Part 4 - General

Atlantic, St. Lawrence, Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and Arctic

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4.1 Procedures

4.1.1 Radiotelephone Procedures

4.1.1.1 General

In the interest of safe navigation, and especially during bad weather conditions, masters should ensure that a continuous listening watch is maintained on 2182 kHz. Where practicable, and having due regard for Vessel Traffic Services and Seaway Control requirements, a listening watch should be maintained on VHF Ch 16 (156.8 MHz).

2182 kHz and Ch 16 (156.8 MHz) shall only be used for distress, urgency and safety communications and for calling purposes. The class of emission to be used for radiotelephony on the frequency 2182 kHz shall be J3E.

Initial calls must be made directly on the safety and calling frequency 2182 kHz. This procedure is required because the MCTS Centres do not monitor MF working frequencies.

Make initial calls on any of the VHF working frequencies shown in the “Receiving” column of the MCTS Centre listing. The MCTS Centre will then respond on the corresponding frequency shown in the “Transmitting” column. It is necessary to indicate the channel number on the initial call because MCTS officers guard multiple frequencies simultaneously. Before making a call directly on a working frequency, listen for a period long enough to ensure that the channel is not in use. Follow this procedure for radio checks.

If difficulty is experienced in establishing contact with the MCTS Centre, or if contact is desired with another vessel, the initial call may be made on the calling frequency Ch 16 in which case the station called will reply on the same frequency. As soon as communication has been established a change must be made to an agreed working frequency and all further communications made on that frequency.

Masters of compulsorily-fitted ships are reminded that a radio log of all distress and urgency communications and safety communications pertaining to their own ship should be kept and maintained onboard their vessels.

4.1.1.2 The following examples will illustrate the procedure to be used

Table 4-1 - Initial call, when a vessel is attempting to establish communication on a working frequency with a specific station

Example of initial call, when a vessel is attempting to establish communication on a working frequency with a specific station
ItemSpoken
Name of station called (spoken three times). PRESCOTT COAST GUARD RADIO
The words "THIS IS". THIS IS
Type, name, radio call sign of vessel calling (spoken three times). STEAMER FAIRMOUNT CYLD
and channel CHANNEL 26
Invitation to reply OVER

Table 4-2 - Initial call when a vessel wishes to establish communications with any station within range (or within a certain area)

Example of initial call when a vessel wishes to establish communications with any station within range (or within a certain area)
ItemSpoken
General call (spoken three times). ALL STATIONS (or ALL SHIPS IN JOHNSTONE STRAITS)
The words "THIS IS". THIS IS
Type, name and radio call sign of vessel calling (spoken three times). TANKER IMPERIAL CORNWALL/VCVC
Invitation to reply. OVER

When a station wishes to broadcast information rather than to establish communication, it proceeds with the message instead of giving the invitation to reply.

A radio message from a ship consists of several parts which shall be transmitted on the working frequency in the following order:

  1. type, name and radio call sign of the originating ship;
  2. the date and time the message originated. (Preferably in UTC. Daylight Saving Time shall not be used). [date and time may be sent as one group, the first two figures indicate the date, the last four the time];
  3. the address;
  4. the text or body of the message;
  5. the signature.

Note

Items (a) and (b) taken together, are known as the "preamble".

Table 4-3 - Example of a ship to shore radio message

Example of a ship to shore radio message
ItemSpoken
Message FROM M/V WEST WIND, CALL SIGN V2AG
Filed 071225UTC
Address ECAREG CANADA
Text SECURED SYDNEY GOVERNMENT WHARF
Signature MASTER

An acknowledgment of receipt of a message shall not be given until the receiving operator is certain that the transmitted information has been received correctly.

While it is not practical to lay down precise words and phrases for all radiotelephone procedures, the following should be used where applicable.

Table 4-4 - Practical terms

Radiotelephone procedure Practical Terms
TermMeaning
ACKNOWLEDGE Let me know that you have received and understood this message.
CORRECTION An error has been made in this transmission. The correct version is.....
GO AHEAD Proceed with your message.
OVER My transmission is ended and I expect a response from you.
OUT This conversation is ended and no response is expected.
READ BACK After I have given OVER, repeat all the message back to me exactly as received.
ROGER I have received all of your last transmission.
RECEIVED NUMBER Receipt of your message number..... is acknowledged.
STAND BY Wait until you hear further from me.
VERIFY Check with the originator and send the correct version.
WORDS TWICE

As a request - Please send each word twice.
As information - I will send each word twice.

4.1.1.3 Phonetic Alphabet

When it is necessary to spell out call signs, service abbreviations and words whose spelling might be misinterpreted, the following letter spelling table should be used:

List of phonetic alphabet
AlphabetPhonetic equivalentAlphabetPhonetic equivalent
A ALFA N NOVEMBER
B BRAVO O OSCAR
C CHARLIE P PAPA
D DELTA Q QUEBEC
E ECHO R ROMEO
F FOXTROT S SIERRA
G GOLF T TANGO
H HOTEL U UNIFORM
I INDIA V VICTOR
J JULIET W WHISKEY
K KILO X X-RAY
L LIMA Y YANKEE
M MIKE Z ZULU

4.1.1.4 Times

Times are expressed in four figures, the first two denoting the hour and the last two the minutes, the day starting at midnight with 0000 and ending at 2400. The standard of time (e.g. UTC) is stated at the head of the appropriate column, or against the figures involved.

4.1.1.5 Time Zone Comparison

NST   Newfoundland Standard Time
AST   Atlantic Standard Time
EST   Eastern Standard Time
CST   Central Standard Time
MST   Mountain Standard Time
PST   Pacific Standard Time

To convert from Coordinated Universal Time to Local Standard Time look opposite UTC under the appropriate column. For corresponding Daylight Saving Time, add one hour.

Table 4-5 Time Zone Comparison

Time Zone Comparison Chart
UTCNSTASTESTCSTMSTPST
00:00 20:30 20:00 19:00 18:00 17:00 16:00
01:00 21:30 21:00 20:00 19:00 18:00 17:00
02:00 22:30 22:00 21:00 20:00 19:00 18:00
03:00 23:30 23:00 22:00 21:00 20:00 19:00
04:00 00:30 00:00 23:00 22:00 21:00 20:00
05:00 01:30 01:00 00:00 23:00 22:00 21:00
06:00 02:30 02:00 01:00 00:00 23:00 22:00
07:00 03:30 03:00 02:00 01:00 00:00 23:00
08:00 04:30 04:00 03:00 02:00 01:00 00:00
09:00 05:30 05:00 04:00 03:00 02:00 01:00
10:00 06:30 06:00 05:00 04:00 03:00 02:00
11:00 07:30 07:00 06:00 05:00 04:00 03:00
12:00 08:30 08:00 07:00 06:00 05:00 04:00
13:00 09:30 09:00 08:00 07:00 06:00 05:00
14:00 10:30 10:00 09:00 08:00 07:00 06:00
15:00 11:30 11:00 10:00 09:00 08:00 07:00
16:00 12:30 12:00 11:00 10:00 09:00 08:00
17:00 13:30 13:00 12:00 11:00 10:00 09:00
18:00 14:30 14:00 13:00 12:00 11:00 10:00
19:00 15:30 15:00 14:00 13:00 12:00 11:00
20:00 16:30 16:00 15:00 14:00 13:00 12:00
21:00 17:30 17:00 16:00 15:00 14:00 13:00
22:00 18:30 18:00 17:00 16:00 15:00 14:00
23:00 19:30 19:00 18:00 17:00 16:00 15:00

4.1.1.6 Time Signals

Canada's official time is the responsibility of the National Research Council's Institute for National Measurement Standards, Ottawa, ON. Its short wave radio station CHU, with transmitters located at 45°17′47″N 075°45′22″W is equipped with vertical antennas to give the best possible coverage to the maximum number of Canadian users. The signal is transmitted continuously on 3330 kHz, 7850 kHz and 14670 kHz, upper single-sideband H3E (AM compatible). A cesium atomic clock generates the carrier frequencies (accurate to a part in 1011) and the UTC seconds pulses (accurate to 50 microseconds). The start of each UTC second is marked by the start of 300 cycles of a 1000 Hz tone, with certain omissions and identifications. Every half-minute is marked by omitting the preceding tone (for second 29). In the 9 seconds preceding each minute, the second pulses are shortened to "ticks" to provide a window for the voice announcement, followed by a longer tone. The start of this tone marks the exact minute given by the announcement. This tone is one-half second long, except for the exact hour - when it is one full second long and in this case only is followed by 9 seconds of silence.

The bilingual voice announcement which is heard each minute takes the form:

"CHU Canada - Coordinated Universal Time -- hours -- minutes-- heures -- minutes" for even minutes,

and

"CHU Canada - Temps Universel Coordonné -- heures -- minutes -- hours -- minutes" for odd minutes.

A small number of the longer time announcements use the abbreviation "UTC" rather than the full form.

Following international practice, Canada's official time is based on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) which is kept within one second of UT1, the time on the Greenwich meridian as used for celestial navigation. Users interested in the ultimate accuracy of celestial navigation can determine UT1 with an accuracy of 0.1 seconds by decoding the difference DUT1 = UT1 - UTC, as transmitted by CHU in the internationally accepted code. The number of tenths of a second of DUT1 can be decoded by counting the number of emphasized second pulses that follow each minute. If the emphasized pulses occur for any of the seconds 1 to 8, DUT1 is positive; if the emphasized pulses occur for any of the seconds 9 to 16, DUT1 is negative. CHU emphasizes second pulses by splitting them (0.1 s of tone, 0.1 s of silence, 0.1 s of tone) so that a double tone is heard.

4.1.2 Distress Communications in Radiotelephony

4.1.2.1 Early Notification of Search and Rescue Authorities of Developing Situations

In the interest of ensuring the highest level of safety, mariners should immediately notify the Canadian Coast Guard, through any MCTS Centre of any situation which is or may be developing into a more serious situation requiring assistance from the Search and Rescue (SAR) System. The need for the earliest possible alerting of SAR Authorities to potential maritime emergencies cannot be over-emphasized.

This advice is given in accordance with IMO Circular MSC/Circ.892 and similar advice found in the ICAO/IMO International Aeronautical and Maritime SAR (IAMSAR) Manual Volume III. Further, there have been similar recommendations arising from serious SAR cases in the Canadian SAR Region where masters have failed to provide this notice until after the situation deteriorated.

This notification allows SAR authorities to carry out preliminary and contingency planning that could make a critical difference if the situation worsens. Time lost in the initial stages of a SAR mission may be crucial to its eventual outcome.

It is always best to consider the worst-case scenario and to alert SAR authorities accordingly. This notification places no obligations upon the master except to advise the Canadian Coast Guard when the situation has been corrected.

Canadia MCTS Centres provide coverage of all marine distress frequencies, however, each centre does not necessarily guard each frequency (refer to centre listings Part 2). MCTS provides communications between the JRCC/MRSC and the vessel or vessels concerned with the distress.

The radiotelephone distress frequencies are:

  1. 2182 kHz on medium frequency (MF) band;
  2. 156.8 MHz (Ch 16) on very high frequency band (VHF); and
  3. any other available frequency on which attention might be attracted if transmissions on 2182 kHz and 156.8 MHz are not possible or successful.

The digital selective calling (DSC) frequencies are:

  1. Ch 70 in the VHF band;
  2. 4207.5 kHz;
  3. 6312.0 kHz;
  4. 8414.5 kHz;
  5. 12577 kHz; and
  6. 16804.5 kHz in the High Frequency (HF) bands.

When another craft or person is in distress:

  1. all transmissions capable of interfering with the distress traffic must be stopped;
  2. attention must be concentrated on the distress communications and all information possible intercepted; and
  3. a station in the vicinity of the distressed craft must acknowledge receipt of the distress message if received, giving its own position in relation to that of the craft in distress and stating the action being taken.

Distress communications consist of the:

  1. distress Alert (when using VHF or HF DSC);
  2. distress Signal;
  3. distress Call;
  4. distress Message; and
  5. distress Traffic.

