Marine Communications and Traffic Services MCTS

Notices to Shipping (NOTSHIPs)

Pacific Coast

Pacific Coast NOTSHIPs

Regional Operations Centre

Tel: 250-413-2842
Email: Notship.Western@innav.gc.ca

 
Central Canada and the Arctic

Central Canada and Arctic NOTSHIPs

Central Canada and Arctic NOTSHIPs, include:

  • Arctic Waters
  • Great Lakes Basin
  • Trent Severn Waterway
  • Lake Winnipeg
  • Mackenzie Delta
  • Mackenzie River
  • Great Slave Lake

Iqaluit Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre

PO Box 189
Iqaluit, NU
X0A 0H0
Telephone: (867) 979-5269
Fax: (867) 979-4264
Email: iqanordreg@innav.gc.ca

Prescott Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre

401 King Street West
Prescott, ON
K0E 1T0

Telephone: (613) 925-0666
Fax: (613) 925-4519
Email: notshipC&A@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

 
Quebec

Quebec NOTSHIPs

Quebec NOTSHIPs include:

  • DGPS
  • îles de la Madeleine
  • Lac des Deux Montagnes
  • Les Escoumins to Pointe Ouest (Anticosti)
  • SLS / Melocheville to Montreal
  • Pointe Ouest (Anticosti) to Chaleur Bay
  • Pointe Ouest (Anticosti) to Blanc-Sablon
  • Port of Montreal
  • Port of Quebec
  • Port of Trois-Rivieres
  • Quebec to Les Escoumins
  • St. Lawrence
  • Riviere des Prairies
  • Ottawa River
  • Riviere Richelieu
  • Saguenay River
  • Sorel to Trois-Rivieres
  • Trois-Rivieres to Quebec
 
Maritime Provinces

Maritime provinces NOTSHIPs

Maritime provinces NOTSHIPs, include:

  • Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saint John Harbour & Saint John River
  • Cabot Strait
  • Cape Breton Island
  • Chaleur Bay
  • Chedabuco Bay
  • East Coast, Nova Scotia
  • Gulf of St. Lawrence, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island
  • Halifax Harbour and approaches
  • Miramichi Bay and River
  • Nova Scotia
  • NAVAREA IV
  • Northumberland Strait, New Brunswich, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Regional
  • Sable Island
  • Southeast Coast, Nova Scotia
  • Southwest Coast, Nova Scotia
  • Strait of Canso

Sydney Marine Communications and Traffic Services

1190 Westmount Road
Sydney, Nova Scotia
B1R 2J6

Phone: (902) 564-7751
Toll Free: 1-800-686-8676
Email: NotshipsSyd@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

 
Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador NOTSHIPs

Newfoundland and Labrador NOTSHIPs, include:

  • East Coast
  • East Coast - Northeast Coast
  • Funk Island Bank
  • Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • Labrador
  • Labrador Coast
  • Northeast Coast
  • Nothern Grand Banks
  • Northern Peninsula
  • Northwest Atlantic
  • South Coast
  • South Labrador Coast
  • South/Southwest Coast
  • Southeastern Grand Banks
  • Southwest Coast
  • Southwestern Grand Ganks
  • Strait of Belle Isle
  • West Coast

Port aux Basques Marine Communications and Traffic Services

P.O. Box 99
49 Stadium Road
Port aux Basques, NL
A0M 1C0

Phone: (709) 695-2168
Fax: (709) 695-3833
Email: notshippax@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

About NOTSHIPs

Notices to Shipping

Notices to shipping (NOTSHIPs) are notices concerning Navigational Aid changes or defects, fishing zones, military exercises, dredging, or other marine hazards. Contain information for all boaters and is intended to inform the marine community of hazards, current activities and other pertinent information.

Broadcast Notices to Shipping

Broadcast Notices to Shipping contain information releases of an urgent nature, broadcast through Marine Communication and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centres, where applicable. They cover the establishment, condition or change in condition of a marine facility, service, procedure, or hazard provided to the mariner and the public immediately, and remains in effect for a limited period of time or until the matter is covered by a written NOTSHIP or Notice to Mariners.

Written Notices to Shipping

Written Notices to Shipping contain information which is anticipated to remain in effect for an extended period of time as determined by the RMIC. These notices have previously been broadcast in full for an initial period of 48 hours and then placed for an additional period of 5 days, on an Active NOTSHIP List which lists the NOTSHIP number and gives a brief description of each one.

Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN) 2016

RAMN 2016 - Atlantic, St. Lawrence, Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and Arctic
RAMN 2016 - Pacific and Arctic

 

About RAMN

The main purpose of the Radio Aids Marine Navigation (RAMN) publication is to present information on radio communications and radio navigational aids services provided in Canada by the Canadian Coast Guard.  Radio facilities of other government agencies that contribute to the safety of ships in Canadian waters are also included.


RAMN is published in two editions:  one for the Atlantic Coast, Gulf and St. Lawrence River to Montréal, Eastern Arctic (including Hudson Bay and Strait), the Great Lakes (including St. Lawrence River to Montréal) and Lake Winnipeg; the other for the Pacific Coast, Western Arctic and the Athabasca-Mackenzie Watershed area.  Each edition is also available in French.


RAMN is an annual publication however; monthly updates to the document occur as required, they are advertised by radio broadcast via NOTSHIPs and/or in Section 3 of Notices to Mariners.


Every ship station fitted on a Canadian ship or on a non-Canadian ship engaged in the coasting trade of Canada, pursuant to the Ship Station (Radio) Regulations 1999, and all ships in waters under Canadian jurisdiction, pursuant to the Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations, 1995, are required to carry the most recent applicable edition of RAMN.


Any inquiries as to the contents of RAMN or reports of errors or omissions should be directed to the nearest regional office as indicated at the end of Part 1.

 

Acceptance of Nautical publications in electronic form in Canada - Transport Canada

Open Information License

 

Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)

GMDSS Information for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) vessels, fishermen and recreational boaters
 

What is GMDSS?

The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is an international system which uses improved terrestrial and satellite technology and ship-board radio systems. It ensures rapid alerting of shore-based rescue and communications authorities in the event of an emergency. In addition, the system alerts vessels in the immediate vicinity and provides improved means of locating survivors.

GMDSS was developed through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and represents a significant change in the way maritime safety communications are conducted. While it is mandatory for all ships subject to the International Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) (cargo ships 300 gross tons or greater and all passenger vessels, on international voyages), GMDSS will impact on all radio-equipped vessels, regardless of size. The global implementation of GMDSS services became effective on February 1, 1999.

Why GMDSS?

GMDSS was developed to SAVE LIVES by modernizing and enhancing the current radiocommunications system. By utilizing satellite and digital selective calling technology, GMDSS provides a more effective distress alerting system. It improves the current system by:

  • increasing the probability that an alert will be sent when a vessel is in distress;
  • increasing the likelihood that the alert will be received;
  • increasing the ability to locate survivors;
  • improving rescue communications and coordination; and
  • providing mariners with vital maritime safety information.

GMDSS Equipment

Digital Selective Calling (DSC)

The traditional marine radio (VHF/MF/HF) has been enhanced with the addition of a feature known as DSC. This feature enables vessels to automatically maintain the required watch on distress and calling channels instead of the current aural listening watch. A DSC receiver will only respond to the vessel's unique Maritime Mobile Service Identity number (MMSI#), similar to a telephone number, or to an "All Ships" DSC call within range. Once contact has been made by DSC, follow-up communications take place by voice on another frequency.

Satellite Communications

The Inmarsat satellite network provides global communications, except for the polar regions. In areas without any VHF or MF DSC shore facilities, Inmarsat A, B or C terminals are used for distress alerting and communications between ship and shore. Inmarsat provides an efficient means of routing distress alerts to Search and Rescue (SAR) authorities.

Emergency Position Indicating Radiobeacon (EPIRB)

GMDSS makes use of the COSPAS-SARSAT Satellite System which provides global detection of 406 Megahertz (MHz) EPIRBs. These beacons are small, portable, buoyant, and provide an effective means of issuing a distress alert anywhere in the world. Float free EPIRBs (class 1) have been required on most Canadian commercial vessels 20m or more in length since 1989, and are highly recommended for all vessels. Owners must register these EPIRBs in the national beacon database (1-800-727-9414).

406 MHz COSPAS/SARSAT EPIRB
406 MHz COSPAS/SARSAT EPIRB

SART dots on radar screen

SART dots on radar screen

Examples of SARTs

Examples of SARTs

 

Search And Rescue Transponder (SART)

SARTs are portable radar transponders used to help locate survivors of distressed vessels, which have sent a distress alert. They are detected by radar and therefore operate in the same frequency range as radars carried onboard most vessels. SARTs transmit in response to received radar signals and show up on a vessel's radar screen as a series of dots, accurately indicating the position of the SART. In the event that a ship must be abandoned, SARTs should be taken aboard survival craft.

Maritime Safety Information (MSI)

Maritime Safety Information broadcasts, which comprise distress alerts, SAR information, navigational and weather warnings, as well as forecasts, can be received in three different ways in GMDSS:

  • NAVTEX receivers are fully automatic and receive broadcasts in coastal regions up to 300 nautical miles offshore.
  • Inmarsat-C terminals receive Enhanced Group Call - SafetyNET (EGC) broadcasts for areas outside NAVTEX coverage.
  • HF Narrow Band Direct Printing (NBDP) receivers can be used where service is available as an alternate to EGC.

GMDSS Sea Areas - International

Canada Map

Although ship-to-ship alerting is still an important function in GMDSS, the emphasis is on two way communications between ships and shore facilities. All GMDSS ships must be capable of communicating with the shore and transmitting a distress alert by two different means. The equipment carried by a GMDSS ship is therefore determined by its area of operation and the availability of shore-based communications services.

There are four "Sea Areas" defined internationally in the GMDSS:

Sea Area A1 Within range of shore-based VHF DSC coast station (40 nautical miles)
Sea Area A2 Within range of shore-based MF DSC coast station (excluding sea areas A1)(150 nautical miles)
Sea Area A3 Within the coverage of an Inmarsat geostationary satellite (approximately 70°N to 70°S) (excluding sea areas A1 & A2)
Sea Area A4 The remaining areas outside sea areas A1, A2 & A3 (polar regions)

GMDSS Sea Areas - Canada

In Canada, as a result of consultations with the Canadian marine industry it has been decided to implement sea areas A1 on the east and west coasts.  Outside of A1 will be an A3 sea area with an A4 sea area in the Arctic.

Communications Between GMDSS Vessels & Non-GMDSS Vessels

GMDSS ships maintain an automated listening watch on VHF DSC ch 70 and MF DSC 2187.5 kHz. This creates the situation, during the transition to GMDSS, where vessels fitted with traditional, non-GMDSS radio equipment, may have difficulties alerting or contacting a GMDSS ship. The Coast Guard is addressing this by monitoring both GMDSS and traditional distress frequencies during the transition. Although the final date for the cessation of mandatory watchkeeping on VHF ch 16 by SOLAS ships is under review by the IMO, all vessels should fit VHF DSC as soon as practicable to keep the transition period short.

Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centres

To help ease the transition to GMDSS and bridge the communication gap between the two systems, Canadian Coast Guard MCTS Centres will continue to monitor the current distress and safety channels VHF Ch16 and MF 2182 kHz for the foreseeable future. Once Canada's sea areas have all been implemented, lower cost DSC equipment is available, and it is determined that these services are no longer required, these listening watches will be discontinued. This decision will be evaluated at that time.

To supplement the broadcasting of Maritime Safety Information (MSI) on NAVTEX and INMARSAT EGC, MCTS Centres will continue safety broadcasts using the existing VHF continuous marine broadcast system and on the MF and HF radio bands.

Canadian Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centres (JRCC) and Maritime Rescue Sub-Centres (MRSC)

Canadian JRCCs and MRSCs will continue to receive distress alerts transmitted by vessels and relayed via MCTS or satellite. When a GMDSS distress alert is received, the centre must re-issue an "all ships" broadcast in the vicinity so that vessels in the immediate area are aware and can respond. Search and Rescue will task aircraft and vessels at this time. If a distress alert is sent in error, the Coast Guard MCTS Centre or JRCC/MRSC should be notified immediately so that these resources can be "stood-down".

More information can be obtained by contacting

Transport Canada - Marine Safety Regional Offices
Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centres

 

Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centres across Canada

What is a Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre?

The Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres provide distress and safety call monitoring and coordinate responses, broadcast maritime safety information (weather and navigational warnings), screen vessels entering canadian waters, deliver information and advice to regulate marine traffic movement, and take appropriate action to ensure the safe and efficient movement of vessels in Canadian waters. 

Why is the Canadian Coast Guard modernizing its infrastructure?

The Canadian Coast Guard is modernizing and investing in its infrastructure to take advantage of today’s latest technological innovations to deliver Marine Communications and Traffic Services at strategic locations across the country. The modernized MCTS centres will enhance the operational effectiveness of services. Equipment will be more reliable, service disruptions will be reduced, and coverage will remain exactly as it is today because the network of radio and radar towers across Canada will not change.

Watch this video explaining the benefits of the initiative for mariners:

Accessible version and transcript of the video

Questions and Answers on Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centres

Why is the Canadian Coast Guard modernizing?

Why is the Canadian Coast Guard modernizing?

The Government of Canada is investing in Coast Guard’s infrastructure to take advantage of today’s latest technological innovations to deliver Marine Communications and Traffic Services at strategic locations across the country.

Canadians that rely on the Canadian Coast Guard services will continue to receive the high-quality service they have come to expect. CCG has invested in its infrastructure throughout the years to provide safety services to mariners.

What services are provided by MCTS Centres?

What services are provided by MCTS Centres?

MCTS centres primarily broadcast information and monitor vessel traffic. These services include providing marine distress and general radiocommunications, broadcasting maritime safety information, screening of vessels entering Canadian waters, regulating vessel traffic in selected Canadian waters, and sharing of marine information to other federal government departments and agencies.

How will modernizing technologies at MCTS Centres improve services?

How will modernizing technologies at MCTS Centres improve services?

The Government of Canada is investing in the Coast Guard’s infrastructure to take advantage of today’s latest technologies to deliver Marine Communications and Traffic Services at strategic locations across the country,

The modernized MCTS centres will provide a more efficient delivery of services and reduced service disruptions. They will monitor the same area of coverage, as the network of radio and radar towers across the country will not change.

Better connected centres equipped with modern technology will ensure improved and increased reliability of services.

The new text-to-speech application translates text such as weather reports, and broadcasts it over the radio, freeing employees from having to record messages, permitting them to place an even greater focus on the safety services for mariners.

The new technology being installed at the 12 newly modernized MCTS centres offers high flexibility, functionality and a broad range of radio broadcasting. It allows for future expansion and can easily adapt to future technology trends.

Why are MCTS centres being modernized at this time?

Why are MCTS centres being modernized at this time?

Consolidation of Marine Communications and Traffic Services is not new; in fact, the Coast Guard has upgraded the capacity of these centres over the last 30 years using new and more effective radio and navigation technology, integrating services into fewer MCTS centres. For example, in the 1990s, the Coast Guard used new technology, reducing the number of centres from 44 to 22.

This modernization project was first announced in 2011and reflects the continuous efforts of the Government of Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard to improve services to mariners.

How do you know the new technology is working properly?

How do you know the new technology is working properly?

CCG is confident of the functionality of the new technology, and will proceed with a staggered approach to modernizing and consolidating MCTS centres across the country.

CCG has successfully completed rigorous testing of both the Continuous Marine Broadcast system (CMB), which provides text-to-speech marine weather broadcasts for mariners, and the Communications Control System. The systems are fully functional and ready for installation to modernize specific MCTS centres.

What will happen between the time the old system is taken off line and the new one comes into effect?

What will happen between the time the old system is taken off line and the new one comes into effect?

The transition will be seamless. Existing systems will remain in place until the new systems are ready to go live. There will be no change in MCTS services to mariners.

Why are MCTS centres being modernized on different dates?

Why are MCTS centres being modernized on different dates?

A phased roll-out schedule has been developed to ensure a smooth transition during each step of modernization and consolidation.

CCG is carefully assessing and confirming the systems are operating efficiently at each centre before the new systems go live.

CCG expects centres to be fully modernized approximately one month after installing the modernized technology at each centre.

Western Region

The Marine Communications and Traffic Services centre (MCTS) provides marine safety communications co-ordination with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria. MCTS centres provide vessel traffic services and waterway management, broadcast weather and safety information; sail plan services in addition to support for other government and marine agencies.

The Canadian Coast Guard, Western Region, operates three Vessel Traffic Services Zones: Vancouver, Tofino and Prince Rupert. The Vancouver zone includes waters from the northern tip of Vancouver Island, down the inside passage and the Gulf of Georgia to Victoria. The Vancouver zone is divided up into four sectors, managed by Victoria MCTS, while the west coast of Vancouver Island and the central and north coast is managed by Prince Rupert.

