Boating safety campaign underway nationally on Transport Month: SAMSA

Two of several passenger water vessels inspected by SAMSA surveyors during launch of the Gauteng leg of the National Small Vessels Concentrated Inspection Campaign by SAMSA at the Vaal River on Saturday 01 October 2022

Pretoria: 06 October 2022

Efforts by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and partners to spread countrywide the promotion of small vessels safety on all South Africa’s water spaces, at sea and inland, continues at pace this month, with focus on Gauteng’s major dams, including the Vaal and Haartebeespoort.

According to SAMSA, the Concentrated Inspections Campaign for small vessels safety promotion in the region, scheduled to coincide with the country’s Transport Month – an initiative of the Department of Transport (Dot) – kicked off this past weeked, beginning at the Vaal Dam area adjacent Vanderbylpark in Gauteng.

SAMSA Acting CEO, Ms Zamachonco Chonc (front, second from Right) with SAMSA contingent of ship and small vessels surveyors, headed by deputy Chief Operations Officer, Capt. Vernon Keller (backrow, Right) SAMSA regional manager Capt. Thobela Gqabu (backrow, second from Right) and SAMSA Boating Centre manager, Ms Debbie James (backrow, third from Left).

As an indication of the importance and seriousness of the campaign, at the Stonehaven-On-Vaal in Vereeniging where the campaign kicked off for Gauteng on Saturday, accompaning the contigent of SAMSA’s ship and small vessels surveyors from across the country were the top brass of the entity.

It included the Acting CEO, Ms Zamachonco Chonco; Acting Chief Operations Officer, Mr Vusi September; deputy Chief Operations Officer, Capt. Vernon Keller; SAMSA Boating Centre manager, Ms Debbie James; Regional Manager (Eastern Region), Capt. Thobela Gqabu and Principal Officer for Inland (northern) Region, Mr Imraan Davis.

The Stonehaven-on-Vaal, owned by Ms Rosemary Anderson, is one of major tourism attraction facilities in the area, with several small to medium size passenger water vessels offering cruises on the Vaal River. Incidentally, the chosen venue for the launch of the Gauteng leg of the Concentrated Inspection Campaign is only a stone’s throw way from Lake Deneys Yacht Club – the venue of the launch of the country’s Inland Water Strategy by SAMSA and the Department of Transport this time a year ago.

In a statement on Saturday, SAMSA explained: “In this specific campaign, SAMSA’s focus is to promote maritime safety and maritime interest through engagement with the public, particularly maritime community members such as vessel skippers and owners operating passenger vessels.

SAMSA Acting CEO, Ms Zamacchonco Chonco explaining the rationale for the nationwide small vessels concentrated inspection campaign at the Vaa;l River of Saturday, 01 October 2022
A brief outline by SAMSA deputy Chief Operations Officer: Capt. Vernon Keller
An overview by SAMSA’s Regional Manager (Eastern and Inland Region) Capt. Thobela Gqabu
A perspective on SAMSA boating seafety camapign by small vessels owner and operator, Ms Rosemary Anderson of Stonehaven-On-Vaal

“SAMSA’s mandate has been extended to cover inland waters, which are composed of freshwater. Therefore, SAMSA has an enormous task to ensure that small boats operating in inland waters are safe and operate efficiently as a large percentage of SAMSA’s clientele are small boats. 

“Some of the inland passenger vessels can carry as much as 200 Passengers, therefore it is absolutely essential that SAMSA maintains a watchful eye on these vessels to ensure that they are operated to the highest standards.”

On the significance of the SAMSA small vessels safety promotion campaign relative to the Inland Water Strategy, and the critical need for greater cooperation and collaboration with other State as well as private sectors entities in the sector; SAMSA said: “Our organisation s delighted that the strategy was approved, implemented, and launched last year.

External collaboration

“To date, SAMSA has appointed at least 45 enforcement officers nationally in cooperation with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), municipal officials, and law enforcement agencies. SAMSA appoints these appointees to monitor and enforce compliance on waterways or slips throughout the country. 

“SAMSA is also glad to report that we are continually training external safety officers and external SAMSA small vessel surveyors to ensure compliance of the SAMSA Regulations. SAMSA has recently initiated a compulsory refresher built in buoyancy, passenger boat, pontoon boat and small vessel surveying training course for all surveyors and safety officers to attend.

