OVERVIEW – VESSEL CERTIFICATION AND REGISTRATION

Regulations

Introduction

This section of the web site covers the legal requirements for the certification of small recreational vessels less than 100 Gross Tonnes and the registration of vessels going foreign.

1. Recreational sailing vessels ≥ 9m in length (and recreational power vessels >15HP) must have an approved marking. They also require an annual safety inspection in order to obtain a Certificate of Fitness (CoF) or – if registered to go foreign as a SA flagged vessel– a Local General Safety Certificate (LGSC). SAS is authorised to issue approved markings, conduct safety inspections and issue CoF’s.
2. Vessels which "go foreign" must be registered. The country of registration is known as the vessel’s flag state.

This section of the SAS web site does not cover three rather different requirements:

1. Skippers of recreational sailing vessels ≥ 9m in length (and recreational power vessels >15HP) must have Certificate of Competence (CoC) – informally known as a skipper’s ticket. SAS is authorised to issue CoC’s for recreational vessels under 100 GT. To find out more click here.
2. Yachts which wish to take part in one design class races require a measurement certificate to demonstrate that they comply with the class rules. Measurement certificates must be registered with SAS. That requirement is covered under “CLASSES”. Click here.
3. Commercial sailing and power vessels can only be certified by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Getting an Approved Marking by listing your vessel through SAS

The way that SAS issues an approved marking is to issue a Certificate of Listing (CoL). To find out more about getting a CoL for your vessel, click here.

As a general rule, SAS will only do a safety inspection on a vessel listed by SAS. There are only two exceptions:

1. SAS can do a safety inspection and issue a 6-month CoF on a visiting foreign vessel.
2. In extremis, SAS can do a safety inspection and issue a CoF for a vessel with a marking from another authorised agency. SAS will only do this if there is no safety officer from that Authorised Agency available in the region.


The SAS marking is an SA number (e.g. SA 4567) for a sailing vessel or a ZA number (e.g. ZA 1234) for a power vessel.

Safety inspections, CoF’s and LGSC’s

SAS is authorised to do safety inspections and issue CoF’s for recreational vessels less than 100 GT provided they are not registered in South Africa.

Vessels registered in SA require an Local General Safety Certificate (LGSC) rather than a CoF. Some SAS safety officers are authorised to do safety inspections for vessels registered in SA, but the LGSC must be issued by SAMSA.

To find out more about getting a CoF or LGSC for your vessel, click here.

CoF’s and LGSC’s are only valid for one year.

Registration of Vessels

Vessels which "go foreign" must be registered. The country of registration is known as the vessel’s "flag state".

1. Vessels which register on the South African register must do so through the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). To find out more about registering your vessel through SAMSA click here.
2. The requirements for foreign registered small vessels in SA waters are covered here.

Documentation required on board

You are required to have the following documentation (or a certified copy) on board:

1. Recreational sailing vessels ≥9m and recreational power vessels >15HP are required to have a valid safety certificate (CoF or LGSC), and the skipper is required to have a valid skipper’s ticket.
2. Vessels with a VHF radio or other radio equipment such as an MF/HF SSB radio or an EPIRB must have a valid Ship Station Licence for the vessel, and the person operating the radio must have a valid Radio Operator’s Certificate
3. Vessels with an EPIRB are required to have documentary evidence that the EPIRB has been registered with the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC). To find out more about EPIRB registration, click here.

Recreational sailing vessels < 9m and recreational power vessels ≤15 HP

In terms of the National Small Vessel Safety Regulations (2007), recreational sailing vessels < 9m and recreational power vessels ≤15HP do not require an approved marking or a safety certificate, and the skipper does not require a CoC., but they must still meet the construction and safety equipment requirements defined in the National Small Vessel Safety Regulations.

However, some yacht clubs insist that sailing vessels < 9m must have a CoF and the skippers must have a CoC.