Transmission of a DSC Distress Alert, a Distress Signal and/or a Distress Call announces that the ship, aircraft, other vehicle, or person that is making the transmission is:

  1. threatened by serious and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance; or
  2. aware of another ship, aircraft, other vehicle, or person threatened by serious and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance.

Distress communications should be repeated by the craft in distress until an answer is heard.

The DSC Distress Alert will automatically switch radios to the associated distress frequency for the subsequent transmission of the distress signal, the distress call and the distress message.

4.1.2.2 The Alarm Signal

The radiotelephone Alarm Signal consists of the continuous alternate transmission of two audio tones of different pitch for a period of at least thirty seconds but not to exceed one minute. The sound of this tone is similar to that used by some ambulances.

The Alarm Signal is used by Canadia MCTS Centres to alert ships:

  1. that a mayday relay broadcast is about to follow; or
  2. that a Tsunami warning, preceded by the Urgency Signal (PAN PAN) is about to follow; or
  3. that the transmission of an urgent cyclone warning, preceded by the Safety Signal (SÉCURITÉ), is about to follow.

The Alarm Signal transmitted by the coast radio station will normally be sent for a period not exceeding thirty (30) seconds and will be followed by a ten (10) second continuous tone.

4.1.2.3 The Distress Signal

The Distress Signal consists of the word "MAYDAY".

The Distress Call consists of:

  1. the word "MAYDAY" (spoken three times);
  2. the words "THIS IS" followed by;
  3. the name of the ship in distress (spoken three times);
  4. the call sign or other identification; and
  5. the ship's MMSI (if a DSC distress alert has been sent).

The Distress Call:

  1. should not be addressed to a particular coast radio station or ship; and
  2. has absolute priority over all other transmissions and all coast radio stations and ships that hear this call must cease any transmissions that will interfere with it and must listen on the frequency used for this call.

The Distress Message consists of:

  1. the word "MAYDAY";
  2. the name of the ship in distress;
  3. the call sign or other identification;
  4. the ship's MMSI (if a DSC distress alert has been sent);
  5. the position of the ship in distress;
  6. the nature of the distress;
  7. the kind of assistance needed;
  8. any other useful information which might assist the rescue; and
  9. the word "OVER", which is an invitation to acknowledge and reply.

The DSC Distress Alert Acknowledgement to an "All Stations" DSC Distress Alert shall normally be made by a MCTS Centre.

Ship stations may acknowledge receipt of a DSC Distress Alert by radiotelephony on the associated distress and calling frequency after a MCTS Centre has had time to initiate contact with the vessel in distress.

4.1.2.4 Distress Traffic

Distress Traffic consists of all messages about the immediate assistance required by the ship in distress. Prior to the transmission of any Distress Traffic, the Distress Signal "MAYDAY" must be sent once before the call. The control of Distress Traffic is the responsibility of the ship in distress or of the ship or coast radio station sending a Distress Message.

A mobile station that learns that another mobile station is in distress may transmit the distress message if:

  1. the station in distress cannot transmit it;
  2. the master or person responsible for the craft carrying the station which intervenes believes that further help is necessary; and
  3. although not in a position to render assistance, it has heard a distress message which has not been acknowledged.

In the above situation the distress message relay takes the following form:

  1. the radiotelephone Alarm Signal, if possible;
  2. the words "MAYDAY RELAY" (spoken three times);
  3. the words "ALL STATIONS" or a specific MCTS Centre, as appropriate (spoken three times);
  4. the words "THIS IS";
  5. the name of the mobile station repeating the distress message (spoken three times);
  6. the call-sign or other identification of the mobile station repeating the distress message;
  7. the MMSI of the mobile station repeating the distress message (if the initial distress alert was sent by DSC);
  8. the repetition of the distress message; and
  9. the word, "OVER".

When Distress Traffic has ceased or when silence is no longer necessary the station that has controlled the Distress Traffic must transmit a message on the distress frequency advising that the distress traffic has ceased.

  1. the word "MAYDAY";
  2. the words "ALL STATIONS" (spoken three times);
  3. the words "THIS IS";
  4. the name of the station which has controlled the distress traffic (spoken three times);
  5. the call-sign or other identification of the station which has controlled the distress traffic;
  6. the current Coordinated Universal Time (UTC);
  7. the MMSI (if the initial distress alert was sent by DSC) and the name and call sign of the ship that was in distress and a brief description of the resolution of the distress;
  8. the words "SEELONCE FEENEE"; and
  9. the word "OUT".

4.1.2.5 Distress Procedure Example

Initiate a VHF or HF DSC Distress Alert.

Then, on the associated distress and calling frequency, the following distress call and distress message should be spoken slowly and distinctly:

Table 4-6 Example of a distress call/message

Example of a distress call and message
ItemSpoken
Distress Signal "MAYDAY" (three times)
the words "THIS IS"
name of ship "Nonsuch" (three times)
MMSI number "316010115" (if initial distress alert was sent by DSC)
Distress Signal "MAYDAY"
name of ship "Nonsuch"
MMSI number "316010115" (if initial distress alert was sent by DSC)
position "Off Iles-St-Marie"
nature of distress "Struck rock and taking on water"
assistance needed "Require help to abandon ship"
other useful information "5 persons on board"
invitation to acknowledge and reply "OVER"

4.1.3 Urgency Communications

The DSC Urgency Announcement will automatically switch marine radios to the associated distress frequency for the subsequent transmission of the urgency signal, the urgency call and the urgency message.

The Urgency Signal consists of the words "PAN PAN".

The Urgency Call consists of:

  1. the words "PAN PAN" (spoken three times);
  2. the words "ALL STATIONS" or station specific call (spoken three times);
  3. the words "THIS IS" followed by;
  4. the name of the station making the call (spoken three times);
  5. the call-sign or other identification; and
  6. the ship's MMSI (if the initial Urgency announcement was sent by DSC).

The urgency signal may be transmitted only on the authority of the master or the person responsible for the ship, aircraft or other vehicle carrying the mobile station.

The urgency signal indicates that the calling station has a very urgent message to transmit concerning the safety of a ship, aircraft or other vehicle, or the safety of a person.

The urgency signal, the urgency call, and the urgency message shall be sent on the distress frequencies 2182 kHz and Ch 16 (156.8 MHz). If transmission on these frequencies is impossible, any other available frequency on which attention might be attracted should be used.

The urgency signal has priority over all other communications, except distress, and all stations which hear it must take care not to interfere with the transmission of the message which follows the urgency signal.

Stations which hear the urgency signal must continue to listen for at least three minutes. At the end of this period, if no urgency message has been heard, normal service may be resumed. However, stations which are in communication on frequencies other than those used for transmission of the urgency signal may continue their normal work without interruption provided the urgency message is not addressed "to all stations".

The DSC Urgency Acknowledgement to an "All Stations" DSC Urgency Announcement shall normally be made by a MCTS Centre. Ship stations may acknowledge, by radiotelephony, the receipt of a DSC Urgency Announcement on the associated distress and calling frequency after a MCTS Centre has had time to initiate contact with the vessel in distress.

4.1.4 Safety Communications

The Safety Signal consists of the word "SÉCURITÉ".

The Safety Call consists of:

  1. the word "SÉCURITÉ" (spoken three times);
  2. the words "ALL STATIONS" (spoken three times);
  3. the words "THIS IS", followed by;
  4. the name of the station making the call (spoken three times);
  5. the call-sign or other identification;
  6. the station's MMSI (if the initial Safety announcement was sent by DSC);
  7. a brief description of the context of the "Safety Message";
  8. the channel or frequency for the Safety broadcast; and
  9. the word "OUT".

The safety signal indicates that the station is about to transmit an important navigational or meteorological warning. The safety message should be sent on a working frequency, which is announced at the end of the call.

The safety call is transmitted on the distress frequencies 2182 kHz and Ch 16 (156.8 MHz). If transmission on these frequencies is impossible, any other available frequency on which attention might be attracted shall be used.

A ship station which receives an "All Stations" DSC Safety Announcement shall not acknowledge receipt.

All stations hearing the safety signal shall shift to the working frequency indicated in the call and listen to the safety message until satisfied it does not concern them.

The Safety Message format consists of:

  1. the word "SÉCURITÉ";
  2. the words "ALL STATIONS" (spoken three times);
  3. the words "THIS IS", followed by;
  4. the name of the station making the call (spoken three times);
  5. the call sign or other identification of the transmitting station;
  6. the MMSI of the transmitting station (if the initial announcement was sent by DSC);
  7. the details of the safety message;
  8. the word "OUT".

4.1.5 Aids to Navigation

4.1.5.1 Positions

All positions expressed in latitude and longitude of the radio aids to navigation listed in this publication are approximate and are taken from the largest scale Canadian Hydrographic Service charts, where available, or British Admiralty charts of the vicinity. Mariners should bear in mind when plotting the position of any given aid that it is preferable to use a chart with the aid already located on it than to plot it from a position given in latitude and longitude.

4.1.5.2 Reporting Abnormal Operation of Radio Aids

A marine radio aid observed to be operating abnormally should be reported, as soon as possible to a MCTS Centre.

Reports shall be as complete as possible, giving full details including time, date, the position from which the observation was made, and details and description of conditions, such as weather and reception, prevailing at the time of the observation.

It is also requested that ships report abnormal MCTS Centre operation, such as poor quality of marine telephone calls, unreadability of broadcasts, failure to answer calls, etc.

To ensure prompt corrective action, such reports must include the date, time and position of ship when the observation was made, together with details of prevailing weather and reception conditions.

4.1.5.3 Radio Beacons

Marine radio beacons generally operate in the 285-325 kHz. Radio beacon service enables ships fitted with direction finding equipment to take a bearing or to take several consecutive bearings which will provide a fix. See PART 2 for details on individual listings.

4.1.5.4 Radar Beacons (RACONS)

Radar beacons (Racons) may be established at lighthouses, on buoys or at other specific charted locations ashore or afloat to enhance identification and detection range of these features by radar.

Some Racons operate only in the X band 9320-9500 MHz, whilst others are dual band X/S, X band plus S band of 2920-3100 MHz. It should also be noted that the slow sweep (SS) type of Racon will give a response every 72-120 seconds, whilst the frequency agile Racon (FAR) will respond more frequently.

The Racon signal appears on the radar display as a line commencing at the approximate range of the Racon and extending outwards along its line of bearing from the ship toward the limit of the display. The signal displayed may be a solid line or it may be broken into a code consisting of a series of dots and dashes as shown in relevant publications.

4.2 Systems

4.2.1 Global Maritime Distress and Safety System in Canada (GMDSS)

4.2.1.1 What is GMDSS?

The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is an international system using 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. All SOLAS ships are required to fully comply with GMDSS.

4.2.1.2 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:

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

4.2.1.3 Maritime Safety Information (MSI)

Maritime Safety Information broadcasts, which comprise navigational and meteorological warnings, meteorological forecasts and other safety-related messages can be received in four different ways in GMDSS:

  1. NAVTEX receivers are fully automatic and receive broadcasts in coastal regions up to 300 nautical miles offshore;
  2. Inmarsat C terminals receive Enhanced Group Call (EGC) - SafetyNET broadcasts for areas outside NAVTEX coverage;
  3. High Frequency Narrow-Band-Direct-Printing (HF NBDP)  receivers may be used to promulgate MSI in areas outside Inmarsat coverage; and
  4. VHF marine radio (Sea Area A1) as a medium for obtaining nav/met MSI.

4.2.1.4 GMDSS Sea Areas - International

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.

Table 4-7 - Four "Sea Areas" defined in the GMDSS

Defined Sea Areas in the GMDSS
Sea AreaDescription
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).

4.2.1.5 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.

Consideration was given to the implementation of an A2 sea area, but due to budgetary constraints and the marine industry's preference for sea areas A1 and A3, sea area A2 is not being planned at this time. A1 sea area for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River is also provided.

