TASK guidelines To Local Councils
South Africa's seashore stretches nearly 3000 kilometers and offers
a variety of opportunities for commercial sea kayaking. As the
pastime develops, more and more would-be operators will apply
to local councils for permits to operate from beaches controlled
by them. As a service to the community, TASKS has compiled the
following guidelines to inform councils iro the minimum requirements
for commercial sea kayaking operators.
An established bona fide
business with a good track record.
Commercial sea kayaking is a demanding form of business requiring
all forms of business acumen. Applicants should have a track-record
of doing good business, preferably in the field of tourism
and should have a suitable infrastructure of administration,
marketing and operations in place. The business structure
should be registered, permits for vehicles [if applicable]
must be available and liability insurance must have been contracted.
Suitable sea-worthy craft.
It is imperative that commercial sea kayak operators use suitable
craft. Indeed, craft should be scrutinized by SAMSA officers
iro meeting minimum requirements for sea-worthiness and public
transportation at sea. A new range of cheaper plastic sea
kayaks has become available making it tempting for anybody
to try to set up kayak businesses. However, it takes much
more than this to run a safe commercial sea kayak operation.
Guided Sea Kayak Tours or
Note that we are dealing here with guided sea kayaking. No
craft are rented or hired out. There is a major difference
between hiring out craft and running guided sea kayak tours.
Hiring falls under hawking and meeting local council ordinances;
guided tours fall under tourism and must meet provincial and
national tourism laws.
Sea Kayak Guides
All kayak operators should have qualified sea kayak guides,
not river guides or field guides or tour guides. There are
currently four categories of guides in SA Tourism: Tour, Field,
Adventure and Marine. Paddling falls under Adventure Guiding
and has three categories: Flat Water [lakes], Swift Water
[rivers] and sea kayaking. Each has its own qualification
which is controlled by THETA , the Tourism, Hospitality, Education
In addition to receiving formal sea kayak guide training,
sea paddlers must be familiar with paddling at sea and with
safety at sea. They should have records of sea paddling, surf
life-saving and sailing, or skippering. Some should be in
possession of Skippers' certificates and/or SPA's, ie Surf
Proficiency Awards. Operators must also have a track record
of operating at sea. Paddlers with no sea paddling, or those
who have only paddled on rivers or lakes do not meet the requirements
without further training and experience.
Councils must determine how much space should be allocated
to sea kayak operators. Too many would jeopardize the safety
of swimmers, boats and other water users. Blue Flag status
beaches must also take their status requirements into account.
One or two per beach would be about right for most areas.
More would put businesses under strain and confuse the public