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

Seafarers’ health onboard vessels under the spotlight at Africa sailors’ online conference this week

Pretoria: 20 September 2022

A global focus on seafarers’ health and welfare by the Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea programme turns its focus on Africa’s young and aspirant sailors during an online conference scheduled Wednesday, to be addressed by among others; Ms Zamachonco Chonco, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Ms Zamzachonco Chonco. SAMSA Acting CEO

During the day long conference, Ms Chonco will join the Sailors’ Society head of wellness, Johan Smith; the society’s CEO, Ms Sara Baade; maritime studies academic and former Head of Maritime Studies at the Cape Pensinsula University of Technology (CPUT), Capt. (Dr) Ed Snyders; Thomas Miller regional Loss Prevention Director, Mr Anuj Velankar; Wellness at Sea regional coordinator, Dr. Deepti Mankad; Spiritention safety and security Consultant, Mr Toon van der Sande; fishing group Oceana’s second Navigation Officer, Ms Sandisiwe Silindokuhle Binda and others.

Ms Sara Baade, CEO: Sailors’ Society

Held online, beginning at 08.30am through to 5pm; and with the theme: “Positive wellbeing for a rewarding seafaring career,” the Africa youth health-focused seaferarers’ conference – the second of its kind globally this year – is according to the Sailors’ Society, aimed at “key issues facing today’s seafarers and will help to prepare (them) for a long and fulfilling life at sea,” says Ms Baade in a statement.

“For more than 200 years, Sailors’ Society has been transforming the lives of seafarers and their families at home, in port and at sea through resources like the peer-to-peer groups, our port chaplaincy, crisis response network and work in seafaring communities,” she says.

Wednesday conference’s precise target are aspirant seafarers currently at maritime colleges, with subject emphasis on exploration of the “all important subject of wellbeing and mental health, helping prepare cadets for a long and fulfilling career at sea.”

Topics to be covered by the speakers through both speaking notes as well as interactive audience engagement include;

  • The importance of wellbeing and welfare to ensure a bright future in the maritime industry;
  • How the maritime landscape is changing: the role of technology in wellbeing and welfare;
  • Coping with the realities of life at sea; The psychology of conflict – being a seafarer in a time of war;
  • On board coping skills;
  • Bridging the gender gap and, advice on
  • How to get a job in a tough industry: tips from a manning agent

Organisers, the Sailors’ Society, founded in 1818 in England; describe the event as part of its global Wellness at Sea programme that forms part of its chaplaincy projects with representations in several countries, particularly port cities, in all continents.

In terms of the event’s arrnagement, students at participating African maritime colleges will participate for free.

To register, intending participants can log their interest at the following link address: