Estuaries – Safety, Rules, Certificates and Permits

Nov 17, 2021

To all the users of Kariega and Boesmans Estuaries, whether local, visitors and/or holiday makers. By adhering to the rules around safety and etiquette you are helping us help you.

Safety – South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)

Certificates

Skippers licence – certificate of competence (COC)

Each and every vessel has to be under the constant guidance of a person holding an appropriately endorsed Certificate of Competence.

Be a responsible skipper

  • Sufficiently and effectively operate i.e. Competent people on board to help in an emergency.
  • Safety and emergency procedures i.e. Location of equipment, possession of a proper first aid kit, sufficient first aid knowledge, Firefighting and Man Overboard procedures.
  • Fuel reserves i.e. Sufficient fuel on board to get you back home. You need to apply a 25% reserve at all times.
  • Your boat capacity i.e. It is illegal to exceed the number of persons specified on the vessel’s safety certificate.
  • Physical or mental fitness i.e. No person may operate a vessel or the vessels equipment whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Max of 0,05 grams/100ml alcohol in the blood or 0,24mg/1000ml alcohol in breath).
  • Sewerage and Garbage Disposal i.e. Appropriate arrangements to be made to discharge this in accordance with local authority regulations.
  • Marking of vessel i.e. Vessel name and official number to be clearly displayed on both sides of the vessel. The number of passengers allowed to be carried must also be prominently displayed.

NB: A Certificate of Competence may be suspended or cancelled if the holder is convicted of an offence in terms of the Act or if the holder has conducted him/herself in a negligent or incompetent manner.

Refer example (A) Below

Certificate of fitness (COF)

This is your vessel license and gives it the right to be on the water.

  • Approved life jackets i.e. One per person and in good order, fitted with a whistle, lifting loop and retro-reflective material. To be worn by children under 12 years of age on deck at all times when vessel is under way.
  • Kill Switch i.e. All vessels of more than15hp must have a Kill Switch which is attached to the skipper or operator when under way.
    – Navigational lights i.e. All vessels operating at night must have properly fitted navigational lights in accordance with the International Collision Regulations.
  • Lighting i.e. One waterproof torch/spot light with batteries and spare globe if operating at night.
  • Towing arrangements i.e. Every vessel must have an efficient means of securing a tow rope for the purpose of towing or being towed.
  • Fuel tanks i.e. To be made of approved material and effectively secured at all times and stored outside engine and battery compartments.
  • Electrical installations i.e. Power driven vessels must be provided with at least one bank of batteries, unless the vessel is fitted only with a hand-start engine. A single bank battery must be capable of providing 12 hours auxiliary power for navigational lights or an electric bilge pump (if provided).
  • Emergency Steering i.e. May be portable but must be accessible for rapid attachment.
  • Visibility of steering position i.e. Clear visibility, through safety-toughened clear glass.
  • Fire extinguisher i.e. One fire extinguisher per motor serviced annually by a SABS approved fire service station.
  • Anchor and chain i.e. Vessels under 6 metres to have at least 3 metres of chain and 30 metres of anchor rope.
  • Oars or paddles.
  • Registration number i.e. No vessel may go onto the water unless it has an approved number on each side of the vessel.
  • First aid kit i.e. Suitable for the vessel size (compliment and intended operation) together with a first-aid manual.
  • Spares & tools i.e. Adequate for the purpose of carrying out emergency repairs.

NB. This certificate is valid for 12 months and is issued by an approved SAMSA surveyor. All vessels with an engine power of more than 15hp or longer than 9 meters must have a Certificate of Fitness and the operator must be able to produce it if asked to do so.
Insurance Companies in most cases will not cover you if you do not have a COF.

Refer example (B) below

Buoyancy certificate

When you purchase a boat, new or used, it must be accompanied by a buoyancy certificate. Your certificate must be valid at the time of your annual COF inspection and is normally valid for a period of 5 years.

Refer example (C) below

 

For more information please visit the SAMSA website at www.samsa.org.za

Estuary user etiquette

Users of the Estuaries have a variety of “desires” and “experiences” when planning to spend a day on the Estuary and sometimes these can be in conflict of each other. For example, some want the peace and tranquillity of being close to nature, whereas others want the thrill of skiing/speed. There are certain rules and etiquette that apply to Estuary usage and if everybody follows these it will lead to a much more amicable relationship between all users.

