With the phenomenal growth of bass fishing as a recreational sport both worldwide and here in South Africa, one needs to ensure that boating safety comes first and foremost, particularly when it comes to competition day when skippers, both experienced and novice, might find themselves gunning along the same piece of water at high speed looking for that perfect casting spot. But whether you’re that bass boat skipper or a parent taking the family for a weekend spin, the standard requirements in terms of competence and safety as determined by the South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) are equally applicable.
You must have a Certificate of Competency (COC) or Skipper’s Licence issued by SAMSA covering your specific requirement as a bass angler, at least a Category ‘R’ for Restricted Tidal Waters for Lagoons, Estuaries, Harbours and all inland waters. At all times you must carry the original COC or a certified copy on board your boat for inspection. Furthermore the vessel’s category will form part of the vessel’s licence/ registration number and must be clearly marked on each side of the vessel.
Second up you’ll need to ensure that you have all the relevant safety equipment on board for a Category R rating. This must be checked on any new vessel before launching and then re-checked on an annual basis by an authorized SAMSA official who will then issue you with a Certificate of Fitness (COF). All the safety equipment must be permanently marked with the vessel’s name or registration number.