The Canadian Aids to Navigation System 2011

Related Publications

1. Safe Boating Guide

The Safe Boating Guide is a valuable source of information for all boat operators. This publication contains information on equipment requirements, safety practices, operating regulations and other sources of nautical information.

This publication is available at Transport Canada's website under marine publications.

2. Catalogues of Nautical Charts and Related Publications

These catalogues identify the available nautical charts, explain the various categories of charts, list local chart distributors and give instructions for ordering.

  • Catalogue 1 – Atlantic Coast (Montreal – East)
  • Catalogue 2 – Pacific Coast
  • Catalogue 3 – Great Lakes (Manitoba – Montreal)
  • Catalogue 4 – Arctic

These are available at the Canadian Hydrographic Service website. This website also contains links and other information on related publications.

3. Chart No. 1

This publication lists all of the symbols and abbreviations used on Canadian nautical charts. Chart No.1 is available from the Canadian Hydrographic Service website.

4. Charts

Nautical charts show hazards and aids to navigation, features of the coastline, the contour of the seabed and natural and artificial features in the area. They are available in various scales. Consult the catalogues to find the chart that covers the area of interest to you. A listing of local chart dealers is available at the Canadian Hydrographic Service website.

5. Sailing Directions

These publications include Sailing Directions and Small Craft Guides which give detailed descriptions of various waterways, including pictures of some harbour entrances, facilities available, etc. Sailing directions are available from local Canadian Hydrographic Service chart dealers, a listing of which is available at Canadian Hydrographic Service website.

6. Radio Aids to Marine Navigation

Published annually in 2 volumes, this publication provides information concerning Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centres, consolidated information concerning Vessel Traffic Services, Environment Canada marine and ice warning and forecast programs. In addition, it lists the location and characteristics of marine radio aids to navigation, i.e. Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), and RACONs.

This publication is available for download at Radio Aids to Marine Navigation under Marine Communications and Traffic Services website.

7. List of Lights, Buoys and Fog Signals

This publication contains information on the characteristics and position of shore lights, lighted buoys and fog signals for various regions. It is available in English and French for the following regions.

  • Newfoundland (includes coastal Labrador)
  • Atlantic Coast (includes Gulf & River St. Lawrence to Montreal)
  • Inland Waters (west of Montreal, east of British Columbia)
  • Pacific Coast (includes rivers & lakes of British Columbia)

The Lists of Lights, Buoys and Fog Signals are available for download at the NOTMAR website.

8. Notices to Shipping

Notices to Shipping (NOTSHIP) are issued as radio broadcasts through Marine Communication and Traffic Service Centres. These broadcasts contain a variety of information that affects the immediate safety of the mariner (e.g. malfunction of aids to navigation, new hazards or changes to aids). Written NOTSHIP alerts are issued when the location of the hazard is beyond broadcast range, or when the information remains in effect for an extended period of time.

For more information, visit the NOTSHIP website

9. Notices to Mariners Web Site

The Canadian Coast Guard’s Notices to Mariners (NOTMAR) Web Site is a free 24-hour service providing mariners with safety advisories and corrections (current and archived) to charts and nautical publications. It is the continuous means employed by the Canadian Coast Guard to promulgate information required by the master, pilot or person in charge of the navigation of a vessel, as well as other interested parties, to correct charts; Lists of Lights, Buoys and Fog Signals and other associated publications carried on board ships in Canadian waters. Mariners are also informed of navigational hazards such as shoals and wrecks, as well as the enactment of regulations and the establishment of procedures governing vessel entry into and transit in Canadian waters.

The services offered through NOTMAR, are as follows:

  • Monthly Notices to Mariners (Eastern and Western)
  • Annual Notices to Mariners (national publication)
  • Lists of Lights, Buoys and Fog Signals (4 volumes, Newfoundland, Inland Waters, Atlantic and Pacific Coast)
  • Annual summary of Temporary and Preliminary notices (T & P’s)
  • Archive notices dating back to 1996
  • A quick search on chart correction notices, updated weekly
  • 2 subscription services – tailored services, based on client profiling:
    • weekly/monthly chart updates – subscribe for this service 
    • monthly Notices to Mariners complete publications – subscribe for this service

10. Annual Notices to Mariners

Published annually at the beginning of each year, it contains information on a wide variety of subjects of concern to the mariner. Subjects covered include:

  • aids to navigation
  • military exercise areas
  • marine regulations
  • charts and publications
  • pollution and causalities
  • marine safety
  • search and rescue

The Annual Notices to Mariners is available for download at the NOTMAR website

11. Tide and Current Tables

This publication contains daily tide predictions for all Canadian reference ports along with tidal differences for secondary ports. Daily current predictions are also included for selected stations. Tide and Current tables are published in 7 volumes and are listed in the Catalogues of Nautical Charts.

  • Volume 1 – Atlantic Coast and Bay of Fundy
  • Volume 2 – Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • Volume 3 – St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers
  • Volume 4 – Arctic and Hudson Bay
  • Volume 5 – Juan de Fuca and Georgia Straits
  • Volume 6 – Barkley Sound and Discovery Passage to Dixon Entrance
  • Volume 7 – Queen Charlotte Sound to Dixon Entrance

12. Safe Boating Information and Courses

Safe boating information and a complete listing of safe boating courses is available through Transport Canada’s Marine Safety under the Office of Boating Safety.

13. Legislation and Regulations

Regulations such as the Collision Regulations, Private Buoy Regulations, Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations and related legislation including the Canada Shipping Act 2001, and The Oceans Act can be found in full text at Justice Canada.

14. Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations (1995)

These regulations outline the requirements for carrying the appropriate nautical charts and publications while operating any vessel. Full text for this regulation can also be found at Justice Canada.

15. An Owner’s Guide to Private Buoys

This guide will help private buoy owners to understand and apply Canada’s laws and requirements, and inform them of their responsibilities when placing a private buoy.

This publication can be obtained online through Transport Canada’s Marine Safety under publications.

16. GPS / DGPS Made Easy

This booklet provides mariners with a basic understanding of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), and assists them in choosing the most appropriate receiver for their needs. This booklet is available through the Canadian Coast Guard website under the Aids to Navigation Program publications.

17. Primer on GPS and DGPS

This publication provides a technical overview of the Global Positioning sys tem (GPS) and the Differential Global Positioning system (DGPS). It is available through the Canadian Coast Guard website under the Aids to Navigation Program publications.