Classification of Water Bodies

What’s This?

A lesser known function of the Regional Water Activities Committee is the classification of water bodies within the region. What follows has been extracted from the Safe Scouting Policy Water Activities Practice Note (primarily, but not limited to, pages 3, 8, 9, 12).


Water bodies are classified by SSA because Water Licenses are valid for a particular activity
and class of water body.

Any Region may apply for the classification of another water body or a reclassification of a listed water body, by written application, with motivation, to the National Coordinator Water
Activities or to

There are currently four classifications of water bodies in South African Scouting:

Flat Water
The default classification for inland waters is if the water surface area, when the lake or dam
is full is greater than 500 Ha, then the body is a “Special Inland Water”.

Special Inland Water
Special Inland Waters are classified as such for safety reasons. Those responsible for water
activities on Special Inland Waters require specific training to guide them in taking responsibility for water activities on such waters. Particular safety measures may be required for safe boating on each of these waters.

White Water
All flowing water i.e. all rivers, are classified as White Water. In terms of the Safe Scouting Policy the Regional Coordinator Water Activities has the authority to reclassify a defined section of a river as flat water for a particular event and limited duration. The National Coordinator Water Activities must be given written notification, with relevant details, of the Re-Classification.

These are defined as the open sea and any open water, directly connected to and affected by the sea, that is beyond the land end of the groins, breakwaters or harbour walls that form the harbour or estuary, i.e. it is outside the limits of a harbour or estuary.

Current Classifications

The following bodies are currently classified within the Western Cape Region. The approximate surface area in Hectares (10 000 Sq. metres or 1/100 Sq. km) is also
generally shown.