4.2.1.6 Communications between GMDSS Vessels & Non-GMDSS Vessels

Since February 1st, 1999, GMDSS larger ships have been maintaining an automated listening watch on VHF/DSC Ch 70 and MF/DSC 2187.5 kHz. This at times creates the situation, where vessels fitted with traditional, non-GMDSS radio equipment, may have had difficulties alerting or contacting a GMDSS ship. The Canadian Coast Guard is addressing this by monitoring both GMDSS and traditional distress frequencies. Furthermore, the Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada encourage all vessels to fit VHF/DSC in the interest of increased safety.

4.2.1.7 Important Safety Notice concerning VHF/DSC

After having received a distress, urgency or safety broadcast announcement on VHF/DSC Ch 70 the VHF/DSC equipment will automatically switch the DSC radio to VHF Ch 16 for the subsequent voice announcements. Mariners who are required by the VHF Practices and Procedures Regulations to monitor a specific VTS sector frequency should return the radio to the appropriate working frequency after determining, on Ch 16, the impact of the VHF/DSC alert broadcast announcement on their vessel's operations.

It has been determined that vessels maintaining a listening watch on a VTS sector frequency, per the requirements of the VTS Zone Regulations may, if navigating in congested waters, temporarily discontinue DSC watchkeeping on VHF/DSC Channel 70 until the required manoeuvre has been completed.

Vessels inadvertently or accidentally transmitting a distress/urgency/safety broadcast on VHF/DSC must cancel the distress/urgency/safety broadcast on VHF Ch 16. Intentionally sending a false distress alert carries penalties under both the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the Radiocommunications Act.

VHF/DSC equipment must be programmed with the correct Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) numbers (reference Radio Station Licensing and MMSI numbers Section in 4.3.12, also reference section 1.12 for the MCTS Centres' MMSI numbers).

4.2.1.8 Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services 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 Ch 16 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 may be discontinued. This decision will be evaluated at that time.

The Canadian Coast Guard national VHF-DSC (digital selective calling) network controlled by MCTS Centres can process VHF-DSC “Test Calls” from vessels provided that the marine radio meets the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) standard Recommendation M.493-11 (or higher) “Digital selective-calling system for use in the maritime mobile service”.

The Canadian Coast Guard VHF-DSC equipment is configured to automatically acknowledge VHF-DSC test calls within seconds of receipt provided that the MCTS Centre VHF-DSC equipment is not processing higher priority DSC calls.

To supplement the broadcasting of Maritime Safety Information (MSI) on NAVTEX, Inmarsat, SafetyNET and HF NBDP, MCTS Centres will continue MSI broadcasts using the existing VHF continuous marine broadcast system and MF radiotelephony broadcast at advertised times.

4.2.2 Long-Range Identification and Tracking of Vessels Regulations (LRIT)3

[3] Reference: SOR/2010-227

Interpretation

Definitions

1. (1) The following definitions apply in these Regulations.

"cargo vessel"
"cargo vessel" means a vessel that is not a passenger vessel and is of 300 tons gross tonnage or more.
"international voyage"
"international voyage" means a voyage between a port in one country and a port in another country, but does not include a voyage solely on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and their connecting and tributary waters as far east as the lower exit of the St. Lambert Lock at Montréal.
"LRIT equipment"
"LRIT equipment" means information-transmitting equipment for the long-range identification and tracking of a vessel.
"LRIT information"
"LRIT information" means the information referred to in section 5.
"Minister"
"Minister" means the Minister of Transport.
"passenger vessel"
"passenger vessel" means a vessel that carries more than 12 passengers.
"sea area A1", "sea area A2", "sea area A3" and "sea area A4"
"sea area A1", "sea area A2", "sea area A3" and "sea area A4" have the meanings assigned by regulation 2.1 of Chapter IV of SOLAS.
"SOLAS"
"SOLAS" means the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, and the Protocol of 1988 relating to the Convention, as amended from time to time.

When vessel is constructed

(2) For the purpose of these Regulations, a vessel is constructed on the earliest of

  1. the day on which its keel is laid;
  2. the day on which construction identifiable with a specific vessel begins; and
  3. the day on which assembly of the vessel reaches the lesser of 50 tonnes and 1% of the estimated mass of all structural material.

Application

Cargo vessels and passenger vessels

2. (1) These Regulations apply in respect of Canadian vessels everywhere if they

  1. are engaged on international voyages; and
  2. are cargo vessels or passenger vessels.

Exceptions

(2) These Regulations do not apply in respect of

  1. pleasure craft; or
  2. government vessels.

Compliance

Authorized representative

3. The authorized representative of a vessel shall ensure that the requirements of sections 4 to 10 are met.

LRIT Equipment

Vessels to be fitted

4. (1) Every vessel shall be fitted with LRIT equipment.

Exception — sea area A1

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of a vessel that operates exclusively in sea area A1 if it is fitted with an automatic identification system that meets the requirements of and is operated in accordance with section 65 of the Navigation Safety Regulations.

Exception — vessels constructed before December 31, 2008

(3) A vessel constructed before December 31, 2008 is not required to be fitted with LRIT equipment before

  1. (a) if the vessel is certified under subsection 51(4) of the Ship Station (Radio) Technical Regulations, 1999 for operation in sea area A1 and sea area A2 or in sea area A1, sea area A2 and sea area A3, the later of the day on which these Regulations come into force and the day on which its radio installation is first inspected after December 31, 2008; or
  2. (b) if the vessel is certified under subsection 51(4) of the Ship Station (Radio) Technical Regulations, 1999 for operation in sea area A1, sea area A2, sea area A3 and sea area A4,
    1. while the vessel is operating in sea area A1, sea area A2 or sea area A3, the later of the day on which these Regulations come into force and the day on which its radio installation is first inspected after December 31, 2008, or
    2.  while the vessel is not operating in sea area A1, sea area A2 or sea area A3, the later of the day on which these Regulations come into force and the day on which its radio installation is first inspected after July 1, 2009.

Interpretation

(4) For the purpose of subsection (3), inspection of a vessel's radio installation occurs when it is inspected as required by section 51 of the Ship Station (Radio) Technical Regulations, 1999.

Automatic transmission

5. The LRIT equipment fitted on a vessel to meet the requirements of section 4 shall automatically transmit the following information:

  1. the vessel's identity;
  2. the vessel's position, particularly its latitude and longitude; and
  3. the date and time of the transmission.

Type approval or certification

6. (1) The LRIT equipment fitted on a vessel to meet the requirements of section 4 shall be type-approved or certified by the Minister as meeting the performance standards and functional requirements set out in section 4 of the Revised performance standards and functional requirements for the long-range identification and tracking of ships, the annex to International Maritime Organization Resolution MSC.263(84), as amended from time to time.

Interpretation

(2) For the purpose of interpreting section 4 of the annex referred to in subsection (1),

  1. "should" shall be read to mean "shall"; and
  2. "Administration" shall be read to mean "Minister".

Switching off equipment

7. (1) The LRIT equipment fitted on a vessel to meet the requirements of section 4 shall be capable of being switched off on board.

Master

(2) The vessel's master may switch off the LRIT equipment

  1. when international agreements, rules or standards provide for the protection of navigational information; and
  2. in exceptional circumstances and for the shortest duration possible when the equipment's operation is considered by the vessel's master to compromise the safety or security of the vessel.

Informing authorities

(3) If the master switches off the LRIT equipment in the case provided for by paragraph (2)(b), the master shall

  1. without undue delay inform a Marine Communications and Traffic Services centre of the Canadian Coast Guard and, if the vessel is in the waters of a contracting government, the relevant maritime authority of that government; and
  2. make an entry, in the record of navigational activities and incidents maintained in accordance with section 85 of the Navigation Safety Regulations, setting out the reasons for the decision and indicating the period during which the equipment was switched off.

Reducing frequency of or temporarily stopping transmission

8. (1) The LRIT equipment fitted on a vessel to meet the requirements of section 4 shall be capable of

  1. being configured to transmit the LRIT information at a reduced frequency of once every 24 hours; and
  2. temporarily stopping the transmission of LRIT information.

Master

(2) While a vessel is undergoing repairs, modifications or conversions in dry dock or in port or is laid up, the vessel's master may, on his or her own

initiative, and shall, if directed to do so by the Minister,

  1. reduce the frequency of the transmission of LRIT information to once every 24 hours; or
  2. temporarily stop the transmission of LRIT information.

Informing authorities

(3) If the master reduces the frequency of or temporarily stops the transmission of LRIT information under subsection (2), the master shall

  1. without undue delay inform a Marine Communications and Traffic Services centre of the Canadian Coast Guard and, if the vessel is in the waters of a contracting government, the relevant maritime authority of that government; and
  2. make an entry, in the record of navigational activities and incidents maintained in accordance with section 85 of the Navigation Safety Regulations, indicating the period during which the transmission of LRIT information was reduced in frequency or temporarily stopped, and whether or not the Minister directed the action.

Failure of system

9. If the Minister or the Canadian Coast Guard informs the master of a vessel that any part of the system used to receive LRIT information from the vessel or to disseminate the information has failed, the master shall make an entry, in the record of navigational activities and incidents maintained in accordance with section 85 of the Navigation Safety Regulations, setting out the date and time the master was informed.

Electromagnetic interference

10. LRIT equipment shall be installed so that electromagnetic interference does not affect the proper functioning of navigational equipment.

Issuance of proof of type approval or of certificate

11. (1) On application, the Minister shall issue a proof of type approval or a certificate for LRIT equipment if the Minister determines that the equipment meets the performance standards and functional requirements referred to in subsection 6 (1).

Carry proof or certificate on board

(2) A vessel's master shall ensure that a proof of type approval or a certificate issued under subsection (1) for the LRIT equipment fitted on the vessel to meet the requirements of section 4 is

  1. in the case of a proof of type-approval, carried on board in the form of
    1. a label that is securely affixed to the equipment in a readily visible location, or
    2. a document that is kept in a readily accessible location; and
  2. in the case of a certificate, carried on board in a readily accessible location.

Coming into force

Registration date

12. These regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.

4.2.3 Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (406 MHz)

It is recommended that a float-free EPIRB be carried on board ships and pleasure crafts operating offshore. To be effective, 406 MHz EPIRBs must be registered with the Canadian Beacon Registry by telephone 1-800-406-7671; facsimile 1-877-406-3298; or, on the Canadian Beacon Registry Website. You may also reach the Canadian Beacon Registry by email at cbr@sarnet.dnd.ca.

INMARSAT discontinued their monitoring service of INMARSAT E EPIRB distress alerts as of December 1, 2006.

Mariners should check with INMARSAT for exchange of any currently held INMARSAT E EPIRBs. Further, mariners should only purchase and fit COSPAS-SARSAT 406 MHz EPIRBs.

  1. Float-free EPIRBs should not be fitted under ledges or structures that would impede their ability to float free.
    Do not install the EPIRB with lanyard attached to the superstructure of your vessel.
  2. Both manually activated EPIRBs and float-free EPIRBs should be readily accessible so that in the event of an emergency, it is available for immediate use.
  3. EPIRBs should be tested using the "TEST" button, by the operator every 6 months. This test should be recorded in the radio log.
  4. EPIRB battery packs and hydrostatic release units should be replaced per the manufacturer's recommendations.

A list of 406 MHz EPIRBs approved for use in Canada is available on the Transport Canada website.

4.2.4 Ship Station (Radio) Regulations, 1999

  1. Requirements for Safety Convention ships are not shown as they must comply with the Safety Convention.
  2. Requirements for ships on inland voyages and minor waters voyages are not shown since there are no new requirements.
  3. Regulations do not apply to a pleasure yacht not carrying a master or crew for hire, or a tow-boat in a booming ground.

Table 4-8 - Sea Area A1 or VHF

Table 4-8 - Sea Area A1 or VHF
EquipmentSea Area A1 or VHF
VHF Radio with DSC (SSRR)

Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

  • unless ship operates within a VTS Zone, then will have until January 31, 2003, or until the sea area A1 is completed, whichever is latest.