For more information about Marine Communications and Traffic Services in the Western Region, please contact:

MCTS Regional Office
Canadian Coast Guard, Western Region
Victoria Coast Guard Base
25 Huron Street
Victoria BC V8V 4V9
Telephone: 250-363-8904
Email: mcts@pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca (General Enquiries)

Cooperative Vessel Traffic Services (CVTS)

The United States Coast Guard operates the Puget Sound VTS system, Seattle Traffic, from Seattle, Washington. A cooperative Vessel Traffic Services Agreement (CVTS) exists between Canada and the US. As part of the Agreement, Prince Rupert Traffic provides VTS for the offshore approaches to the Juan de Fuca Strait and along the Washington State coastline from 48 degrees north. Seattle Traffic provides VTS for both the Canadian and US waters of Juan de Fuca Strait and Victoria Traffic provides VTS for both Canadian and US waters of Haro Strat, Boundary Passage, and the lower Georgia Straits.

On a typical voyage from Japan to Vancouver, a freighter will be provided with many VTS services. It will obtain a clearance from "CVTS Offshore". When the freighter arrives within 12 nautical miles from Vancouver Island, Prince Rupert Traffic will communicate with the ship using one of several remote VHF sites and track the vessel on radar into the Juan de Fuca Strait. Seattle Traffic will monitor the ship's movement from four remote radar's as it passes through the Juan de Fuca Strait. The last six hours of its trip will be monitored by Victoria Traffic using five remote radar/VHF sites.

For more information, please visit the Co-operative Vessel Traffic Service website.

Area Whiskey Golf (WG)

Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges Exercise Area W.G.

The Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges, situated in the Strait of Georgia, tests ship's systems and torpedoes.

No explosives whatsoever are used: however, a hazard exists due to the possibility of vessels being struck by an unarmed torpedo on its way to the surface.

Area 'WG' constitutes a "defence establishment" as defined in the National Defence Act to which the Defence Controlled Access Area Regulations apply.

The area, designated AREA 'WG' (Whiskey Golf) is clearly marked on Canadian Hydrographic Charts 3512 and 3459. 

Additional information as to active hours may be obtained from:

  • Continuous Marine Broadcast (CMB) WX1 and VHF 21B (listen only)
  • Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre (MCTS) located in Victoria
  • Winchelseas Island Control VHF Channel 10 or 16
  • Notices to shipping

Due to countless requests from vessels (at times only minutes from other calls), mariners approaching Area 'WG' and wishing to find out if Area 'WG' is active or not are requested to monitor CMB channel prior to calling.

Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI)

Marine Weather Guide Pacific Coast 

Remote sites may include: transmitter sites, receiver sites, radars, cameras, microwave systems, satellite dishes, and various other equipment.

MCTS Network - Western Region

MCTS Network - Western Region
 
Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert MCTS Centre

 

Modernized Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre in Prince Rupert.

Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre in Prince Rupert before the modernization.

Prince Rupert Radio opened in 1911. The cable to the mainland was laid and a landline was built along the Grand Trunk poles to the city of Prince Rupert. The opening of the Prince Rupert station marked the completion of a chain of communication extending from Vancouver to northern British Columbia. The province now had full coverage of its coast. The chain of stations provided the only means of communication with the Queen Charlotte Islands, plus offering communications services to commercial stations installed by owners, canneries, and paper mills.

The station covered the entrance to Prince Rupert Harbour as well as the surrounding waters of Digby Island.

On January 8, 1924, a portion of the quarantine wharf collapsed during a heavy gale, thus severing the telegraph cable to Prince Rupert. The cable was beyond repair. Temporary wireless communications were established with Prince Rupert by installing small valve equipment in the Prince Rupert Post Office building in town.

The station would remain at Digby Island, until 1967 when its services were combined with those of Prince Rupert radio. In 1981, marine communications were moved to Seal Cove.

Like many other centres across Canada, the Prince Rupert MCTS saw integration of both radio and Vessel Traffic Services function in 1996. New console configurations were drawn up and installed making multi-tasking Radio/VTS operations a reality. The Prince Rupert MCTS Centre controls communications site at Hunter Point, Barry Inlet, Rose Inlet, Cumshewa, Dundas Island, Kitimat, Klemtu, Mount Dent, Mount Gil, Mount Hays, Naden Harbour, Calvert Island, Digby Island and Van Inlet.

In the spring of 2015, services from Tofino MCTS were consolidated to Prince Rupert, bringing radar to Mt. Ozzard covering the approaches to the entrance to Juan de Fuca and communication sites for the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Prince Rupert MCTS Contact Information

  • MCTS Operations Supervisor: 250-627-3070 
  • Marine Emergencies on Cellular: *16
  • Officer-in-Charge: 250-627-3077 
  • Continuous Marine Broadcast (CMB) South: 250-726-3415
  • Continuous Marine Broadcast (CMB) North: 250-624-9009
  • Facsimile: 250-624-9075
  • Email: supervisor.rupert@innav.gc.ca
  • Maritime Mobile Service Identity Number: 003160013

For Prince Rupert (VAJ) Ship-shore Communications and broadcast schedules, refer to the CCG Publication, Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN) Pacific and Western Arctic

For further information on Prince Rupert MCTS, contact:
Canadian Coast Guard
Officer-in-Charge - MCTS Operations
Prince Rupert MCTS Centre
Bag 4444
Prince Rupert, BC V8J 4K2

Area of Responsibility

MCTS Network - Western Region
 
Victoria

Victoria MCTS Centre

Victoria MCTS is Canada’s newest MCTS centre, and its operational positions were formerly part of Vancouver MCTS. Prior to 1997, Vancouver MCTS was an amalgam of Vancouver Coast Guard Radio and Vancouver Traffic, which were previously located at the Vancouver South Air Terminal and West Vancouver’s Kapilano-100 building respectively. Victoria MCTS separated operationally from Vancouver MCTS in 1997, and moved to its present home at Patricia Bay, near Victoria, on December 15th, 1999.

