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The SA Sea Rescue Squadron, based at the Adelaide Shores boat ramp, West Beach, is part of the Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) Group which was set up over 50 years ago. The Squadron is committed to boating safety through education and offers a number of courses, both to the public and their members, including the seamanship course to gain your boat licence in South Australia.
What is ‘seamanship’?
The definition of ‘seamanship’ according to the Collins Dictionary is the ‘skill in managing a boat and controlling its movement through the sea’. Or ‘the skill and knowledge of the work of navigating, maintaining and operating a vessel’.
There are many different definitions, especially around good seamanship. You only have to take a look at this GCaptain forum page to get an understanding there is no real right or wrong answer.
Why do a Seamanship course?
Whichever definition do you decide to go with, this course is a lot more in depth than the minimal multiple choice test that needed for a boat licence in South Australia.
It is designed to meet the requirements for the issue of a SA recreational power boat licence, but with a lot more knowledge and experience packed into it. Once completed and assessment passed, the documented evidence and a completed application for a boat operators licence can be taken to a Service SA centre, with fee payment for the licence to be issued.
The course is also suitable for children from 12 to 15 years inclusive to gain experience in preparation for their theory test and on-water boat test which is mandatory for them to complete.
It is also part of the preparation for anyone wishing to join the SA Sea Rescue squadron, to become one of the rescue crew. From this perspective, you come to realise it’s a pretty intense course with lots to be covered.
Don’t that that put you off though; this is a good thing! Take this opportunity to take part and learn as much as possible. Practicals will help to understand and give confidence for when you are out there on your own. And when else might you get a chance to drive a Sea Rescue boat?!
How is the course run?
The seamanship course is run approximately 3 times a year and runs for 8 consecutive weeks on Thursday evenings at West Beach. There is a Sunday morning practical session to put theory into practice on the boats.
This may feel like quite a commitment to make, especially when you could complete the theory test within an hour or so. However, this course will give you invaluable skills which may save you or your family and friends lives.
Seamanship Topics Covered
Some of the topics covered in the course and through the Seamanship Manual are:
Marks and lights
Boat handling, equipment and inspections
Fire at sea
River Murray Regulations
Ropes and knots
Safety at sea
A practical element includes sessions on mooring, rope work, radio procedures, navigation, flares and being hands on on the water. Find out more details on their seamanship section of their website.
The cost is $100 for members of the squadron and $160 for non-members. This covers the cost of the basic seamanship book, a practical morning session, assignments and the assessment at the end. The cost of becoming a member is $60 (I’ll let you work out the maths and I guess if depends if you want to stay as a member of the squadron!).
The Squadron do have Flotillas at Edithburgh, Copper Coast and Wirrina. If you’re local to these areas, get in touch with the Flotillas to see if they can arrange any local training or suggestions on how to obtain your boat licence.
This course has been going for many years and the Squadron are really proud of it. Not only from the years of experience they get to share with those who attend, but also the fact that the more training they provide, the less likely they will have to attend to rescue you!!
On a serious note though, the Squadron are there to give others confidence and more importantly, help everyone be safe at sea.
If West Beach isn’t the right location for you, check out the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Seamanship course which is held in North Haven and covers similar content.
If this isn’t the right course for you, check out our How to get a Boat Licence in South Australia post for more options.
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