Answering the Call of the Sea at the Canadian Coast Guard College

Two Coast Guard ships

Answering the Call of the Sea at the Canadian Coast Guard College

 
The Griffon: a high endurance multi-tasked vessel

Do you have what it takes to join the Canadian Coast Guard Officer Training Program?

A group of officer cadets doing marching drills
Three officer cadets chat with an instructor next to the water

The Canadian Coast Guard Officer Training Program (OTP) is an exciting opportunity to serve your country while making a real difference on Canada’s waters. The ultimate goal of the program is to train individuals to become highly motivated and competent Ship's Officers who will serve at sea in the Canadian Coast Guard fleet.

The program trains Officers in Marine Engineering and Marine Navigation. The 45-month training period encompasses in-class theory at the Canadian Coast Guard College, and practical experience at sea on Coast Guard vessels. The program provides Officer Cadets with a thorough understanding of ship operations and the latest in marine technology.

 

Marine Engineering 

Marine engineers have the awesome responsibility of operating, monitoring, and maintaining a ship's engines, electrical systems, and machinery to ensure the comfort and safety of every soul on board a vessel. Marine Engineers are responsible for operating engineering plants with cumulatively 15000+ horsepower, controlling temperatures that can range between 500C to -25C and monitoring turbo chargers that can reach up to 25,000 rpm.

Program overview

Officer Cadets studying Marine Engineering learn about the operation and maintenance of propulsion and auxiliary machinery, how to rapidly diagnose all equipment problems and execute the necessary repairs. They learn about the maintenance of various systems on the vessel such as electrical, pumps and piping systems, hydraulic power systems, fresh water generation, steam propulsion, and compressed air circuits. The Canadian Coast Guard Officer Training Program includes in-class learning, highly modernized marine simulators, and practical experience on board vessels at sea.

Marine engineering officer cadets at work in the machine shop
Officer cadets and visitors in the engineering simulator

Training for Officer Cadets in Marine Engineering is divided into the following five phases:

  • eleven months at the College
  • four months at sea aboard a Canadian Coast Guard vessel
  • sixteen months at the College
  • five months at sea aboard a Canadian Coast Guard vessel
  • nine months at the College
 

Navigation Officers are responsible for the safety of the ship, crew and any other person on board the vessel. They safely navigate a vessel through confined and congested waters in all types of weather and visibility. They are trained to understand safe navigation procedures and how to use the ship’s navigation equipment. Navigators directly supervise and coordinate the activities of the crew working on the bridge.

Program overview

Officer Cadets studying Marine Navigation learn about ship behavior due to internal and external factors such as weather and ice conditions. They also learn seamanship, cargo and stowage, signals, knots, ice-breaking, and navigating challenging environments such as narrow channels and busy harbours. Navigators learn aspects of search and rescue, fisheries enforcement procedures, environmental response, aids to navigation, celestial navigation, and maritime security. The Canadian Coast Guard Officer Training Program includes in-class learning, highly modernized marine simulators, and practical experience on board vessels at sea.

Two officer cadets receiving instruction in a marine navigation simulator
Officer cadets learning to drive a rigid hull inflatable boat

Training for Officer Cadets in Marine Navigation is divided into the following five phases:

  • eleven months at the College
  • seven months at sea aboard a Canadian Coast Guard vessel
  • ten months at the College
  • eight months at sea aboard a Canadian Coast Guard vessel
  • nine months at the College
 

What to expect as an Officer Cadet 

The Canadian Coast Guard Officer Training Program trains men and women to become capable Officers in the Canadian Coast Guard, with a strong sense of diligence, responsibility, trustworthiness, self-respect, and confidence.

As an Officer Cadet, you will master the theory and practical execution of either marine engineering or marine navigation. You will develop your physical fitness, second language skills, interpersonal relationships, and leadership abilities during your time enrolled in the program. You will conduct yourself in a professional manner fitting that of an officer at all times. Officer Cadets are on probation for the entire training program and are expected to attend all classes and perform to the best of their ability. Upon completion of the program, you will be a leader who promotes confidence and dedication to the great nation of Canada and its people. You will be responsible for the safety and security of life at sea and protecting Canada’s waters from a variety of potential hazards.

On an average day, the Canadian Coast Guard

  • Saves 15 lives
  • Assists 52 people in 27 search and rescue cases
  • Manages 1,233 vessel movement
  • Carries out 11 fisheries patrols
  • Supports 8 scientific surveys
  • Supports 3 hydrographic missions
  • Deals with 3 reported pollution events
  • Surveys 3.5 kilometres of navigation channel bottom

The Amundsen: a medium-sized icebreaking vessel

A commemorative propeller at the entrance of the Coast Guard College