Located at the Fisheries & Oceans Science and Maintenance facility at Patricia Bay on Vancouver Island, Victoria MCTS provides Coast Guard Radio and Vessel Traffic coverage to British Columbia’s southern inside waters; specifically all waters between Juan de Fuca Strait to the south, and Pine Island to the north.

As well, radar coverage is complete on all major waterways. However, due to geographical topography, some areas of the waters of the inside Gulf Islands and the Fraser River are radar blind. All communications coverage is provided by five (5) remote sites at Bowen Island, Annacis Island, Mount Parke, Mount Newton and Mount Helmcken. The radar coverage is accomplished through four remote sites co-located with the communication sites at Bowen, Parke, Newton and Helmcken.

MCTS Victoria

With the exception of Medium Frequency/High Frequency communications and Navtex, Victoria MCTS provides mariners with most services offered by DFO/CCG MCTS.

Being situated between British Columbia’s lower mainland shoreline and Vancouver Island, the Victoria MCTS area of responsibility has one of Canada’s highest concentrations of small pleasure craft, and hence the largest share of Search & Rescue operations in the country. From a VTS perspective, all deep draught vessels inbound and outbound from Vancouver, all of the tugs with tows and coastal freighters involved in the Washington and Alaska state trade must pass though those waters regulated by the officers at Victoria MCTS. All this combined with the local commercial trade demonstrate that this centre has the highest number of vessel traffic movements in the country.

Victoria MCTS Contact Information:

  • MCTS Operations Supervisor: 250-363-6333 
  • Marine Emergencies on Cellular: *16
  • Officer-in-Charge: 250-363-6818 
  • Continuous Marine Broadcast (CMB) Mount Helmcken: 250-363-6880
  • Continuous Marine Broadcast (CMB) Bowen Island/Mount Parke: 250-363-6492
  • Continuous Marine Broadcast (CMB) Bowen Island/Mount Parke: 604-666-3655
  • Continuous Marine Broadcast (CMB) Mid Island Area: 250-339-0748
  • Continuous Marine Broadcast (CMB) North Island Area: 250-974-5305 
  • Facsimile: 250-363-6556
  • Email: mctsvictoria@pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca 
  • Maritime Mobile Service Identity Number: 003160011

For Victoria (VAK) Ship-shore Communications and broadcast schedules, refer to the CCG Publication, Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN) Pacific and Western Arctic

For further information on Victoria MCTS, contact:

Canadian Coast Guard
Officer-in-Charge – MCTS Operations
Victoria MCTS Centre
Institute of Ocean Sciences
9860 West Saanich Road
P.O. Box 6000
Sidney BC
V8L 4B2

MCTS Safety Services

Map showing waters covered by MCTS Safety Services only.
 

Central and Arctic Region

The Central and Arctic Region comprises a vast area of responsibility, which includes the Canadian waters of the Arctic, the Athabasca-Mackenzie watershed, Hudson Bay, Lake Winnipeg, the Great Lakes Basin, and the St. Lawrence Waterway.

For more information about Marine Communications and Traffic Services in the Central and Arctic Region, please contact:

Canadian Coast Guard
Central and Arctic Region
101, Champlain Boulevard
Québec, QC
G1K 7Y7

Area of Responsibility (East) - Before Consolidation

Area of Responsibility (East) - After Consolidation

 

Area of responsibility Arctic - Before consolidation

Area of responsibility Arctic - After consolidation

 

Area of Responsibility (West) - Before Consolidation

Area of Responsibility (West) - After Consolidation

 

Remote sites may include: transmitter sites, receiver sites, radars, cameras, microwave systems, satellite dishes, and various other equipment.

 
Iqaluit

Iqaluit MCTS Centre

Located on Baffin Island at the northern end of Koojesse Inlet (Frobisher Bay), the Iqaluit MCTS Centre is responsible for an area which includes the navigable Canadian Arctic waters, the waters of Hudson Strait, Hudson and James Bays, and the Athabasca-Mackenzie watershed. Radio coverage in the Medium Frequency, High Frequency, and Very High Frequency bands is provided from eleven (11) remotely controlled transmit/receive sites. The Centre is operational on a seasonal basis, and is staffed from early May through late December annually.

Iqaluit MCTS Centre administers the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone Regulations (NORDREG) during its operational season. When the Centre is seasonally closed, the NORDREG function is administered from Prescott MCTS Centre.

Iqaluit MCTS Centre provides the voluntary Mackenzie River Marine Safety Advisory System for vessels moving on the waters of the Mackenzie River, from the western end of Great Slave Lake through to the waters of Kugmallit Bay, during its operational season.

Iqaluit MCTS Centre issues Notices to Shipping (NOTSHIPs) for the "A" series for information concerning the water of the Arctic and the applicable waters of the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone Regulations (NORDREG), and for the "H" series for information concerning the waters of the Athabasca-Mackenzie watershed. During its operational season, Iqaluit MCTS Centre supports the delivery of the NAVAREA Warning system for NAVAREAs XVII and XVIII by rebroadcast of NAVAREA Warnings on HF Narrow Band Direct Printing (NBDP) to areas north of and beyond satellite footprint coverage.

External view of the MCTS Iqaluit Center

MCTS Officer inside MCTS Iqaluit Center

Iqaluit MCTS Centre Contact Information:

  • MCTS Operations: 867-979-5269 
  • Officer-in-Charge: 867-979-5260 
  • Facsimile: 867-979-4264 
  • Email NORDREG : iqanordreg@innav.gc.ca (from approximately mid-May to late December)
  • Telex: 063-15529 NORDREG CDA
  • Maritime Mobile Service Identity Number: 003160023 

For Iqaluit MCTS (VFF) Ship-shore Communications and broadcast schedules, refer to the CCG Publication, Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN) Atlantic, Great Lakes, St Lawrence, Lake Winnipeg and Arctic and Pacific and Arctic.

