Boating in South Africa is a pleasant experience for many. However, just because it is leisure, does not mean there will not be emergencies. That is why the SAMSA authorities require you to carry certain appliances and equipment onboard. Each Category E boat must have certain equipment onboard before you hit the sea. In this article, we will talk about the necessary safety equipment for a Category E boat in South Africa.

Safety Equipment for a Category E Boat in South Africa

SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Agency) requires a Category E boat to carry certain equipment onboard. Let’s take a look.

Approved Buoyancy Aid

Every category E vessel requires approved buoyancy aid, such as life jackets. Your buoyancy aid must have, a whistle, a lifting loop, and retro-reflective material.

In cases of PFDs (Personal Floating Device), SAMSA strongly insists that every child under 12 on deck must always wear a PFD. Also, you must wear PFDs when: the skipper instructs you, if you are engaging in water skiing activities, or when you are launching or returning to the surf.

While it is not necessary, SAMSA strongly advises all recreational vessel operators and other people onboard to wear a PFD at all times whilst on the water.

And, if you are operating at night, SAMSA recommends having an approved light on your PFDs. In case of emergencies at night, these lights can help spot survivors in the water.

Waterproof Torch, Spare Batteries, and a Spare Bulb

If your vessel is operating at night, SAMSA requires you to keep a waterproof torch, spare batteries, and a spare bulb onboard. You must keep this equipment in a watertight container.

Suitable Approved Fire Extinguishers

Each Category E vessel in South Africa requires at least one approved fire extinguisher per engine. Firefighting equipment requires annual servicing from SAMFAS (South African Maritime Code of Practice for Marine Fire Service Stations) Stations.

For a list of approved SAMFAS stations in South Africa, take a look here: Marine Notice 5 of 2017.

Two Oars or Paddles

If your vessel only has a single outboard engine, SAMSA requires the vessel to keep 2 oars and paddles onboard.

Patented Anchor

A patented anchor and chain with a suitable length of rope for the area of operation. The anchor chain must be at least 5 metres in length for vessels of 6 metres and above, or at least 3 metres for vessels under 6 metres in length.

SAMSA-Approved Self-Inflating Life-Rafts

SAMSA requires a Category E vessel to have an inflatable life raft in case the vessel has no in-built buoyancy. The life raft must be SAMSA-approved, and capable of carrying everyone in the vessels.

First-Aid Kit

SAMSA mandates that each boat must have a first-aid kit in cases of medical emergencies. Physical accidents can happen anywhere and anytime. Your first-aid kit should at least help stabilise the victim until actual medical help arrives.

According to SAMSA requirements, the kit should be suitable for the vessel’s size and should be sufficient for the intended operation. The surveyor or the inspection officer must approve the first-aid kit. And lastly, the kit must include an elementary first-aid manual.

Have you ever taken a basic First-Aid course? This one-day educational course can come in handy in such emergencies.

Spares and Tools

In some emergencies, you may need to perform emergency boat repairs. Thus SAMSA requires category E boats to have sufficient spares and tools onboard.

Final Words

All life jackets, buoyancy aids, life buoys, flares, oars, paddles, and life rafts require your vessel’s name as a marking. In this article, we have only covered the key highlights of the safety equipment a Category E boat should carry in South Africa. However, for a full checklist, we highly recommend having a go at the Safety Survey Checklist for Category E Commercial and Pleasure Vessels.

If you require a Category E skipper’s ticket in South Africa, Sail and Power SA can help you out. With our experience spanning over three decades in the marine industry, we would be more than happy to help you become a skipper in South Africa. Contact us for more information.