To skipper a sailing boat over 9 meters in South Africa you are required by law to hold an appropriate Certificate of Competence. South African Sailing (SAS) is the only body that South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has authorised to issue Certificates of Competence for sailing boats.
|THE CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCE (COC or SKIPPERS' TICKETS) ARE:|
|INLAND WATERS SKIPPER
Holders are qualified to skipper a sailboat on inland waters by day or by night.
Holders are qualified to skipper a sailboat at sea from sunrise to sunset. Local waters are defined as 15 nautical miles from the skippers' home port, or 25 miles from their home port provided they are no more than 15 nautical miles from an approved safe haven.
|LOCAL WATERS SKIPPER
Holders are qualified to skipper a sailboat at sea by day or by night in the local waters as defined for Day Skipper.
Holders are qualified to skipper a sailboat on any coastal passage within 40 nautical miles of the coast by day or by night.
Holders are qualified to skipper a sailboat on any extended or ocean passage.
This qualification is a badge of honour that indicates the holder has mastered celestial navigation.
Because of the progressive nature of the qualifications from Day Skipper to Yachtmaster Ocean, it is preferable to follow the sequence of qualifications shown in the flow diagram below.
|The following are mandatory:|
|You must be a Day Skipper to apply for a Local Waters Skipper Certificate of Competence.|
|You must be a Coastal Skipper to apply for Yachtmaster Offshore.|
|You must be a Yachtmaster Offshore to apply for a Yachtmaster Ocean.|
In other words, there are only two points of entry into the scheme - Day Skipper (for the less experienced) and Coastal Skipper (for the very experienced)
Although it is beneficial to attend an SAS approved sailing school, this is not mandatory. Candidates with the required experience and knowledge may make application directly through any SAS offices for an examination.
It is recommended that you go through a school offering an SAS approved course, as they will ensure that all areas are thoroughly covered. Even if you are an experienced skipper, it is unlikely that you will have had practice in the many scenarios that could put you or your crew at risk.