For further information on Iqaluit MCTS, contact:
Canadian Coast Guard
Officer-in-Charge - MCTS Operations
Iqaluit MCTS Centre / NORDREG Canada
P.O. Box 189
Iqaluit, NU
X0A 0H0

Sarnia

Sarnia MCTS Centre

Located near the head of the St Clair River, the Sarnia MCTS Centre is responsible for an area which includes the waters of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, the Canadian waters of Lakes Superior and Huron, the western and middle portions of Lake Erie, the North Channel of Lake Huron, Georgian Bay, Lake St Clair, and the waters of the St Mary's, St Clair and Detroit Rivers. Radio coverage is provided from sixteen (16) remotely controlled transmit/receive sites covering the Great Lakes basin, as well as an additional four (4) remotely controlled transmit/receive sites covering Lake Winnipeg. VHF direction-finding service on Georgian Bay is provided using two additional receiver sites.

Sarnia MCTS Centre administers the St Clair and Detroit River Navigation Safety Regulations for the mandatory reporting system established through the waterway connecting Lake Huron to Lake Erie (St Clair River, Lake St Clair and Detroit River), as well as a voluntary reporting system for the waters of Lakes Huron and Lake Erie (west of Long Point).

The Sarnia MCTS Centre operates the Alerting and Warning Network (AWN) for occurrences within the waters of the Arctic, Manitoba and the Great Lakes basin. The AWN is a communication system that disseminates information concerning maritime incidents to allow for a quick and effective response by various provincial and federal departments and agencies, municipalities and other response organizations.

Sarnia MCTS Centre Contact Information:

  • MCTS Operations Supervisor: 519-337-6221 
  • Officer-in-Charge: 519-337-6572 
  • Facsimile: 519-336-0229 
  • Email: Supervisor.Sarnia@innav.gc.ca
  • Maritime Mobile Service Identity Number: 003160030

For Sarnia (VBE) Ship-shore Communications and broadcast schedules, refer to the CCG Publication, Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN) Atlantic, Great Lakes, St Lawrence, Lake Winnipeg and Arctic

For further information on Sarnia MCTS, contact:
Canadian Coast Guard
Officer-in-Charge – MCTS Operations
Sarnia MCTS Centre
P.O. Box 2778
Sarnia ON
N7T 7W1

Prescott

Prescott MCTS Centre

Prescott MCTS Centre is located on the north shore of the St Lawrence River, just west of the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge. Prescott MCTS Centre is responsible for an area which includes the eastern end of Lake Erie (east of Long Point), the Niagara River, the Welland Canal, Lake Ontario, and the waters of the St Lawrence (River and Seaway) between Lake Ontario and the Québec/Ontario border, as well as the waters of the Rideau Waterway and the Trent Canal System (including Lake Simcoe). Radio coverage is provided from eight (8) remotely controlled transmit/receive sites, as well as VHF-Direction finding receiver at an additional site.

Prescott MCTS Centre issues Notices to Shipping (NOTSHIPs) in the "C" series for information concerning the waters of Lake Winnipeg and the Great Lakes Basin. The Centre is also responsible for the issuance of NAVAREA Warnings for NAVAREA XVII and XVIII, and administers NORDREG from late December to mid-May, during the seasonal closure of the Iqaluit MCTS Centre.

Prescott MCTS Contact Information:

For Prescott MCTS (VBR) Ship-shore Communications and broadcast schedules, refer to the CCG Publication, Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN) Atlantic, Great Lakes, St Lawrence, Lake Winnipeg and Arctic or Pacific and Arctic.


For further information on Prescott MCTS, contact:
Canadian Coast Guard
Officer-in-Charge – MCTS Operations
Prescott MCTS Centre
P.O. Box 1000
401 King Street West
Prescott, ON
K0E 1T0

Quebec

MCTS in Quebec

Located in the Port of Québec, this Centre serves the navigable waters of the St. Lawrence between Île Blanche and the St. Lawrence Seaway. It also serves a large clientele of recreational boaters plying the waters of the Ottawa, Des-Prairies, Mille-Îles and Richelieu Rivers, Lake St. Louis, Saint François Lake, Lac des Deux Montagnes and the St. Lawrence River.

Very High Frequency coverage is provided by ten (10) Very High Frequency sites.

Three radar sites located at the Port of Québec, on Île Charron and under the Jacques-Cartier Bridge enable staff at the Québec Centre to track vessel movements.

The Centre is also responsible for applying the under-keel clearance standards in the Île d’Orléans Traverse du Nord sector and upstream from the Port of Québec to Montreal. By establishing appropriate times for passage (passage windows), deep-draft vessels can transit safely with the tides.

The Québec MCTS Centre operates the Alerting and Warning Network (AWN) covering the Quebec Region. The AWN is a communication system designed to allow Quebec region marine stakeholders (including federal and provincial departments and organizations, municipalities, recue organizations, maritime industry, etc.) to respond to marine emergencies in a rapid, efficient and collaborative manner.

External view of MCTS Quebec

Internal view of MCTS Quebec

 

To reach the Québec MCTS Centre (VCC):

Operations
Telephone: 418-648-4427
Facsimile: 418-648-7244
MMSI number: 00 316 0027

Alerting and Warning Network (AWN)
Toll free: 1-800-363-4735
Telephone: 418-648-4366
Fax: 418-648-7244
Email: QUERAA1@INNAV.GC.CA

For more information, please contact:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
MCTS Operations Officer
101 Champlain Blvd.
Québec, QC G1K 7Y7
Telephone: 418-648-7459

Les Escoumins

Les Escoumins MCTS Centre

This MCTS Centre is located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River at Les Escoumins, about 15 miles east of the mouth of the Saguenay River. It covers the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the western tip of Anticosti Island to Chaleur Bay, including the Magdalen Islands and the North Shore (Havre-Saint-Pierre to Blanc-Sablon), as well as the navigable waters of the St. Lawrence River up to Blanche Island and the Saguenay Fjord downstream of the Port of Saguenay. The Centre has a radio network with 18 VHF sites, 3 MF sites, a NAVTEX station and a radar surveillance station at Anse aux Basques.

The Centre is also tasked with regulating vessel traffic in the boarding and disembarking areas used by the pilots at Les Escoumins.

East of Les Escoumins, vessels are required to use a Traffic Separation Scheme during the ice-free navigation period.
During the ice navigation period, the Centre ensures that transiting ships receive and follow the recommended ice routes during their passage.

The centre is home to the notice to shipping office and regulates offshore traffic (ECAREG) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence area.

Internal view of MCTS Les Escoumins

Internal view of MCTS Les Escoumins

 

Contact Les Escoumins MCTS Centre:

Operations:
Telephone: 418-233-2194
Facsimile: 418-233-3299
MMSI: 00 316 0026

NOTSHIP Desk:
Telephone: 418-233-2308
Facsimile: 418-233-3299
Email: opsavis@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

ECAREG:
Telephone: 418-233-2194
Facsimile: 418-233-3299
Email: Ecareg.Escoumins@innav.gc.ca

For more information:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
Officer-in-Charge – MCTS Operations
Les Escoumins MCTS Centre
35 Otis Street
LES ESCOUMINS, QC G0T 1K0

Telephone: 418-233-2854
Facsimile: 418-233-2017

 

Atlantic Region

The Atlantic region’s area of responsibility comprises the Bay of Fundy, the Southern and Eastern Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Cabot Strait, the Strait of Belle Isle, as well as the Labrador Sea south of latitude 60° North and all coastal and offshore waters of the Canadian Atlantic, North of the Hague Line.

Halifax MCTS provides offshore screening services (ECAREG) for vessels planning to enter Canadian waters inbound to a Canadian port on the East Coast, including a Canadian or American port in the Great Lakes to ensure that vessels comply with Eastern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone Regulations. Notice to Shipping (NOTSHIP) services are provided by Sydney MCTS and Port aux Basques MCTS.

The Canadian Coast Guard, Atlantic region regulates eight Vessel Traffic Services Zones – Halifax Harbour and Approaches, Bay of Fundy, Strait of Canso and Eastern Approaches, Northumberland Strait, Port aux Basques, Placentia, St. John’s and Strait of Belle Isle.

Mariners are advised that, as a result of consolidation, contact information, weather and other pertinent marine broadcast schedules may change. These changes will be advertised in RAMN, as they become available. Mariners should check NOTMAR PART 3 on a monthly basis for updates.

For more information about Marine Communications and Traffic Services in the Atlantic Region, please contact:

Canadian Coast Guard
Atlantic Region
P.O. Box 5667
St. John’s NL
A1C 5X1

Area of Responsibility (Northeast) - Before Consolidation

Area of Responsibility (Northeast) - After Consolidation

Remote sites may include: transmitter sites, receiver sites, radars, cameras, microwave systems, satellite dishes, and various other equipment.

 

Area of Responsibility (Southwest) - Before Consolidation

Area of Responsibility (Southwest) - After Consolidation

Remote sites may include: transmitter sites, receiver sites, radars, cameras, microwave systems, satellite dishes, and various other equipment.

Placentia Bay

Placentia Bay MCTS Centre

Remote radar sites located at Arnold's Cove, Argentia, and Cuslett.

Remote radio sites located at Arnold's Cove, Cuslett, Hermitage, Bay L'Argent, Fortune Head, St. Lawrence, Cape Pine, Freshwater Hill, St. John’s, Victoria, Cape Bonavista and Lumsden.

Placentia MCTS Contact Information:

  • MCTS Operations : 709-227-2181/2182
  • Officer-in-Charge: 709-227-5731 
  • Facsimile: 709-227-5637 
  • Email: Safety.Placentia@innav.gc.ca
  • Maritime Mobile Service Identity Number: 003160019

For Placentia MCTS (VCP) Ship-shore Communications and broadcast schedules, refer to the CCG Publication, Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN) Atlantic, St. Lawrence, Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and Arctic

For further information on Placentia MCTS, contact:

Canadian Coast Guard
Officer-in-Charge - MCTS Operations
Placentia MCTS Centre
P.O. Box 389
Placentia, NL
A0B 2Y0

Halifax

Halifax MCTS Centre

Remote radar sites located at Shannon Hill, George’s Island, Chebucto Head, Tiverton, Partridge Island and Read Head.

Remote radio sites located at Sambro, Ecum Secum, Kingsburg, Fox Island, Shannon Hill, Chebucto Head, Yarmouth, Lockeport, Saint John, Cape Blomidon, Grand Manan, Scotch Mountain, Letite and Tiverton.

Halifax MCTS Contact Information:

  • MCTS Operations Supervisor: 902-426-9750 
  • Officer-in-Charge: 902-426-9738 
  • ECAREG: 902-426-4956
  • Facsimile: 902-426-4483 
  • Email: Supervisor.mcts-halifax@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
  • Maritime Mobile Service Identity Number: 003160016

For Halifax MCTS (VCS) Ship-shore Communications and broadcast schedules, refer to the CCG Publication, Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN) Atlantic, St. Lawrence, Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and Arctic.

For further information on Halifax MCTS, contact:

Canadian Coast Guard
Officer-in-Charge - MCTS Operations
Halifax MCTS Centre
10 Hudson Way
Dartmouth, NS
B2Y 2Z8

Labrador

Labrador MCTS Centre

Remote radio sites located at Goose Bay, Hopedale, Cartwright and Nain.

Labrador MCTS Contact Information

  • MCTS Operations : 709-896-2252
  • Officer-in-Charger: 709-896-5817 
  • Facsimile: 709-896-8455
  • Email: ECAGOY@INNAV.GC.CA 
  • Maritime Mobile Service Identity Number: 003160022

For Labrador (VOK) Ship-shore Communications and broadcast schedules, refer to the CCG Publication, Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN) Atlantic, St. Lawrence, Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and Arctic.

For further information on Labrador MCTS, contact:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
Officer-in-Charge – MCTS Operations
Labrador MCTS Centre
P.0. Box 720 Station C
Goose Bay, NL
A0P 1C0

Port Aux Basques

Port Aux Basques MCTS Centre

Remote radar site located at Port aux Basques.
Remote radio sites located at Table Mountain, Stephenville, Ramea Island, Bonne Bay, Pine Tree, Mount Moriah and Point Riche.

Port aux Basques MCTS Contact Information:

  • MCTS Operations: 709-695-2167 
  • Officer-in-Charge: 709-695-2133 
  • NOTSHIP Desk: 709-695-2168
  • Facsimile: 709-695-7784 
  • Email Operations: PAXTFC@INNAV.GC.CA 
  • Maritime Mobile Service Identity Number: 003160018

For Port aux Basques MCTS (VOJ) Ship-shore Communications and broadcast schedules, refer to the CCG Publication, Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN) Atlantic, St. Lawrence, Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and Arctic.

For further information on Port aux Basques MCTS, contact:
Canadian Coast Guard
Officer-in-Charge – MCTS Operations
Port aux Basque MCTS Centre
P.O. Box 99
Port aux Basques NL
A0M 1C0

Sydney

Sydney MCTS Centre

Remote radar site located at Eddy Point.

Remote radio sites located at Eddy Point, St. Columba, Port Caledonia, Kilkenny Lake, Cape North, Cheticamp, Montague, Cape Egmont, North Cape and Point Escouminac.

Sydney MCTS Contact Information:

  • MCTS Operations Supervisor: 902-564-7751
  • Officer-in-Charge: 902-564-7752 
  • Facsimile: 902-564-7662
  • Email Operations: mctssyd@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
  • Maritime Mobile Service Identity Number: 003160017

For Sydney MCTS (VCO) Ship-shore Communications and broadcast schedules, refer to the CCG Publication, Radio Aids to Marine Navigation (RAMN) Atlantic, St. Lawrence, Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and Arctic

For further information on Sydney MCTS, contact:
Canadian Coast Guard
Officer-in-Charge – MCTS Operations
Sydney MCTS Centre
1190 Westmount Road
Sydney NS
B1R 2J6

Framework and Applicable Regulations

In addition to ensuring safe marine navigation, Marine Communications and Traffic Services supports economic activities by optimizing traffic movement and facilitating industry ship/shore communications. All of these functions are derived from a regulatory framework based primarily on the Canada Shipping Act (CSA), and the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS).

The 2001 amendments to the CSA identified and set out important new responsibilities in the area of vessel traffic management. Departmental authority could now recommend regulations establishing vessel traffic service zones and imposing mandatory vessel traffic practices and procedures within those zones (e.g., Vessel Traffic Services Zones Regulations and the Eastern Canada Traffic Zones Regulations).

Canada is also a signatory to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) which requires signatories to make provisions for safety radiocommunications services. MCTS provides the distress and safety communications/coordination and maritime safety information broadcasts in response to this international agreement.

Cooperative measures are in place with the U.S.A. also, for contiguous waters such as the Juan de Fuca Strait or the Detroit/St. Clair River.

Communications Control System CCS

The Communications Control System (CCS) enables MCTS officers to control all radiocommunications at local and remote sites from their workstations. The new technology being installed at the 12 newly modernized MCTS centres offers high flexibility, functionality and a broad range of radio broadcasting. New ergonomic operator console workstations are being supplied for all positions in MCTS centres, and all the Radio and Instructor positions at the CCG College MCTS training facilities. The acquired system is scaleable and configurable to meet not only today’s requirements but also to be able to evolve to satisfy future operational and training needs.

National AIS Service

A Class A AIS unit broadcasts the following information every 2 to 10 seconds while underway, and every 3 minutes while at anchor at a power level of 12.5 watts. The information broadcast includes:

  • MMSI number - unique reference identification
  • Navigation status (as defined by the International Regulations for Preventing Collision at Sea (COLREGS))
  • Rate of turn - right or left, 0 to 720 degrees per minute
  • Speed over ground - 1/10 knot resolution from 0 to 102 knots
  • Position accuracy - differential GPS or other and an indication if (Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring) RAIM processing is being used
  • Longitude - to 1/10000 minute and Latitude - to 1/10000 minute
  • Course over ground - relative to true north to 1/10th degree
  • True Heading - 0 to 359 degrees derived from gyro input
  • Time stamp - The universal time to nearest second that this information was generated

In addition, the Class A AIS unit broadcasts the following information every 6 minutes:

  • MMSI number - same unique identification used above, links the data above to described vessel
  • IMO number - unique referenceable identification (related to ship's construction)
  • Radio call sign - international call sign assigned to vessel, often used on voice radio
  • Name - Name of ship, 20 characters are provided
  • Type of ship/cargo - there is a table of possibilities that are available
  • Dimensions of ship - to nearest meter
  • Location on ship where reference point for position reports is located
  • Type of position fixing device - various options from differential GPS to undefined
  • Draught of ship - 1/10 meter to 25.5 meters [note "air-draught" is not provided]
  • Destination - 20 characters are provided
  • Estimated time of Arrival at destination - month, day, hour, and minute in UTC

Carriage Requirements

AIS plays an important role in increasing the safety of life at sea and the protection of the environment as well as in SAR-applications. The implementation of International carriage requirements for AIS-equipment on SOLAS-ships has been addressed under the SOLAS Convention Chapter V.

Canadian carriage requirements have been addressed in Part 4 (Additional Equipment Requirements) of the Navigation Safety Regulations:http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2005-134/page-11.html#h-41

Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centres - Reports