A Category C skipper’s license is an exciting upgrade to your skipping experience as it allows you to take your sailing or powerboat deeper into the ocean. Getting a Category C skipper’s license is a smooth process too. Let’s understand more about this topic.

SAMSA Category C Skipper’s License

If you wish to wander deeper into the South African oceans, getting a Category C license makes sense. With this skipper’s license, one can take their vessel into the sea for up to 15 nautical miles from a safe port of entry. Of course, these skipper’s licenses only apply to personal vessels that are less than or equal to 9m in length (sailing) or have an engine of 15hp or more.

And of course, if you wish to drive that deep into the ocean, you also need to understand whether you have a category C vessel or not. For example, we strongly advise against taking your category E or R vessels that deep into the ocean. For more information on Cat C vessels, please take a look at this document originally published by SAMSA.

Category C License Prerequisites

If you are looking for a category C license, you will have to be over 16 years of age. Furthermore, you will also need a pre-medical exam to declare that you are fit for skipping. After that, the most important thing is your prior skipping experience.

Now, even an inexperienced skipper can build skipping experience to take the Category C Skipper’s Exam. However, we highly recommend you familiarise yourself with skipping before you decide to climb the ladder.

As an aspiring Category C Skipper, you have three options to build up your experience.

  • Via the course itself. In the training course, we will help you build up the necessary skipping experience signed off by our certified skippers. You will only need 25 hours of skipping via this method.
  • 50 hours of logged sea service under the supervision of an experienced skipper. In this method, you at least require 50 hours before you can apply for the Cat C exam.
  • 100 hours of sea service if you’re not being supervised by an experienced skipper on a vessel of an appropriate length.

Apart from that, you will need to submit identification and three passport-sized photos.

The Category C Skipper Exam

This course and the exam do not have any practical navigational or boating training. However, if you need a refresher regarding such training, you can always sign up for boat handling and navigational courses. Besides, if you require the hours to fulfil the prerequisite, then accredited training institutes such as Sail and Power SA can help you gain 25 hours of sea service.

This exam consists of a training session based on an NSRI/SAMSA manual, followed by a written (theory) exam. This exam could be done a little afterwards, giving you some time to prepare. After that, you will have a little practical boating session with oral questions under a SAMSA-authorised supervisor. Should you pass all the phases, you will receive the Category C Skipper’s license.

The Category C Skipper training

Depending on your fulfilment of the requirements, Sail and Power SA has prepared different packages for you. You may take a look at them here.

However, depending on your experience, we will generally cover the following topics in our course:

  • Practical Boating for one day. This is mainly done for refreshing purposes. However, if you are new to boating, this will prove equally useful to you.
  • SRC Radio Course. All seagoing skippers must understand how to operate a radio.
  • Navigation Course. This is optional (depending on your experience), however, a really resourceful course.¬†
  • Theory. This covers the theory related to boating and navigation, as mentioned in the SAMSA Skipper’s Manual.

These are all one-day courses each. Depending on your package, expect this course to last for a week.


Category C SAMSA license will further deepen your sea-going adventure, allowing you to travel up to 15 Nm deep into the ocean from a safe port of entry. If you are interested in upgrading your Skipper’s license, feel free to choose one of our packages based on your experience as a skipper.

Sail and Power SA is a SAMSA and RYA-accredited marine training institute in Cape Town, South Africa. For more information about us, please feel free to connect with us anytime.

How to get Category C Skipper’s License in South Africa?