license, you are allowed to operate pleasure vessels specified within your category of license.

To get the most out of your Skippers’ license, you should consider upgrading it. You will start from the most basic category R or E and climb the ladder from there. To give you an overview, there are five categories of a SAMSA Skipper’s License.

  1. Category R: A Skippers license that exclusively allows you to motor on inland water bodies only.
  2. Category E: The most basic day skipper license in South Africa. Allows you to handle a powerboat on the sea as well as on inland water bodies. You can go within 1 nautical mile from the shore with this license.
  3. Category C: This is an upgrade to the Category E license. With this license, you can go deeper into the sea – up to 15 nautical miles from the shorelines.
  4. Category B: This license will allow you to sail up to 40 nautical miles into the sea.
  5. Category A: Removes the nautical miles restriction.

For detailed information, please refer to getting a Skipper License in South Africa.

Getting a SAMSA Skippers’ License with Sail and Power SA

If you are looking for a marine institution to prepare you for your SAMSA Skippers’ exam, Sail and Power can help you out. We are a reputed marine institution in Cape Town, South Africa having over 30 years of experience in the industry.

We mainly assist with Category R, Category E, and Category C licenses.We also cover the VHF/SRC Radio course and Navigation Theory Training for Category C license.

We have developed our modules to make your experience safer for you and others. Our theory and practical courses will empower you for your skipper’s exam as well as for the real world. And the main advantage of taking these courses is that you also get 25 hours of sea time logged under your name.

We have three packages prepared for our candidates based on experience and logged sea hours.

a. Package 1: Experienced Boaters (Seasoned experience; 100+ hours sea time) 

This package includes an SRC Radio course, a theory course that includes navigation and chartwork (Cat C only), and a SAMSA Skippers and SRC Radio exam.

For categories R and E, this will cost you R2500 for courses (incl. Radio Course) and exam R2500. Category C course will cost you R3200 and exam R2500.

b. Package 2: Casual Boaters (Boaters with some experience, 50+ hours sea time)

This package gives practical boating knowledge along with necessary theory knowledge, SRC Radio, Skippers Theory, and SAMSA Skippers and SRC Radio exams. For Category C, there is an extra day dedicated to the navigation course.

For categories R and E, it will cost R3700 incl. of Radio Course and exam is a constant of R2500 in fees. Category C package will cost you R4900 incl. of Radio Course.

c. Package 3: Novice Boaters (Incl. 25 hours sea time) 

This program is for those who are completely novice boaters or they need to polish up their skills to get back into the game. This course will handle 3 days of practical boating, 2 days of navigation course (for Category C license only), SRC Radio Course, Skippers’ Theory, and SAMSA Skippers and SRC Radio Exams.

As this course covers every basic corner of the boating for Category R, E, and C license, it is the most expensive module amongst the three. Category R or E would cost you R6100 and Category C course will cost you R7300.


A Skipper’s License in South Africa has two types, interim (temporary) and permanent. The temporary license is issued by the examiner and has a validity of 6 months. During this process, SAMSA will also issue a permanent Skipper’s License for you, which has a validity of a lifetime.

Sail and Power SA can help you obtain a Skipper’s License in South Africa and help you throughout the process. All you have to do is choose a suitable course package, take the course, and pass the exam. We will manage the rest. For more information, contacting us today!