When scuba diving in South Africa, there are some important safety and security checks you should do before hitting the water. Having the correct gear is important. Making sure it is functioning is even more important. You are responsible for ensuring your own safety on a daily basis, in and out of the water. Have you given any thought towards the people who are responsible for you? The diving master needs to be properly qualified to take groups of people out to dive. Likewise, the skipper of the boat taking you out should hold all the necessary qualifications.
What qualifications should a skipper have for a scuba dive?
A prospective skipper needs to obtain a Certificate of Competency for any power-driven boat under 25 tonnes and less than 9 meters in length. This certificate complies with the Small Vessel Code outlined by SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority), and signifies that the holder is a licensed skipper. The course covers theoretical knowledge such as legal requirements, general seamanship, safety and emergency procedures, meteorology, and power and motor mechanics. The practical aspect of the course includes hands-on training from a qualified skipper about the vessel and fuel use. This course has four categories for different depths of water. Depending on the category, a skipper will only be allowed to operate in rivers and inland waters, 1,6 kilometers from the shore, 24 km from the shore, or commercial operations 64 km offshore.
In South Africa, scuba diving trips need a licensed skipper
A scuba diving trip does not usually go far offshore to reach depths of 40 meters for the average recreational dive. This depth will occur at various distances from the shore depending on the gradient of the seabed. You need to be sure that your skipper is licensed to take you out to the distance you want to dive at. A lack of qualifications and knowledge can be dangerous. If you are unsure about how to secure your skipper’s professional capabilities and your own safety, speak to Scuba Scene in Pretoria. They will be able to provide sound advice and solid references for your next trip scuba diving in South Africa.