SAMSA regulations and PFD’s.

As very few of you will know (because almost nobody reads this official stuff), CSA has been granted the status of “Authorised Agent” by SAMSA.

SAMSA is the South African Maritime Safety Authority. They basically control what is allowed and what is not allowed on all of the country’s waterways and coastline.

They have a fairly stringent list of requirements that need to be complied with before you are allowed to head off into the blue yonder, or around Emmarentia dam, or wherever else you can think of.

The status of “authorised agent” means that we have been granted the authority to be self-regulatory” to a certain extent, and that we do not have to adhere to all of the stringent requirements that would normally apply.

The status was granted after a lengthy negotiation, during which we had to prove that our safety protocols were adequate. The status gets reviewed every 3 years.

One of the numerous issues that SAMSA wanted clarity on was the wearing of PFD’s (personal floatation devises). In order for them to accept the PFD that we recommended, they needed a recognised international standard against which the devise could be tested. The lightest and least restrictive classification that they would accept was the EN ISO 12402-5 (level 50).

In order to protect the PFD manufacturing industry from suddenly having a pile of stock that they could not dispose of, as well as giving the buyers of PFD’s the luxury of getting some use out of them before they were declared “illegal”, we requested a 5 year moratorium on compliance with the ISO standard.

This moratorium expires on the 26th of January 2020.

After that date, paddlers will not be allowed to enter races without a PFD that complies with the ISO definition.

Most decent PFD’s last for a number of years (in Tony Scott’s case – 35 years). January 2020 is only a couple of years away.

If we do not enforce this SAMSA requirement, they will be at liberty to remove our current status.

If they do that, we will have to comply with their normal stringent requirements.

I can’t really picture all of the geriatski paddlers heading off on a Saturday morning paddle with an anchor, 20 litres of water, 50 metres of rope, a “lifejacket” that comes out of the “Titanic” set, flares, whistles, etc.

In the interim, a PFD needs to comply with the following;

o It must be able to float a weight of 6.15kgs.
o It must carry the appropriate labelling.
o It must be in sound condition.
o It must not be loose fitting
o Shape and design of the jacket must allow freedom to twist and lean the torso.