“With less than 40 SAMSA full time SAMSA surveyors employed, and inland waters being one of the largest areas to cover with the limited resources and capacity, it is essential that the entity ropes in private organisations and other government entities to assist SAMSA to give full and complete effect to the regulations to ensure the safety of people and boats on our inland and coastal waters.

“It was also for that reason the Department of Transport also stated that the only practical way to control boating would be to share responsibility with local authorities and authorized agencies since they are given jurisdiction over specific demarcated section of inland waters

Next up; Free State, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo

“It is a continuous process to train and appoint enforcement officers. As there are quite a lot of small boat activities taking place in the inland region, SAMSA will soon roll out training and appointment for enforcement officers in Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo,” said SAMSA.

This blog also caught up briefly with two of the small vessels surveyors, Mr Vusimuzi Dube and Mr Neerish Sinath; for their views on the campaign in the two videos below.

SAMSA Inland Region small vessels surveyor, Mr Vusimuzi Dube
SAMSA Inland Region small vessels Surveyor, Mr Neeresh Sinath

A unique boat building initiative momentarily turns Benoni, in Gauteng, into a ‘Viking Village’!

Some of Benoni residents dressed as vikings during the official launch and floating of the unique wooden ‘viking’ leisure boat at the Benoni Sailing Club on Saturday

Pretoria: 03 September 2018

Economic and social development opportunities in South Africa’s maritime and marine economic sector remain hugely abundant if only current and aspirant entrepreneurs looked closely enough and made the effort to explore and exploit them.

Furthermore, such opportunities are not even confined to areas closest the country’s three oceans, but can be identified and exploited even in inland areas as was again ably demonstrated in Benoni, Gauteng at the weekend.

The Nordic Sea ‘viking’ leisure boat being officially floated at the Benoni Sailing Club with owner builder Mr Daniel Bungay at the helm.

This was the main sentiment to emerge within the country’s maritime sector at the weekend after the East Rand town of Benoni, a stone’s throw from Johannesburg, was momentarily turned into a “Viking village” when the local sailing club hosted the official launch of a unique ‘viking’ leisure boat conceived, hand-built and floated by resident entrepreneur, Mr Daniel Bungay.

Close on a thousand people turned up for the event at the Benoni Sailing Club on Saturday, many dressed up as Vikings to witness the formal unveiling and floating of the “The Nordic Sea” – an eight to 10-seater boat built with wood by Mr Bungay in just under two months at his home.

‘Viking’ leisure boat owner and builder, Mr Dainel Bungay (centre) celebrating the formal official launch of his new vessel, The North Sea, at the Benoni Sailing Club on Saturday

To ensure compliance with both its construction design and build material suitability and safety, Mr Bungay had roped in the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) for guidance and during the unveiling and launch ceremony on Saturday, the government agency duly handed Mr Bungay his new boat compliance certificate.

According to Mr Bungay, the leisure, paddles driven vessel, will be part of an arsenal in his new business venture, Greenhouse Factory, to provide unaccredited personnel training courses that include team building to companies local and countrywide.

“A dream delivered!” Mr Daniel Bungay, owner of the viking leisure boat, The Nordic Sea, thanking a crowd of about 1000 local Benoni residents for their attendance of the launch event on Saturday.

“It’s a dream come true, I feel delivered. It’s not just a boat, it’s a spirit.” said Mr Bungay in a brief interview. It was a dream about which he said he had worked hard in a very short time to realize and crucially, ably assisted by his wife, Ashleigh.

For Mr Bungay’s full interview click on the video below.

Meanwhile, Mr Imraan Davis, a provincial boat safety surveyor at SAMSA who handed over the boat’s compliance certificiate on Saturday, described Mr Bungay’s wooden boat building initiative as one of a kind, but an entrepreneurial vision realized and in its wake, was demonstrative of the opportunities that exist in the country’s marine and maritime economy sector.

A JOB WELL DONE: Mr Imraan Davis of SAMSA (Left) congratulating viking leisure boat builder and owner, Mr Daniel Bungay during the formal official launch of the small vessel at the Benoni Sailing Club on Saturday.

“It’s the first time I have seen something like this being undertaken inland to be floating today and SAMSA is actually proud to have been of assistance with the initiative,” said Mr Davis during an interview with a local community radio station.

For Mr Davis’ full remarks, click on the video below:

Shortly before formal launch and first floating of the vessel at the Benoni Sailing Club waterway, Mr Bungay shared his vision for the initiative with the local community. For the moving rendition, in a poetic style, please click on the video below: