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Skippers are individuals—the experts who know how to handle a boat safely in various situations on the water. If you own a boat but do not own a boating license, hiring a skipper is definitely your best bet. Here are five reasons why it is important to hire a skipper onboard.

Wait a moment, I still know how to drive a boat though!

Even if you have tons of boating experience before, you should never skip a boat without a license. South African maritime laws take maritime security very seriously. If you get caught, you will be heavily fined.

But of course, if you have tons of experience, you are likely to have a license too. In that case, it is alright for you to drive the boat. But here’s a catch, you should only drive the boat specified in your license and you cannot go beyond a certain limit.

Related: Getting a Skipper License in South Africa

As a novice, however, do not even think of sailing the boat by yourself… okay, at least not without a licensed and experienced skipper on board. Trust us when we say this, “It is for your own safety!” 

Also here’s a tip. If you drive the boat under an experienced skipper’s supervision, you can actually log that as your sea hours, which are useful for obtaining the skipper’s license.

Why is it Important to Hire a Skipper Onboard?

Skippers are professional and well-knowledged individuals who can make your water trip rich with experience and extremely fun. Having a professional skipper means you do not have to worry about safety and lookout and just enjoy your outdoor time with your friends and family. Here are five reasons why a Skipper is beneficial for your boating experience.

a. General Safety

A skipper is usually well-versed in handling all sort of situations on the boat and keeping it safe from hazards and harm. A good, professional skipper will brief all vessel passengers about the safety regulations, location and usage of safety equipment, and potential emergency situations and risks.

Some skippers are also training with a first-aid course, making them extra efficient in handling emergency situations.

b. Route Planning

Route planning includes a skipper planning your trip according to your boat type, fuel capacity and backup, and the suitable terrain around the shores. This means your vessel will remain safe and so, you don’t have to worry about anything.

A skipper is bound to take care of your vessel. He is also responsible for the preparation and functionality of all safety equipment on board. Besides, make sure that your skipper also shares the voyage plan with the local Marine Rescue Unit (a responsible skipper will definitely do so). 

c. A Well-Knowledged Guide

You are hiring a skipper to keep you and your vessel safe and enrich your experience on the waters. This is exactly what a skipper is good at. A highly experienced skipper can take you to explore hidden gems of the areas you have never even heard of; calm places, crystal clear waters hidden and well-protected under the thin veil of mother nature. Having such experiences can definitely make the trip more worthy for you!

An experienced skipper knows how to read the winds and waters, avoiding potentially unwanted situations with mother nature and keeping everyone on board safe and sound. Such skippers will also recommend various spots like watersports areas (diving, swimming, skiing).

d. Local Expertise

A skipper is not only well-versed with safety but with the local area as well. This includes hidden gems, local restaurants and cuisine, and wonderful beaches and bays (or coves, if they exist). An accustomed skipper can even go out of their way to recommend specialities for you to experience or relax with.

e. Stress-Free Sailing Experience

Having a skipper means you can finally relax, spend some quality time with your friends and family, and enjoy the scenery and food. Leave all the safety and navigation-related issues to your skipper and enjoy your time on the sea. After all, that’s the exact reason why you are hiring a skipper in a place. It can definitely make the experience ‘super fun’ without all that stress regarding safety.

Conclusion: Hire a Skipper!

And that concludes why it is important to hire a skipper onboard. Hiring an experienced skipper is definitely worth it. The costs for hiring a skipper vary depending on their experience, skillset, the skipper’s license category, and the size of your boat. However, if you do not have a license, yet want to plan a trip on your own boat or a rental boat then definitely go for a professional skipper.

Alternately, if you are willing to obtain a skipper’s license in South Africa, visit our skipper’s training page today or simply contact us for more information.

Why is it Important to Hire a Skipper Onboard?