Boating News

This Boating News page is a new platform dedicated to focus primarily on SAMSA activities related specifically to boating in South Africa.

These will include boating production and utilisation, law and regulations, education and skills development, as well as notices on workshops conducted by SAMSA countrywide on these and related matters.


Pretoria: 05 November 2021

SAMSA trainee Marine Officers getting their grips on boat surveys. A report from the ground, by Esethu  Hlokoza, Khanyisile Mthethwa and Taro Lombard

(Two weeks ago, this blog introduced to its readers a group of three young seafarers at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) currently undergoing training as Marine Officers over a two year period. The programme launched by SAMSA this year identifies and seeks to groom young talented South Africa seafarers below CoC Unlimited (Master Mariner) level through broad exposure in its onshore activities related to particularl small vessels safety in order to broaden their understanding as well as maritime technical skills. In a brief online video chat, the three trainee Marine Officers – Mr Tora Lombard of Cape Town (Western Cape), Mr Esethu Hlokoza of Libode (Eastern Cape) and Ms Khanyisiwe Mthethwa of Durban (KwaZulu-Natal) outlined both their seafaring experience to date, their interest and expectations of the Marine Officer Development Programme as well as their oulook on maritime technical skills broadly.

To listen to that brief video chat, click on the video.

However notably, during that brief chat the trainee MOs also undertook to share regularly with this blog their experiences of their training along with insights gained. Below, is their second report.

October has been another good month with exposure to various aspects of working for the South African Maritime Safety Authority, from new builds to maritime search and rescue.

SAMSA Trainee Marine Officers. October 2021

New Build of a Passenger Catamaran

A new build process of a vessel can be a very long and tedious one. However it has a lot to offer in terms of knowledge on the design and building process of a new vessel and how it ties in with SAMSA.

The month of October gave us this opportunity on a passenger catamaran. We were given a good oversight on these processes and how the design is to tie in with the regulations set out. Passenger vessels have very strict building requirements that must be adhered to, to ensure the safety of life at sea.

Communication between the stakeholders involved in the new build process and SAMSA plays quite a big role in its success, with as little delays a possible

Material Design

When surveying a vessel, it is beneficial to be aware of the design characteristics of certain materials. We have visited various engineering workshops involved with the service and repair of marine propellers, shafts and rudders.

These workshops have a lot of years of experience and knowledge to share with us. Here we have been exposed to the various material types, how to identify them and how the characteristics of these materials tie in with their use on a ship.

As a surveyor, it would be good to share our exposure and what we have learned with the various stakeholders while out on survey, to give them an understanding as to why it is important to have regular inspections carried out and why having the correct materials in place is so beneficial.

Auditing of External Surveyors

SAMSA has external surveyors that directly report to them. They help SAMSA in its mandate of ensuring safety of life at sea, the environment whilst ensuring that the boats comply with local general safety regulations for safe operations.

These external surveyors cover all waterways that SAMSA otherwise cannot get easy access to and they are appointed by the Principal officer of that region and report directly to him/ her.

These external surveyors must be audited by the principal officer (PO) for that region of operation. We have had an opportunity to experience this process with PO Antoinette Keller during an audit carried out in Strand at one of our external surveys.

The process went seamlessly as there was a positive interaction between the external surveyor and the auditor.

Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC)

SAMSA’s three Marine Officer trainees; (Front, from Left Mr Esethu Hlokoza, Mr Taro Lombard and Ms Khanyisiwe Mthethwa with MRCC officials

During the 2nd week of October, we attended an introductory course on Search & Rescue at SAMSA’s Sea Watch & Rescue Centre incorporating the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre (MRCC) located in Cape Town. The MRCC is fully functional and operates 24/7 with the focus primarily on the safety of life and property at sea and which essentially involves the monitoring and constant evaluation of maritime safety information.

We got to learn what processes are followed once there is an incident at sea ranging from emergency evacuation to distress at sea, and how vessels are utilized to assist in emergencies especially pertaining to life safety. We got to also understand the relationship between Cape Town Radio and MRCC in terms of sharing information to facilitate assistance to vessels at sea

Marine Officers’ Training In Perspective

The SAMSA Marine Officer trainees are undergoing a maritime technical skills development schedule encompassing among others; theoretical and practical training in a wide range of areas inclusive of small vessel safety and surveying. For a broader and richer experience, led by senior and experienced SAMSA officers, among them lead trainer, Captain Jonathan Hartzenberg, this will entail their rotational periodic travel across the country to experience work with different sized and varied use vessels at all the country’s major ports and in some cases, small harbours as well as inland water spaces where boating activity takes place.

In the video below Capt. Hartzenberg and SAMSA Centre for Boating Manager, Ms Debbie James explain both the nature of the development programme as will its goals and objectives:


South Africa’s launch of its Internal Waters Strategy in October 22, a watershed moment towards effective and efficient management of the country’s inland waters, inclusive of dams as well as rivers.

South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

The launch of South Africa’s Internal Water Strategy by the Department of Transport (DoT) along with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on Friday, 22 October 2021 at the Lake Deneys Yacht Club marked a critical turning point in terms of efforts to manage effectively and efficiently the use of the country’s internal water spaces, comprising mainly rivers and dams for boating related activities.

That is according to SAMSA’s Centre for Boating Manager, Ms Debbie James, who along with senior officials of the agency inclusive of the Acting CEO, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane and Deputy Chief Operations Officer, Captain Vernon Keller; attended the event on the banks of the Vaal Dam.

Of particular interest and significance to SAMSA about the IWS is the formalisation of a legal framework for cooperative governance with various other authoritative structures in both government, the private sector and civil society in terms of collective action in efforts to improve conditions of inland water spaces use by the public.

For SAMSA, according to Ms James, is the need for expansive implementation of the boating regulations provided for in the IWS- linked Merchant Shipping (National Small Vessel Safety) Regulations 2007. In the video below, she outlines SAMSA’s perspective on the matter:

In the video below, Capt. Vernon Keller also weighed in briefly about the signiticance of the event in terms of boating and people ‘s safety on South Africa’s inland waters.