Yes (All other ships)

  • by February 1, 2003, or after sea area A1 completed, whichever is latest
    • ships ≥8m in length and of closed construction,
    • ships carrying >6 passengers, and
    • tow boats
  • exempted are ships on a home-trade voyage, class IV in a VTS Zone
  • current VHF radiotelephone provisions remain in effect until then.

Inmarsat Ship Earth Station with EGC, and MF Radio with DSC,

or

MF/HF Radio with DSC and NBDP (SSRR)

No (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
No (All other ships)
NAVTEX Receiver (no change to current requirement – SSRR) No (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
No (All other ships)
EPIRB (float-free) (SSRR) Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

Yes (All other ships)

  • if ≥20 m (and beyond home trade IV voyage)
  • if tug >5gt and <20 m if voyage >50 miles long and >2 miles from shore
  • if ≥ 15gt and go beyond home-trade III voyage limits i.e., 20 miles from shore by April 1, 2001
  • if ≥ 8m and go beyond home-trade III voyage limits on April 1, 2002 (Note: EPIRB does not have to be float-free if less than 15gt)

-exempted are ships on home-trade voyages, class IV or minor waters voyages.

Radar Transponder(s) (SARTs)

(SSRR, Life Saving Equipment Regulations, Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations, and Small Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations)

No (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

Yes (All other ships)

1 if 20m in length or over on > HTII voyages; but, can continue to carry 2 Class II EPIRBs instead until one of the batteries expire.

Survival Craft VHF Portable Radio

(Life Saving Equipment Regulations, Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations)

Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

  • 3 are required, unless ship is certified to carry≤12 passengers and is <500gt, then carry 2 (new requirement for ships on home-trade voyages, class III).
No (All other ships)

Reserve Source of Energy

Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

Yes (All other ships)

  • if ship is ≥20m, is carrying more than 6 passengers, or is a tow-boat.

Table 4-9 - Sea Area A3

Table 4-9 Sea Area A3
EquipmentSea Area A3
VHF Radio with DSC (SSRR)

Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

  • unless ship operates within a VTS Zone, then will have until January 31, 2003, or until the sea area A1 is completed, whichever is latest.

Yes (All other ships)

  • by February 1, 2003, or after sea area A1 completed, whichever is latest
    • ships ≥8m in length and of closed construction,
    • ships carrying >6 passengers, and
    • tow boats
  • exempted are ships on a home-trade voyage, class IV in a VTS Zone
  • current VHF radiotelephone provisions remain in effect until then.

Inmarsat Ship Earth Station with EGC, and MF Radio with DSC,

or

MF/HF Radio with DSC and NBDP (SSRR)

Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

(EGC required only if outside NAVTEX range)

No (All other ships)
NAVTEX Receiver
(no change to current requirement – SSRR)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

Yes (All other ships)

  • if ≥ 150gt tow boat
  • if ≥ 300gt cargo ship
  • if ≥24m fishing, or
  • if passenger ship
EPIRB (float-free) (SSRR) Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

Yes (All other ships)

  • if ≥20 m (and beyond home trade IV voyage)
  • if tug >5gt and <20 m if voyage >50 miles long and >2 miles from shore
  • if ≥ 15gt and go beyond home-trade III voyage limits i.e., 20 miles from shore by April 1, 2001
  • if ≥ 8m and go beyond home-trade III voyage limits on April 1, 2002 (Note: EPIRB does not have to be float-free if less than 15gt)

-exempted are ships on home-trade voyages, class IV or minor waters voyages.

Radar Transponder(s) (SARTs)
(SSRR, Life Saving Equipment Regulations, Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations, and Small Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations)

Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

  • 2 are required, unless ship is certified to carry ≤ 12 passengers and is <500gt, then carry 1.

Yes (All other ships)

  • 1 if 20m in length or over on > HTII voyages; but, can continue to carry 2 Class II EPIRBs instead until one of the batteries expire.

Survival Craft VHF Portable Radio

(Life Saving Equipment Regulations, Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations)

Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

  • 3 are required, unless ship is certified to carry≤12 passengers and is <500gt, then carry 2 (new requirement for ships on home-trade voyages, class III).

Yes (All other ships)

  • 3 are required if ship is certified to carry >12 passengers and is >5gt.
Reserve Source of Energy

Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

Yes (All other ships)

  • if ship is ≥20m, is carrying more than 6 passengers, or is a tow-boat.

Table 4-10 - Sea Area A4

Table 4-10 Sea Area A4
EquipmentSea Area A4
VHF Radio with DSC (SSRR)

Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

  • unless ship operates within a VTS Zone, then will have until January 31, 2003, or until the sea area A1 is completed, whichever is latest.

Yes (All other ships)

  • by February 1, 2003, or after sea area A1 completed, whichever is latest
    • ships ≥8m in length and of closed construction,
    • ships carrying >6 passengers, and
    • tow boats
  • exempted are ships on a home-trade voyage, class IV in a VTS Zone
  • current VHF radiotelephone provisions remain in effect until then.

Inmarsat Ship Earth Station with EGC, and MF Radio with DSC,

or

MF/HF Radio with DSC and NBDP (SSRR)

Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

MF/HF option only

No (All other ships)
NAVTEX Receiver
(no change to current requirement – SSRR)
No (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
No (All other ships)
EPIRB (float-free) (SSRR) Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

Yes (All other ships)

  • if ≥20 m (and beyond home trade IV voyage)
  • if tug >5gt and <20 m if voyage >50 miles long and >2 miles from shore
  • if ≥ 15gt and go beyond home-trade III voyage limits i.e., 20 miles from shore by April 1, 2001
  • if ≥ 8m and go beyond home-trade III voyage limits on April 1, 2002 (Note: EPIRB does not have to be float-free if less than 15gt)

-exempted are ships on home-trade voyages, class IV or minor waters voyages.

Radar Transponder(s) (SARTs)

(SSRR, Life Saving Equipment Regulations, Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations, and Small Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations)

Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

  • 2 are required, unless ship is certified to carry ≤ 12 passengers and is <500gt, then carry 1.

Yes (All other ships)

  • 1 if 20m in length or over on > HTII voyages; but, can continue to carry 2 Class II EPIRBs instead until one of the batteries expire.

Survival Craft VHF Portable Radio

(Life Saving Equipment Regulations, Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations)

Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

  • 3 are required, unless ship is certified to carry≤12 passengers and is <500gt, then carry 2 (new requirement for ships on home-trade voyages, class III).

Yes (All other ships)

  • 3 are required if ship is certified to carry >12 passengers and is >5gt.
 Reserve Source of Energy Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)

Yes (All other ships)

if ship is ≥20m, is carrying more than 6 passengers, or is a tow-boat.

Note:

DSC: digital selective calling
EGC: enhanced group calling
NBDP: narrow band direct printing

Additional requirements: emergency procedures card, operating and routine maintenance manuals, consumable spare parts, radio publications, time piece, weather facsimile (Arctic), spare antennas (some ships > 20m).

4.2.5 Guidance for Masters in Distress Situations and Alerting of SAR Authorities

In 1992, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) prepared a flow chart providing GMDSS operating guidance for masters of ships in distress situations (COM/Circ.108). It was recommended that this chart be displayed on the ship's bridge.

Later, another circular (MSC/Circ.892) was prepared to strongly emphasize the importance for ships to alert SAR authorities at the earliest possible moment in any situation that may involve a danger to life or that has the potential of developing into such a situation.

The following is for the mariner's information and guidance:

  1. GMDSS Operating Guidance for Masters of Ships in Distress Situations and;
  2. Alerting the Search and Rescue Authorities

Figure 4-1 - GMDSS Operating Guidance for Masters of Ships in Distress Situations

GMDSS OPERATING GUIDANCE FOR MASTERS OF SHIPS IN DISTRESS SITUATIONS

Text description of Figure 4-1 GMDSS operating guidance for masters of ships in distress situations

4.2.5.1 Alerting the Search and Rescue Authorities (MSC/Circ.892)

  1. The need for the earliest possible alerting of the search and rescue (SAR) co-ordination authority to maritime emergencies cannot be over-emphasized
  2. It is essential to enable shore-based facilities to respond without delay to any situation which constitutes, or has the potential to constitute, a danger to life. Time lost in the initial stages of an incident may be crucial to its eventual outcome. It cannot be regained.
  3. Factors to be considered include position (in relation to hazards and to shore-based or other SAR units); time of day; weather conditions (actual & forecast); the number of persons at risk or potentially at risk; specific assistance required, etc.
  4. It is always best to consider the 'worst case scenario' and to alert the SAR organization accordingly. Depending on the circumstances, the co-ordinating authority may choose to alert or despatch SAR facilities as a precautionary measure and/or to reduce transit times. If assistance is not subsequently required, any such positive response can be easily curtailed. But time lost through delays in notification can never be regained.
  5. It is therefore essential that the SAR co-ordinating authority be informed immediately of:
    1. all maritime SAR incidents;
    2. any situation which may develop into a SAR incident; and
    3. any incident which may involve or lead to danger to life, the environment or to property which may require action from the SAR services and/or other authorities.

Operating guidance for masters of ships in distress or urgency situations [to be considered in conjunction with IMO publication 969 - GMDSS Operating Guidance for Masters of Ships in Distress Situations (COM/Circ.108 of 23 January 1992)]

  1. The following diagram shows standard procedures for distress/urgency message routing. It is for guidance only, and does not preclude the use of any and all available means of distress alerting.

Figure 4-2 - Operating Guidance for Masters of Ships in Distress or Urgency Situations

Operating guidance for masters of ships in distress or urgency situations

 Text description of Figure 4-2 operating guidance for masters of ships in distress or urgency situations

Operation guidance for masters of ships observing another vessel apparently in danger

  1. The following diagram shows suggested procedures for reporting concerns about the safety of another vessel (fire, smoke, adrift, navigating towards a danger, etc.).

Figure 4-3 - Operation Guidance for Masters of Ships Observing Another Vessel Apparently in Danger

Operation guidance for masters of ships observing another vessel apparently in danger

Text description of Figure 4-3 Operating guidance for masters of ships observing another vessel apparently in danger

Note

For local JRCC contact information refer to section SEARCH AND RESCUE IN CANADIAN AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY (Part 4 of this publication)

4.2.5.2 False Distress Alerts and Distress Relay Alerts

The GMDSS has been in force for ships on international voyages since February 1, 1999, following its seven-year phase-in. During this time, considerable experience was gained internationally in the operation of the GMDSS. While the GMDSS has proven its overall effectiveness, the high number of accidental distress alert activations and the inappropriate and unintended Digital Selective Calling (DSC) distress relay alerts have detracted from the efficiency of the system. Excessive false alerts and distress relay alerts can create an unnecessary burden and workload for SAR services. They may also cause confusion and undermine mariner's confidence in the GMDSS. They could potentially have a serious impact on real distress situations.

With the aim of minimizing the number of false alerts and distress alert relays, the following information is provided:

  1. "Instructions for Mariners and Others on How to Cancel a False Alert" (appendix to IMO Resolution A.814(19) entitled Guidelines for the Avoidance of False Distress Alerts).
  2. "Procedure for Responding to DSC Distress Alerts by Ships" (COMSAR/Cir.25).

4.2.5.3 Instructions for Mariners and Others4 on How to Cancel a False Distress Alert5

[Appendix to IMO Resolution A.814 (19)]

DSC
1 VHF
  1. switch off transmitter immediately6;
  2. switch equipment on and set to Channel 16; and
  3. make broadcast to "All Stations" giving the ship's name, call sign and MMSI number, and cancel the false distress alert.

Example

All Stations, All Stations, All Stations
This is NAME, CALL SIGN,
MMSI NUMBER, POSITION.

Cancel my distress alert of
DATE, TIME UTC,
= Master NAME, CALL SIGN,
MMSI NUMBER, DATE, TIME UTC

2 MF
  1. switch off equipment immediately7;
  2. switch equipment on and tune for radiotelephony transmission on 2182 kHz; and
  3. make broadcast to "All Stations" giving the ship's name, call sign and MMSI number, and cancel the false distress alert.

Example

All Stations, All Stations, All Stations
This is NAME, CALL SIGN,
MMSI NUMBER, POSITION.

Cancel my distress alert of
DATE, TIME UTC,
= Master NAME, CALL SIGN,
MMSI NUMBER, DATE, TIME UTC

3 HF

As for MF, but the alert must be cancelled on all the frequency bands on which it was transmitted. Hence, in stage 2.2 the transmitter should be tuned consecutively to the radiotelephony distress frequencies in the 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16 MHz bands, as necessary.

[4] Appropriate signals should precede these messages in accordance with the ITU Radio Regulations Chapter N1X.

[5] Appendix to IMO Resolution A.814 (19)

[6] This applies when the false alert is detected during transmission.

[7] This applies when the false alert is detected during transmission.

4 Inmarsat C

Notify the appropriate JRCC to cancel the alert by sending a distress priority message via the same CES through which the false distress alert was sent.

NAME, CALL SIGN, IDENTITY NUMBER,
POSITION,
Cancel my Inmarsat-C distress
alert of DATE, TIME UTC
= Master +

5 EPIRBs

If for any reason an EPIRB is activated accidentally, the ship should contact the nearest coast station or an appropriate coast earth station or JRCC and cancel the distress alert.

6 General
  1. 6.1 Notwithstanding the above, ships may use any means available to them to inform the appropriate authorities that a false distress alert has been transmitted and should be cancelled.
  2. 6.2 No action will normally be taken against any ship or mariner for reporting and cancelling a false distress alert. However, in view of the serious consequences of false alerts, and the strict ban on their transmission, Governments may prosecute in cases of repeated violations.

4.2.6 Procedure for Responding to DSC Distress Alerts by Ships8

8(COMSAR/Circ.25)

1 Introduction

The Sub-Committee on Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue (COMSAR) decided that Digital Selective Calling (DSC) relays of distress alerts on all shipborne DSC equipment should be reduced and prepared a procedure for responding to VHF/MF and HF distress alerts, given in flow diagrams 1 and 2 which follow, recommending that it be displayed on the ship's bridge as A4 size posters. It also prepared the following guidance.

2 Distress relays

  1. Radio personnel serving on ships should be made aware of the consequences of transmitting a distress relay call and of routing a DSC distress relay alert to other than coast stations (CS).
  2. The number of unintended activations of DSC distress alerts and DSC distress relay alerts creates extra work load and confusion to (M) JRCCs and also causing delay in the response-time. The original distress alert from a ship in distress should not be disrupted by other ships, by transmitting a DSC distress relay alert.
  3. Recommendation ITU-R M.541-8 on Operational procedures for the use of DSC equipment in the Maritime Mobile Service identifies only two situations in which a ship would transmit a distress relay call (distress relay alert):
    1. on receiving a distress alert on a HF channel, which is not acknowledged by a coast station within 5 minutes. The distress relay call should be addressed to the appropriate coast station (Annex 1, paragraph 3.4.2 and Annex 3, paragraph 6.1.4); and
    2. on knowing that another ship in distress is not itself able to transmit the distress alert and the Master of the ship considers that further help is necessary. The distress relay call should be addressed to "all ships" or to the appropriate coast station (Annex 3, paragraph 1.4).
  4. In no case is a ship permitted to transmit a DSC distress relay call on receipt of a DSC distress alert on either VHF or MF channels.
  5. Distress relay calls on HF channels should be initiated manually.
  6. Compliance with operational and technical provisions above would prevent transmissions of inappropriate distress relay calls.

3 All coast stations call

  1. Recommendation ITU-R M.493-9 on DSC systems for use in the Maritime Mobile Service provides for "group calls" an address consisting of the characters corresponding to the station's Maritime Mobile Service identity (MMSI) and a number of administrations have already assigned a "group call" MMSI to their coast stations in addition to the coast station's individual MMSI.
  2. By multilateral agreements, a "group call" MMSI could be assigned to all coast stations of a specific region, e.g., an JRCC area and could comply with IMO's requirement without need of introducing further modifications to GMDSS equipment.
  3. An alternative method to implement an "all coast stations" call without the need to modify Recommendation ITU-R M.493-9 could be to define one MMSI world-wide as an address for all coast stations, in accordance with Nos. S19.100 to S19.126 of the ITU Radio Regulations. However, this solution would also require a modification of the setup at each coast station participating in the GMDSS.

4 Authorization

It should be noted that on ships, distress alerts, distress acknowledgements and distress relay calls can only be transmitted with permission of the Master of the ship.

5 Flow diagrams

  1. The simplified flow diagrams 1 and 2 describe actions to be taken aboard ships upon receipt of distress alerts from other ships. Administrations should give wide distribution of these flow diagrams to ships and training institutions.
  2. Member Governments are invited to bring the above guidance and the attached flow diagrams to the attention of their shipowners, seafarers, coast stations, JRCCs and all others concerned.

Figure 4-4 - Flow Diagram 1 (COMSAR/Cir.25)

FLOW DIAGRAM 1 (COMSAR/Cir.25) ACTIONS BY SHIPS UPON RECEPTION OF VHF/MF DSC DISTRESS ALERT

Text description of Figure 4-4 Flow diagram 1 COMSAR/Cir.25

Remarks:

Note 1: Appropriate or relevant JRCC and/or Coast Station shall be informed accordingly. If further DSC alerts are received from the same source and the ship in distress is beyond doubt in the vicinity, a DSC acknowledgement may, after consultation with a JRCC or Coast Station, be sent to terminate the call.

Note 2: In no case is a ship permitted to transmit a DSC distress relay call on receipt of a DSC distress alert on either VHF channel 70 or MF Channel 2187.5 kHz.

CS = Coast Station JRCC = Joint Rescue Co-ordination Center

Figure 4-5 Flow Diagram 2 (COMSAR/Cir.25)

FLOW DIAGRAM 1 (COMSAR/Cir.25) ACTIONS BY SHIPS UPON RECEPTION OF HF-DSC DISTRESS ALERT

Text description of Figure 4-5 Flow diagram 2 COMSAR/Cir.25

Figure 4-6 - Distress and Safety Radiotelephone Procedures

Text description of Figure 4-6 Distress and safety radiotelephone procedures

DISTRES AND SAFETY RADIOTELEPHONE PRECEDURES

4.2.7 AMVER - Automated Manual-Assisted Vessel Rescue System

Note

A 96-hour pre-arrival report to U.S. ports is required under 33 CFR 160.

The AMVER System, operated by the United States Coast Guard, is a maritime mutual assistance program that provides important aid to the development and co-ordination of search and rescue (SAR) efforts in the oceans of the world. Merchant vessels of all nations making offshore passages of more than 24 hours are encouraged to send sail plans and periodic position reports to the AMVER Centre in Martinsburg, WV. There is no charge for these radio messages when they are sent through MCTS Centres. Information from these messages is entered into a computer that generates and maintains dead reckoning positions for participating vessels throughout their voyages. The predicted locations and SAR characteristics of all vessels known to be within a given area are furnished upon request to recognized SAR agencies of any nation for use during an emergency. Predicted vessels' locations are disclosed only for reasons related to maritime safety.

AMVER is a free and voluntary program. An AMVER participant is under no greater obligation to render assistance during an emergency than a vessel that is not participating. Benefits to shipping include:

  1. improved likelihood of rapid aid in emergencies;
  2. reduced number of calls for assistance to vessels not favourably located; and
  3. reduced time lost for vessels responding to calls for assistance. An AMVER participant is under no greater obligation to render assistance during an emergency than a vessel that is not participating.

Details of AMVER System operations may be obtained from AMVER Maritime Relations Office, U.S. Coast Guard, Battery Park Building, 1 South Street, New York, NY 10004-1499 (Telephone: 212-668-7764, Fax 212-668-7684). AMVER instructions are also available at Coast Guard Captain of the Port and Marine Safety Offices in major United States coastal ports. The instructions are published in the following languages: Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. Requests for instructions should state the language desired if other than English. AMVER website.

Ship Station (Radio) Technical Regulations, 1999 now specify compulsory participation in AMVER for certain ships when departing on an offshore voyage of more than 24 hours duration.

The provisions apply to all Canadian ships and to all non-Canadian ships engaged in the coasting trade of Canada. Of this group, the following are exempted:

  1. fishing vessels engaged in fishing;
  2. ships operated by the Canadian government on law enforcement duties;
  3. vessels whose voyages will be within the waters of an Arctic Shipping Safety Control Zone, Hudson Bay, James Bay or Ungava Bay; and
  4. vessels in other waters provided their voyages are within VHF or MF coverage areas.

It should be noted that the above exemptions do not amount to a prohibition; and that all other ships proceeding on an offshore voyage of more than 24 hours duration are encouraged to participate in AMVER.

4.2.7.1 To Participate

Any merchant vessel of one thousand gross tons or more on a voyage of greater than twenty-four hours to anywhere on the globe is to be part of the AMVER system. International participation is voluntary regardless of vessel's or company's flag, country of origin, or destination.

4.2.7.2 The Information Reported

Information voluntarily provided by vessels to AMVER is kept strictly confidential and is protected by the Coast Guard (USA). It will be released only for safety purposes.

4.2.7.3 What and When You Report

  1. Sail plan message should be sent on or before departure.
  2. Position Reports should be sent within twenty-four hours of departure and subsequently no less frequently than every forty-eight hours until arrival.
  3. Arrival Reports should be sent immediately prior to or upon arrival at the Port of Destination.
  4. Reports are to be sent during the Radio Officer's normal duty hours.
  5. At the discretion of the vessel, reports may be sent more frequently than the above schedule, as, for example, in heavy weather or under other adverse conditions.

4.2.7.4 Report Format

As previous AMVER participants will note, the format described below represents a change which serves two purposes: First, the new format will permit the automated data processing system to enter your information into AMVER more accurately and efficiently. Second, the new format conforms to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) proposed standard, thus reducing the number of different formats in use. As other systems also adopt the IMO format, we will have moved closer to a single format worldwide.

4.2.7.5 AMVER System Communications Network

The following methods are recommended for ships to transmit AMVER Sail Plan, Position, Deviation and Arrival reports. AMVER/SEAS software can be downloaded from the Internet on the AMVER website.

Via email: AMVERmsg@AMVER.com

AMVER/SEAS "Compressed Message" via Inmarsat-C via TELENOR: AMVER address: NOAA telephone number entered in the ADDRESSBOOK. For information, please see the instruction sheet for your brand of Inmarsat-C transceiver. AMVER/SEAS software can be downloaded
or requested from:

TELENOR Satellite Services
1101, Wootton Parkway
Rockville, Maryland 20852
1-301-838-7800
Email: customercare@telenor.com

HF Radiotelex Service of U.S. Coast Guard Communications Stations: Full information on how to send AMVER messages this way.

HF Radio at no cost via Coast Guard Contractual Agreements with the following companies:

  1. Mobile Marine Radio (WLO)
  2. Mobile (WCL)
  3. Marina Del Ray (KNN)
  4. Seattle (KLB)

Telex: AMVER Address: (0) 230 127594 AMVERNYK

Telefax: To the USCG Operations Systems Centre in Martinsburg: 1-304-264-2505

If messages are relayed through Canadian Coast Guard Ships no ship charge will be assessed. All AMVER messages forwarded via the stations listed should be addressed to AMVER Halifax, rather than COAST GUARD New York, to ensure that no charge is applied in delivery.

4.2.7.6 AMVER Voyage Report Types

There are four types of AMVER Reports - Sail Plan, Arrival, Position, and Deviation Reports.

  1. Reporting format. Each line of AMVER Report text starts with a line identifier. Line identifiers are "AMVER" or a single letter. The line identifier and the data items on the line are each separated from each other by a single slash ("/"). Lines are terminated by two slashes ("//").
  2. Reporting data. AMVER participants need to be familiar with four types of reports - Sail, Arrival, Position, and Deviation Reports. Note that AMVER permits sail plan and departure to be combined into a single report. AMVER accepts sail plan information separately - for example, several days prior to departure. Report identifiers are as follows:
    • AMVER/SP// Sail Plan & Departure
    • AMVER/PR// Position Report
    • AMVER/FR// Final Arrival Report.
    • AMVER/DR// Deviation Report.
  3. Details. Paragraph IX includes a discussion of each report type. Each example is followed by an explanation. Note that not all the lines in the example are necessary for each type of report. The required and optional lines are discussed in each section.

4.2.7.7 Other Required Information

AMVER also needs other information, which might be useful in an emergency. This includes data such as the ship length, communications equipment, radio watch schedule, speed, rig, and so forth. This information is collected separately once, by completion of the Search and Rescue Questionnaire (SAR-Q) found on the AMVER website which is then retained in the automatic data processing system, periodically validated, and used only for search-and-rescue purposes.

4.2.7.8 Release of Information

All voluntary information collected under these instructions will be only released to recognized search-and-rescue authorities. Information regarding vessels required to participate in AMVER will be forwarded to the U.S. Maritime Administration, via the keyword MAREP on the Y-Line.

4.2.7.9 Description of Voyage Reports

An example and explanation of each of the four types of AMVER reports follows. Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes at the end of the section.

Sail Plan & Departure Report. The "L" lines contain routing and "turnpoint" information needed by AMBER. AMVER needs data about every intended turnpoint, but also accepts information about any points along the intended track, even though they might not be turnpoints. Turnpoint information is needed by AMVER to maintain plot accuracy.

Table 4-11 - Sail Plan & Departure Report Example

Sample sail plan and departure report
ExampleExplanation
AMVER/SP//
A/SANDY JOAN//ABCD//
B/110935Z//
E/145//
F/126//
G/NORVOROSK/4510N/03820E//
I/GIBRALTERGI/3600N/00600W/140730Z//
L/RL/140/4130N/02910E/112000Z//
L/RL/140/4010N/02620E/112300Z//
L/RL/140/3630N/02330E/120330Z//
L/RL/140/3650N/01520E/121500Z//
L/RL/140/3800N/01000E/130100Z//
L/LR/060//
M/GKA/GKM//
V/MD/NURSE//
X/NEXT/REPORT/120900Z//
Z/SITOR/INSTALLED/SELCALL/NUMBER/IS/99999//
Z//EOR
Required
AMVER/SP//
A /vessel/name/International Radio Call Sign//
B /intended time of departure or departure time // (1)
G /port of departure/latitude//longitude// (2)
I /port of destination/latitude//longitude/estimated time of arrival//(1) (2) (3)
L / ...... route information ...// (1) (3) (4)
Z // end of report
Optional 
E /current course// (5)
F /estimated average speed// (6)
M /current coastal radio station//next coastal radio station, if any//
V /onboard medical resources// (7)
X /up to 65 characters of amplifying comments// (8) (9)
 

Table 4-12 - Final Arrival Report Example

Example of a final arrival report
ExampleExplanation
AMVER FR//
A/SANDY/JOAN/ABCD/
K/NEW YORK/US/4040N/07420W/180600Z//
X/PROBLEMS WITH MF XMTR AGENT/ADVISED//
Z//EOR
Required
AMVER/FR//
A /vessel name/International Radio Call Sign//
K /port name/latitude/longitude/time of arrival// (1) (3)
Z // end of report
Optional
X /up to 65 characters of amplifying comments// (8) (9)

Table 4-13 - Position Report Example

Sample position report
ExampleExplanation
AMVER/PR//
A/SANDY/JOAN/ABCD//
B/120300Z//
C/3630N/02330E//
E/145//
F/126//
M/GKM//
X/NEXT REPORT/131800Z//
Z//EOR
Required
AMVER/PR//
A /vessel name/International Radio Call Sign//
B /time at position// (1)
C /latitude/ longitude// (3)
Z //end of report
Optional
E /current course// (5)
F /average speed// (6)
M /current coastal radio station/ next coastal radio station, if any//
X /up to 65 characters of amplifying comments// (8) (9)

Table 4-14 - Deviation Report Used to Report Sail Plan and Other Changes Example

Sample deviation report that is used to report a sail plan and other changes
ExampleExplanation
AMVER/DR//
A/SANDY/JOAN/ABCD//
B/120300Z//
E/095//
F/220//
G/NORVOROSK/4470N/03780E//
I/NEW YORK US/4040N/07420W/180800Z//
L/GC/220//
M/GKA/WSL/NMN//
V/MD/NURSE//
X/DIVERTING BEST SPEED TO NEW YORK US//
Z//EOR
Required
AMVER/DR//
A /vessel name/ International Radio Call Sign//
Z //end of report
One or more of the following optional items
B /intended time of departure// (1)
E /intended course// (5)
F /intended average speed// (6)
G /port of departure/latitude/longitude// (2)
I /port of destination/latitude/longitude/estimated time of arrival//(1) (2) (3)
L /........ route information ....// (1) (3) (4)
M /current coastal radio station/ next coastal radio station, if any//
V /onboard medical resources// (7)
X /up to 65 characters of amplifying comments// (8) (9)
Footnotes:
  1. All times must be expressed as a six-digit group giving date of month (first two digits), hours and minutes (last four digits). Only Coordinated Universal Time (i.e. Greenwich Mean Time) is to be used. The six-digit date-time-group is to be followed by either Z or GMT. The month is optional, and may be added, if appropriate. The first three digits of the English-language month are used. The following examples are acceptable:
    290900Z
    290900 Z
    290900Z DEC
  2. Port latitude longitude refers to the geographic position of the pilot station. Both port name and geographic position are required from U.S. flag vessels.
  3. Latitude is a four-digit group expressed in degrees and minutes, and suffixed with "N" for north or "S" for south. Longitude is a five-digit group expressed in degrees and minutes, and suffixed with "E" for east or "W" for west.

    For example: C/4000N/03500W//
  4. The "L" lines contain most of the sail plan information. As many "L" lines as needed may be used. The "L" lines contain routing data to each of the intermediate points, and to the destination. Data about all turnpoints are required, unless the voyage will follow a great circle with no delays at intermediate points. In addition to turnpoint information, data about other points along each leg are useful. Following, is the information desired for each intermediate point: navigation, method, leg speed, latitude, longitude, port or landmark name ETA estimated time of departure.

    For example:
    L/RL/125/0258N/07710W/ABACO/111200Z//
    L/RL/125/0251N/07910W/NWPROVCHAN/112145Z//
    L/RL/125/0248N/08020W/120255Z//
    L/RL/125//


    NAVIGATION METHOD IS REQUIRED. It is either "GC" for great circle, or "RL" for rhumb line.
    LEG SPEED is useful, but is not required. See footnote (6).
    LATITUDE LONGITUDE IS REQUIRED. See footnote (3).
    PORT OR LANDMARK NAME is useful, but is not required.
    ETA IS REQUIRED. See footnote (1).
    ESTIMATED TIME OF DEPARTURE IS REQUIRED, if the ship will lay over at the intermediate point.
    A final NAVIGATION METHOD is required to route the ship to its destination. A final LEG SPEED is useful, but not required.
  5. True course is a three-digit group.
  6. Speed is a three-digit group in knots and tenths of knots. For example, 20.5 knots would be written as 205, without a period or decimal point.
  7. If the optional "V" line is used, one or more of the following is required:
    /MD/ for physician
    /PA/ for physician's assistant
    /NURSE/
    /NONE/
    For example: V/DOCTOR/NURSE//
  8. Any information provided in the Remarks line will be stored in the AMVER's automatic data processing system for later review. However, no immediate action will be taken, nor will the information be routinely passed to other organizations. The remarks line cannot be used as a substitute for sending information to other search-and-rescue authorities or organizations. However, AMVER will, at the request of other SAR authorities, forward remarks line information to the requesting agencies.
  9. Next report information is not currently used by the AMVER System, but is expected to aid in future development.

4.2.8 Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS)

Since May 2000, Full Operational Service (FOS) of the Canadian Coast Guard DGPS service has been available from 19 DGPS stations located on the East and West coasts of Canada and parts of the Great Lakes. DGPS corrections are broadcast from medium frequency (MF) radiobeacon transmitters located to cover selected marine areas and waterways. The broadcasts are in accordance with international standards for radiobeacon DGPS services. DGPS provides continuous precise positioning of better than 10 metres for 95% or better of the time (provided that suitable DGPS receiver equipment is utilized, properly installed and maintained).

Additional information on the use of the DGPS service will be announced through Notices to Mariners. General information is also available from the Canadian Coast Guard website.

The corrections from the DGPS service are calculated at the reference station in the NAD 83 coordinates. To process the information properly, DGPS receivers should be adjusted to the WGS 84 setting. Although WGS 84 and NAD 83 are essentially the same (only a few centimetres difference), it is highly recommended that all DGPS receivers be set to WGS 84 to take full advantage of the precision of DGPS. When utilizing charts other than NAD 83, DGPS latitude and longitude positions must be adjusted to the appropriate datum using the information contained in the charts.

The table that follows provides information on existing DGPS broadcasts. A list of United States Coast Guard (USCG) DGPS transmitters providing coverage in Canadian waters may be obtained directly from the USCG Website.

Figures 4-7, Figure 4-8 and Figure 4-9 show the nominal coverage from existing broadcast stations. Users should be aware that coverage is subject to short and long term variations due to environmental and seasonal conditions.

4.2.8.1 Canadian Coast Guard DGPS Broadcasts

Table 4-15 - St. Lawrence River and Atlantic Coast

Canadian Coast Guard DGPS BROADCASTS - St. Lawrence River and Atlantic Coast
Station NameLocation
NAD 83
Frequency & Transmission rateIALA Reference Station IDIALA Radio
Beacon ID
Remarks
St.-Jean sur Richelieu, Que. 45°19′N 73°19′W 296 kHz 200bps 312, 313 929 Full operational service.
Lauzon, Que. 46°49′N 71°10′W 309 kHz 200bps 316, 317 927 Full operational service.
Rivière du Loup, Que. 47°46′N 69°36′W 300 kHz 200bps 318, 319 926 Full operational service.
Moisie, Que. 50°12′N 66°07′W 313 kHz 200bps 320, 321 925 Full operational service.
Point Escuminac, N.B. 47°04′N 64°48′W 319 kHz 200bps 332, 333 936 Full operational service.
Partridge Island, N.B. 45°14′N 66°03′W 295 kHz 200bps 326, 327 939 Full operational service.
Western Head, N.S. 43°59′N 64°40′W 312 kHz 200bps 334, 335 935 Full operational service.
Hartlen Point, N.S. 44°36′N 63°27′W 298 kHz 200bps 330, 331 937 Full operational service.
Fox Island, N.S. 45°20′N 61°05′W 307 kHz 200bps 336, 337 934 Full operational service.
Cape Race, N.L. 46°46′N 53°11′W 315 kHz 200bps 338, 339 940 Full operational service.
Cape Ray, N.L. 47°38′N 59°14′W 288 kHz 200bps 340, 341 942 Full operational service.
Rigolet, N.L. 54°11′N 58°27′W 299 kHz 200bps 344, 345 946 Full operational service.
Cape Norman, N.L. 51°30′N 55°49′W 310 kHz 200bps 342, 343 944 Full operational service.

4.2.8.2 Canadian Coast Guard DGPS Broadcasts

Table 4-16 - Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River

Canadian Coast Guard DGPS Broadcasts - Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River
Station NameLocation
NAD83
Frequency & Transmission RateIALA Reference Station IDIALA Radio Beacon IDRemarks
Cardinal, Ont. 44°47′N 075°25′W 306khz 200bps 308, 309 919 Full operational service.
Wiarton, Ont. 44°56′N 081°14′W 286khz 200bps 310, 311 918 Full operational service.
 

