SAMSA > Services > Small Vessels Safety > Eyesight Tests and Medical Examinations
Eyesight Tests and Medical Examinations

Policy regarding Eyesight Tests and Medical Examinations

All candidates for the Skipper Coastal and Skipper Offshore ≥9m are required to pass the prescribed SAMSA letter and lantern test which are carried out at certain SAMSA offices. (The reason being the portability of these certificates to >25GT vessels and subsequent career paths.)

All other candidates attempting the examinations as specified in this document are required to produce an eyesight test certificate issued either by a SAMSA office, or an optometrist who is a member of the South African Medical Association.

The test certificate shall be valid for a period of one year. It must state:

  • the date of examination;
  • the name and address of the examining body or organisation;
  • the signature of the examiner;
  • whether or not the candidate has passed or failed the lantern (or Ishihara) test specified below; and
  • whether or not the candidate passed the letter test with or without aids to vision.

The sight test shall comprise a letter and lantern test. Where there is no lantern available the requirements of the “Ishihara” card test for colour-blindness will suffice.

The tests are as follows:
(Download an example you can use)


The letter test

Shall be conducted on Snellen’s principle by means of sheets which will contain 6 lines, the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th lines corresponding to standards 6/24, 6/18, 6/12 and 6/9 respectively, and the candidate will be required to read correctly down to and including line 6, with either or both eyes, with or without aids to vision.


The lantern test

Will be the same as that conducted by SAMSA for candidates seeking admission to an examination for a first certificate of competency as deck officer or fisherman. (Only available at selected SAMSA offices)

The “Ishihara” card test

Will be the test that is specified in the booklet entitled; “The Series of Plates designed as Tests for
Colour-Blindness by Doctor Shinobu Ishihara”.
NOTE: An examination candidate who is colour blind shall be limited to Day Skipper Certification. No
aids to vision to correct colour-blindness deficiencies in a candidate’s ability to pass the lantern or
Ishihara card tests will be permitted.


Medical Certificates

SAMSA Medical Certificates (These are required for Coastal Skipper ≥9m and all Offshore certificates) These certificates can only be obtained from SAMSA approved doctors, a list of which is published from time to time in a Marine Notice. The latest copy may be obtained from the nearest SAMSA port office or elsewhere on this website.

Doctors Certificates (Required for all Skipper Inland Waters, Day Skippers and Coastal Skipper

(Download an example you can use)

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