Rules governing demarcated zones

This applies not only to the speed with which one travels through the zone but also to the activity taking place in the zone. As much as it is unacceptable for a power boat to go speeding through a NO WAKE ZONE it is equally unacceptable for a fisherman to park his boat in the middle of the SKI ZONE. If users stick to the demarcated activities, then everybody gets an opportunity to practice what they want.

Launching and retrieving your boat

When using the slipway for launching or a jetty to load their passengers the correct thing to do is to work quickly and efficiently and to clear the area as soon as practical. If you need to wait for a car/trailer or passengers to arrive, the correct thing to do is wait out on the water until you are ready for action and then to take your turn.

Power to give way to sail and manual power

Power boats have much more control over their movement and can move out of the way in order to avoid a collision – sail and manually operated craft have much less control of this.

Swimmers

All types of craft must give way to swimmers.

Swimming is a popular recreation in the Estuaries but one needs to do so while being very aware of the safety aspects. There are no lifeguards on duty and there are numerous areas where the bank drops away suddenly into deep water. The current flow can also be strong and carry you away quickly and therefore one needs to be a competent swimmer before venturing out into the water. There are too many tragic stories of people who were not adequately cautious and suffered the consequences as a result.

Estuary channels

Channels need to be kept open to allow for free movement. Please don’t anchor your boat right in the centre of the channel. If a boat wishes to stop in the channel, it must do so on the side and allow space for free movement of other vessels.

Vessels passing each other

When approaching each other they should both stay on the right-hand side of the Estuary and thereby pass with their left-hand sides facing each other. In all cases vessels should give one another maximum space in this passing.

If a faster vessel is catching up to a slower one from behind, the passing vessel should do so around the right-hand side of the slower vessel. The vessel being passed should keep as far left as possible. Again, maximum space should be afforded during this activity.

If a vessel under way is passing a stationary vessel or a much smaller vessel or swimmer a wide berth should be given and wake minimized so as to avoid disruption to them. There is nothing funny about swamping a vessel or person as you pass them close at high speed and this can be very dangerous.

Tow like a pro – your skier

There are safety rules that apply to vessels towing skiers. There should be at least two people in the vessel – one responsible for the driving and the other to watch for the skier’s safety and to show the required RED flag, warning other estuary users of the presence of a skier.

Permits

Vessel registration permits

The Vessel Registration Permit is obtainable from the NDLAMBE MUNICIPALITY office in Kenton on Sea and is required prior to any vessel being put onto the KARIEGA and/or BOESMANS Estuaries.

The permit is renewable from 1 July each year and is not transferable.

Refer example (D) below:

Recreational fishing permits

This is an Annual or Monthly Fishing Permit (valid from the date of purchase) and issued to a single person and is specific to the type of activity for which it is intended e.g., Angling, Cast/throw net, Spearfishing, collecting of shell fish etc.

There is a size and quantity limit to fish and bait catches that must be adhered to. The licence can be obtained at the local Post Office in Kenton on Sea.

Refer example (E) below:

Bait

Bait required for fishing can be bought from a number of our retail outlets in Kenton on Sea e.g. SPAR, BUCO, Kenton Garage, Kenton Marina, etc.

Should you require sand prawn please make use of a prawn pump and pump sparingly while on the mud flats. PLEASE do not use a spade to obtain sand prawn and/or buy these from the locals who at times do try and sell their catch in and around town.

Caring for our Estuaries

Estuary bank erosion

Estuary banks do have a natural degree of erosion that takes place as water flows along these banks. It is also true that vessels with motors create wakes that can be more severe than the natural flow of water due to the sheer force emitted from an outboard motor.

This therefore places a responsibility on power vessel users to as far as possible avoid travelling at speed while close to the banks. Fish and bait reserves are also impacted here, so when travelling at speed please stay within the deeper water.

Adhering to the protocols to be followed while using the Estuaries will not only help in preserving our nature but will also allow all users the opportunity to experience a wonderful outing.

Pollution control

The rule of the Estuary is that everything you bring with you should be taken back home and disposed of.

The most damaging of pollutants is plastic in the form of bags and bottles. Aside from being unsightly, plastic never biodegrades and can choke breeding grounds and if eaten by fish will result in their death.

The tossing of cigarette butts into the Estuaries is also strongly discouraged as these also take many years to degrade and if eaten by fish will also result in their death.

Burying a can and or bottle in the sand is not a method of disposal. This collects on the Estuary floor and aside from being a pollutant it is also a safety hazard to people walking and swimming.

HELP and make a contribution to pollution control by adopting the practice of picking up any litter you encounter and take it home for disposal.

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