Figure 4-7 - DGPS Coverage - East Coast

DGPS coverage for the East Coast

Text description of Figure 4-7 - DGPS Coverage East Coast

Figure 4-8 - DGPS Coverage - St. Lawrence Seaway

DGPS coverage for the St. Lawrence Seaway

Text description of Figure 4-8 - DGPS Coverage - St. Lawrence Seaway

Figure 4-9 - DGPS Coverage - Central Region

DGPS coverage for the Central Region

Text description of Figure 4-9 DGPS Coverage - Central Region

4.2.9 Pre-Arrival Information Report (PAIR)

Note:

Pursuant to the Marine Transportation Security Regulations, the following pre-arrival information requirement does not apply to vessels operating solely on the Great Lakes or to the portions of a vessel's voyage on the Great Lakes after pre-arrival information has been given prior to its entrance into the St. Lawrence Seaway, neither, to fishing vessels, pleasure craft and government vessels.

The master of the following vessels, engaged on a voyage from a port in one country to a port in another country:

  1. SOLAS vessel of 500 tons gross tonnage or more or is carrying more than 12 passengers;
  2. NON-SOLAS vessel that is more than 100 tons gross tonnage, other than a towing vessel;
  3. NON-SOLAS vessel that carries more than 12 passengers; or
  4. NON-SOLAS vessel that is a towing vessel engaged in towing a barge astern or alongside or pushing ahead, if the barge is carrying certain dangerous cargoes.

shall ensure their vessel does not enter Canadian waters unless the master submits their pre-arrival information to a Canadian Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) centre before entering Canadian waters.

All pre-arrival information must be provided at least 96 hours prior to entering Canadian waters unless the total duration of the voyage before entering Canadian waters is less than 96 hours in which case the notification must be provided at least 24 hours prior to entering Canadian waters.

If the duration of the segment of the voyage before entering Canadian waters is less than 24 hours, vessels are required to send a pre-arrival report as soon as practicable before entering Canadian waters but no later than the time of departure from their last port of call.

The pre-arrival information must be sent to one of the addresses below:

  1. Vessels planning to enter Canadian waters inbound to a Canadian port on the West Coast shall send pre-arrival information to the Canadian Coast Guard Regional Marine Information Centre (RMIC) via one of the following methods listed below:

    Email: Offshore@rmic.gc.ca
    INMARSAT: telex 04352586 "CGTC VAS VCR"
    any Canadian Coast Guard MCTS Centre, free of charge; or
    directly to CVTS Offshore by
    Fax: 604-666-8453

  2. 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 shall send pre-arrival information to ECAREG Canada via one of the following methods listed below:

    Halifax MCTS Centre
    Facsimile: 902-426-4483
    Telegraphic Identifier: CCG MRHQ DRT
    Email: hlxecareg1@innav.gc.ca

  3. Vessels planning to enter Canadian waters inbound to a Canadian port within the Canadian Arctic Zone shall send pre-arrival information to NORDREG Canada via one of the following methods listed below:

    Iqaluit MCTS Centre
    Telephone: 867-979-5724
    Facsimile: 867-979-4264
    Telex (Telefax): 063-15529
    Telegraphic Identifier: NORDREG CDA
    Email: iqanordreg@innav.gc.ca
    Operational from approximately mid-May to late December

    Prescott MCTS Centre
    Facsimile: 1-613-925-4519
    Email: iqanordreg@innav.gc.ca
    Operational from approximately late December to mid-May

It is the responsibility of the Master of the vessel to ensure all information provided to the Government of Canada (Transport Canada) in the pre-arrival information is complete and accurate. Masters of vessels subject to the Marine Transportation Security Regulations (as described above) failing to submit or submitting an incomplete or inaccurate pre-arrival information risk subjecting their vessel to control actions such as, but not limited to: inspection, detention, redirection or expulsion from Canadian waters.

Vessels can obtain a blank template of the 96 hour pre arrival report by sending an email to 96@tc.gc.ca.

The Master of a vessel shall ensure that the following pre-arrival information in respect of the vessel is reported:

  1. its name;
  2. its country of registry;
  3. the name of its registered owner;
  4. the name of its operator;
  5. the name of its classification society;
  6. its international radio call sign;
  7. its International Ship Security Certificate, Canadian Vessel Security Certificate or ship security compliance document number;
  8. its International Maritime Organization number, if it is a SOLAS ship;
  9. the date of issuance, date of expiry and name of the issuing body of its International Ship Security Certificate, Canadian Vessel Security Certificate, or ship security compliance document;
  10. confirmation that the vessel has an approved vessel security plan;
  11. the current MARSEC level;
  12. a statement of when its last 10 declarations of security were completed;
  13. details of any security threats to the vessel during the last ten calls at marine facilities;
  14. a statement as to whether the vessel consents to tracking by the Canadian Government;
  15. details of any deficiencies in its security equipment and systems, including the communication systems, and the way in which the master of the vessel intends to correct them;
  16. if applicable, the name of its agent and their 24-hour telephone and facsimile numbers;
  17. if applicable, the name of the vessel's charterer;
  18. its position and time at which it reached that position;
  19. its course and speed;
  20. its destination and estimated time of arrival at its destination;
  21. the name of a contact person at the marine facility that it will visit and their 24-hour telephone and facsimile numbers;
  22. the following information in respect of its last ten marine facilities visited:
    1. the receiving facility;
    2. the marine facility visited;
    3. the city and country;
    4. the date and time of arrival, and
    5. the date and time of departure;
  23. a general description of the cargo, including cargo amount; and
  24. if applicable, the presence and description of any dangerous substances or devices on board.

If the master reported pre-arrival information more than 24 hours before entering Canadian waters, the master of a vessel shall ensure that the vessel does not enter Canadian waters unless the master reports any change in that information 24 hours before entering Canadian waters to the MCTS Centre in accordance with the instructions set out in the most recent edition of the Canadian Coast Guard Radio Aids to Marine Navigation.

It is recommended that a complete copy of the vessel's Interim International Ship Security Certificate (IISSC), International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC), Interim Canadian Vessel Security Certificate (ICVSC), Canadian Vessel Security Certificate (CVSC) or Ship Security Compliance document, and any pages containing the Endorsement information, is to be included with the Pre Arrival Information Report.

4.3 Services

4.3.1 Notices to Shipping

Notices to Shipping (NOTSHIPs) issued for the Atlantic, Great Lakes and Arctic areas of Canada are assigned an alphanumeric designator. The alphanumeric designator consists of an alpha character which identifies the Canadian Coast Guard Notices to Shipping issuing authority. The alpha character is followed by a number commencing with the number 001 on January 1 each year and subsequently increasing with each new notice until years end. Alpha designators utilized in Canadian Notices to Shipping are as follows:

A – Arctic
C – Central
H – Athabasca - Mackenzie Watershed
M – Maritimes
N – Newfoundland
Q – Quebec

4.3.1.1 Broadcast NOTSHIPs

Broadcast times and radio frequencies for NOTSHIP broadcasts by Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres are listed in PART 2 of this publication.

4.3.1.2 Written NOTSHIPs

A Written NOTSHIP contains information which is anticipated to remain in effect for an extended period of time. 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 the Active NOTSHIP List which lists the NOTSHIP number and provides a brief description. Arrow indicating change or addition since RAMN 2012 Annual Publication Written NOTSHIPs bear the same number as the corresponding broadcast NOTSHIP.

Written NOTSHIPs are available as listed below:

Table 4-17 Distributor of Written Notices to Shipping

Distribution of Written Notices to Shipping
DesignatorNOTSHIP AuthorityEmailInternet
A Central & Arctic Region X http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/Notship-Home
C X
H X
M Maritimes Region   http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/Notship
N Newfoundland & Labrador Region   http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/Notship
Q Québec Region   http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/Notship
http://www.marinfo.gc.ca/

Masters are reminded of the regulatory requirement to report any danger, potential danger or hazard to navigation which they may encounter. Reports should be forwarded to the appropriate MCTS Centre as soon as possible to ensure the widest distribution to mariners through broadcast NOTSHIPs.

4.3.1.3 Information Updates

Notices to Mariners contain information which serves to correct charts and related publications. Up-to-date information is available to vessels inbound for Canadian waters on any changes which have occurred between the date of issue of the most recent monthly edition of Canadian Notices to Mariners held on board. Vessels wishing to avail themselves of this service should send their request directly to ECAREG or NORDREG Canada. Requests may also be routed via any MCTS Centre as listed in PART 2 of this document.

When making this request the following information shall be included:

  1. ship's name and call sign;
  2. present position, destination and intended route;
  3. most recent monthly edition of Canadian Notices to Mariners held on board; and
  4. list of recent Notices to Shipping held on board.

Ice information, ice routing and icebreaker assistance may be obtained through the Eastern Canada Traffic System (ECAREG CANADA) or the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services (NORDREG CANADA). Refer to Notice Number 6 of the Annual Edition, Notices to Mariners or the publication "Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters" for additional information.

4.3.2 Canadian NAVTEX Service

Table 4-18 - Transmitting sites where NAVTEX Service is available

Transmitting sites where NAVTEX Service is available
Controlled bySitePositionRange (NM)ID
518 kHz
(English)
ID
490 kHz
(French)
Placentia MCTS Robin Hood Bay 47º36’N 52º40’W 300 O  
Labrador MCTS Cartwright 53º42’N 57º01’W 300 X  
Sydney MCTS Port Caledonia 46º11’N 59º54’W 300 Q J
Halifax MCTS Chebogue 43º45’N 66º07’W 300 U V
Les Escoumins MCTS Moisie 50º15’N 66º10’W 300 C D
Sarnia MCTS Pass Lake 48º34’N 88º39’W 300 P  
Prescott MCTS Ferndale 44º56’N 81º14’W 300 H  
Iqaluit MCTS Iqaluit 63º43’N 68º33’W 300 T S

The above noted NAVTEX services are provided on a time-shared basis for the broadcast of the following subject indicator content:

(A) Navigational Warnings
(B) Meteorological Warnings
(C) Ice Reports
(D) Search and Rescue Information/Tsunami
(E) Meteorological Forecasts
(G) AIS Service Messages
(J) GPS Messages

Broadcast time and content is shown in individual MCTS Centre listings. For Ferndale site consult Prescott MCTS listing. For Moisie site consult Les Escoumins MCTS listing.

Figure 4-10 - NAVTEX Coverage - 300 NM - Atlantic and Central & Arctic Regions

NAVTEX Coverage - 300 NM - Atlantic and Central & Arctic Regions

Text Description of Figure 4-10 NAVTEX Coverage - 300 NM - Atlantic and Central & Arctic Regions

Figure 4-11 - Canadian A3/A4 GMDSS Sea Areas Theoretical Coverage

Canadian A3/A4 GMDSS Sea Areas Theoretical Coverage

Text description of Figure 4-11 Canadian A3/A4 GMDSS Sea Areas Theoretical Coverage

Figure 4-12 - Radio Coverage Prediction - Atlantic Ocean

VHR DSC System Radio Coverage Prediction - Atlantic Ocean (chart)

Text description of Figure 4-12 Radio Coverage Prediction Atlantic Ocean

Figure 4-13 - Radio Coverage Prediction – St. Lawrence

VHR DSC System Radio Coverage Prediction - St. Lawrence River (chart)

Text description of Figure 4-13 Radio Coverage Prediction - St. Lawrence

Figure 4-14 - Radio Coverage Prediction - Great Lakes

VHR DSC System Radio Coverage Prediction - Great Lakes (chart) - 2

Text description of Figure 4-14 Radio Coverage Prediction Great Lakes

4.3.3 World-Wide Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS)

4.3.3.1 NAVAREAS XVII and XVIII: Navigational Warnings

The Canadian Coast Guard has assumed the responsibility of NAVAREA coordination for NAVAREAs XVII and XVIII as part of the World-Wide Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS). The service was declared to be in "Full Operational Condition" as of June 1, 2011.

