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APA maintains a database of members in good standing – this mean that their annual membership fee has been paid and that they have signed and are bound by the Codes of Safety & Conduct.


The South African Maritime Safety Association is responsible for all safety related issues on South African waterways. From 2007, this has included inland waterways – rivers, lakes, dams and estuaries. Commercial paddling operators are subject to a number of SAMSA regulations and APA has engaged with them to develop a Marine Notice that applies specifically to our sector. This has made the legal requirement of an annual survey much easier and less expensive whilst at the same time has increased compliance with industry best practice in terms of safety. For more detailed information, please refer to this information document. Info doc attached APA also has a dedicated SAMSA representative who can help you with any questions – Marie-Louise Kellett.

How to Operate legally in South Africa

South Africa has a number of laws and regulations that relate to Adventure Tourism operators in general and to paddling operators in particular; Please note that this is a brief overview – we do not claim to be experts in this field and all information provided is to the best of our knowledge but does not replace advice from a qualified professional. More details can be found in this info document.

  1. Consumer Protection Act; Basic Conditions of Employment Act and other employment related legislation …
  2. Tourism Act: The main effect of this act on paddling operators is the requirement that Tourism Guide are required to be registered with the provincial Tour Guide Registrar. In order to do this, they need to have undergone a CATHSSETA assessment. This is offered by a number of APA Assessors and you can find out here – Training & Assessments.
  3. SAMSA: All commercial paddling operators are required to have their craft and operations surveyed by a SAMSA Inspector annually. You can find out more information here:

Other issues

  1. Vaal River: high and low cut off levels, trip numbers.
  2. Orange River: Dams and Hydro electric power stations planned info.
  3. Steering Committee on Self Regulation in the Adventure Sector – APA is represented by Marie-Louise Kellett

Operator Resources

We have put together a selection of useful information documents which you can download and use in your own businesses. These are all in .pdf format – APA members can request these in Word document format from the APA National Office.