NAVAREAs XVII and XVIII warnings are broadcast in the English language using the following rectangular areas until SafetyNET Inmarsat-C or mini-C Maritime terminals operating in the arctic waters have been updated:

NAVAREA XVII
82°00N 175°00E
82°00N 120°00W
62°00N 120°00W
62°00N 175°00E

NAVAREA XVIII
82°00N 120°00W
82°00N 035°00W
62°00N 035°00W
62°00N 120°00W

Reception of rectangular addressed messages should be automatic providing the ship's position is inside the addressed area. However, mariners should check their manufacture's operation manuals to obtain information on the setting of their EGC equipment to receive relevant SafetyNET messages.

NAVAREA XVII (POR): 11:30 UTC and 23:30 UTC

NAVAREA XVIII (AOR-W): 11:00 UTC and 23:00 UTC

During the Arctic navigational season, NAVAREA XVII and XVIII warnings applicable to the Canadian Search and Rescue boundaries for waters North of 70 degrees latitude are broadcast (with limits to coverage area and reliability) using High Frequency Narrow Band Direct Printing (HF-NBDP) on 8416.5 kHz at 03:30 UTC and 15:30 UTC. Refer to Iqaluit MCTS, PART 2, for details about the broadcast content.

Comments concerning the reception of NAVAREA XVII and XVIII broadcasts, especially above 75°N, would be appreciated and should be sent to:

NAVAREA XVII and XVIII
Prescott MCTS Centre
Telephone: 613-925-0666
Facsimile: 613-925-4519
E-mail: navarea17.18@innav.gc.ca

4.3.3.2 NAVAREAS IV and XII

The United States of America is responsibility for NAVAREAs IV and XII.

NAVAREA IV covers the North Atlantic Ocean West of 35°W and north of 7°N. NAVAREA IV warnings are broadcasts over the AOR-W satellite at 10:00 UTC and 22:00 UTC. Ice reports for the North Atlantic are broadcast at 12:00 UTC. NAVAREA IV warnings are broadcast over NBDP from: Boston (NMF) at 01:40 UTC on 6314 kHz, 8416.5 kHz, and 12579 kHz (FIB) and at 16:30 UTC on 8416.5 kHz, 12579 kHz, and 16806.5 kHz (FIB).

NAVAREA XII covers the North Pacific Ocean east of 180° and north of the equator, plus the area north of 3°25′S and east of 120°W. NAVAREA XII warnings are broadcasts over the POR satellite at 10:30 UTC and 22:30 UTC. These messages are broadcast over NBDP by Honolulu (NMO) at 03:30 and 17:30 UTC daily, on 8416.5 kHz, 12579 kHz, and 22376 kHz (FIB).

Consult the publication NP283 (2) Admiralty List of Radio Signals, Volume 3, Part 2, for the listing of all NAVAREA Coordinators and broadcast schedules.

The NAVAREA warning system should normally be sufficient for the ships which proceed along the main oceanic routes of an Area. However, in some waters knowledge of the coastal warnings may prove necessary.

4.3.3.3 Subject Matter for NAVAREA Warnings Messages

The following subjects are considered suitable for broadcast as NAVAREA warnings. This list is not exhaustive and should be regarded only as a guideline. Furthermore, it presupposes that sufficiently precise information about the item has not previously been disseminated in a Notice to Mariners:

  1. casualties to lights, fog signals and buoys and other aids to navigation affecting main shipping lanes;
  2. the presence of dangerous wrecks in or near main shipping lanes and if relevant, their marking;
  3. establishment of major new aids to navigation or significant changes to existing ones when such establishment or change might be misleading to shipping;
  4. the presence of large unwieldy tows in congested waters;
  5. drifting hazards including derelict ships, ice, mines, containers and other large items;
  6. areas where search and rescue (SAR) and anti-pollution operations are being carried out (for avoidance of such areas);
  7. the presence of newly-discovered rocks, shoals, reefs and wrecks likely to constitute a danger to navigation, and, if relevant, their marking;
  8. unexpected alteration or suspension of established routes;
  9. cable or pipe-laying activities, the towing of large submerged objects for research or exploration purposes, the employment of manned or unmanned submersibles, or other underwater operations constituting potential danger in or near shipping lanes;
  10. the establishment of research or scientific instruments in or near shipping lanes;
  11. the establishment of offshore structures in or near shipping lanes;
  12. significant malfunction of radio-navigation services and shore-based maritime safety information and radio services;
  13. information concerning special operations which might affect the safety of shipping, sometimes over wide areas, e.g. naval exercises, missile firings, space missions, nuclear tests, ordnance dumping zones, etc. It is important that where the degree of hazard is known, this information is included in the relevant warning. Whenever possible, such warnings should be originated not less than five days in advance of the scheduled event and reference may be made to relevant national publications in the warning;
  14. acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships;
  15. tsunamis and other natural phenomena, such as abnormal changes to sea level;
  16. World Health Organization (WHO) health advisory information; and
  17. security-related requirements, in accordance with the requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code only.

Figure 4-15 - World-Wide Navigational Warning Service - NAVAREAS

WORLD WIDE NAVIGATIONAL WARNING SERVICE - NAVAREAS

Text description of Figure 4-15 World-Wide Navigation Warning Service NAVAREAS

4.3.4 Cellular Phone (*16) Service - Marine Emergencies

MCTS Centres in certain parts of Canada are connected to the cellular telephone network system where cellular telephone users can, in an emergency situation only, dial *16 or #16 (dependent upon the service provider) on their cellular telephone to access a MCTS Centre in order to obtain assistance.

Mariners are cautioned that a cellular telephone is not a good substitute for a marine radio because the maritime mobile radio safety system in the southern waters of Canada is based principally on VHF communications. Furthermore, VHF has the advantage that a call can be heard by the closest MCTS Centre(s) and by ships in the vicinity which could provide immediate assistance. On the other hand, the telephone cellular network is a party-to-party system and the benefit of the broadcast mode in an emergency situation cannot be obtained.

Mariners are reminded that the use of marine radio distress frequencies to obtain assistance in an emergency situation is the best option and that cellular telephone should be used only as an alternative should the VHF radiotelephone set not be available. Standard distress alerting equipment, such as marine radio and EPIRBs should never be replaced by cellular phone alone.

Note:

Details of this service may be obtained by contacting local cellular telephone companies; however, mariners are cautioned that not all cellular telephone companies provide this service.

4.3.5 Direction Finding (VHF/DF) Service

MCTS Centres in certain parts of Canada are provided with VHF/DF equipment, primarily to determine or confirm the bearing, from a DF facility, of a vessel requiring assistance in a distress or other emergency situation. In addition, an estimated line of position from a DF facility can be provided to vessels that are uncertain of their locations. Location of VHF/DF facilities will be found in the appropriate centre listings in Part 2 of this publication. The intent of this service is not to provide a navigation service. Positions must be regarded as estimates only. Mariners are cautioned that any information provided shall be used at their own discretion.

4.3.5.1 Direction Finding Bearings

Any MCTS Centre will, on request, transmit signals that will enable a ship to take a radio bearing with its own direction finder. It is pointed out to masters of ships fitted with direction finding equipment employing DF loops that serious error may result in bearings taken if metallic material or equipment (poles, wires, winches, etc.) are erected in proximity to the DF antenna equipment after calibration.

Masters of ships are urged to exercise caution in the use of commercial radio broadcasting stations as radio beacons. Bearings taken on such stations may be very inaccurate owing to errors caused by coastal refraction and the calibration of the Direction Finder employed may vary considerably due to the wide difference in frequencies used, (i.e. the standard broadcast band spreads over approximately 1060 kHz). In addition, it is advisable to make certain that the position of the broadcast transmitter (not the studio) is accurately known before using it as a navigation aid.

4.3.6 Sail Plan Service

All small craft operators, including those making day trips, are encouraged to file a Sail Plan with a responsible person. This person should be instructed to call the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) or Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) if the vessel becomes overdue. The telephone number can be found at the front of most telephone books and should be included with the Sail Plan. In circumstances where it is not possible to file a Sail Plan with a responsible person, a Sail Plan may be filed by telephone, radio or in person, with any Coast Guard MCTS Centre. While at sea, masters/operators who have filed a sail plan with a MCTS Centre are encouraged to file a daily position report during long trips. Upon your return, be sure to close (or deactivate) the sail plan you filed earlier. Forgetting to do so can result in an unwarranted search for you.

The information to be provided should be in accordance with the listing below.

  1. vessel identification (boat's name and licence number);
  2. sail or power;
  3. vessel size and type;
  4. colour of hull, deck, and cabin;
  5. type of engines;
  6. other distinguishing features;
  7. radios and channels monitored (MF / HF / VHF);
  8. Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI);
  9. satellite and/or cellular telephone number;
  10. description of life rafts or small boats available;
  11. number and type of flares;
  12. number of lifejackets PFDs and/or survival suits;
  13. other safety equipment;
  14. name, address, and telephone number of vessel owner;
  15. other information;
  16. date and time of departure;
  17. number of people on board;
  18. departure point;
  19. route and stop-over points;
  20. destination;
  21. estimated date and time of arrival at destination; and,
  22. telephone number of an emergency contact person.

4.3.7 Search and Rescue in Canadian Areas of Responsibility

The Canadian Forces (CF) in co-operation with the Canadian Coast Guard has overall responsibility for coordination of federal aeronautical and maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) activities in Canada, including Canadian waters and the high seas off the coasts of Canada. The CF provides dedicated SAR aircraft in support to marine SAR incidents. The Canadian Coast Guard coordinates maritime SAR activities within this area and provides dedicated maritime SAR vessels in strategic locations. Joint Rescue Coordination Centres (JRCC) are maintained at Victoria, B.C., Trenton, Ont. and Halifax, N.S. These centres are staffed 24 hours a day by Canadian Forces and Canadian Coast Guard personnel. Each JRCC is responsible for an internationally agreed upon designated area known as a Search and Rescue Region (SRR). In addition, a Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC), staffed by Canadian Coast Guard personnel is maintained at Québec, QC to coordinate local marine SAR operations.

Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) / Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC)

JRCC Halifax, NS

Telephone:
1-800-565-1582 Maritimes Region
1-800-563-2444 Newfoundland & Labrador Region
902-427-8200 Satellite, Local or out of area

Facsimile: 902-427-2114

Email: jrcchalifax@sarnet.dnd.ca

MRSC Québec, QC

Telephone:
1-800-463-4393 Québec Region
418-648-3599 Satellite, Local or out of area

Facsimile: 418-648-3614

Email: mrscqbc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

JRCC Trenton, ON

Telephone:
1-800-267-7270 In Canada
613-965-3870 Satellite, Local or out of area

Facsimile: 613-965-7279

Email: jrcctrenton@sarnet.dnd.ca

4.3.7.1 Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA) is an association of approximately 4500 dedicated volunteers operating close to 1300 vessels to support the Canadian Coast Guard in Marine Search and Rescue.

For more information on maritime SAR services in Canada, refer to Section 28 of the Annual Edition of Notices to Mariners, published by the Canadian Coast Guard, Marine Navigation Services.

4.3.8 Marine Communications and Traffic Services Message Service

4.3.8.1 Messages No Longer Accepted

  1. ships' business messages;
  2. private messages.

4.3.8.2 Messages Handled Without Charge by MCTS Centres

  1. messages pertaining to weather or ice information and ice routing;
  2. messages concerning aids to navigation;
  3. AMVER Messages, addressed AMVER HALIFAX;
  4. radiomedical messages;
  5. messages reporting pollution;
  6. messages addressed to a port or a member of the Canadian Coast Guard that involve a report of a ship movement, position or condition;
  7. messages addressed to a Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) or Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC);
  8. pilotage messages;
  9. official Naval messages;
  10. quarantine messages addressed to "Quarantine"; and
  11. messages requesting a doctor to meet a ship on arrival.

4.3.8.3 Weather Messages

Weather reports in the international meteorological code, made at the standard synoptic hours of 00:00, 06:00, 12:00 and 18:00 UTC, are solicited from ships of all nationalities which have been recruited by their own national weather service, or other weather services, to make weather reports on a regular basis. These reports should be made and transmitted to the nearest MCTS Centre, irrespective of the ship's position. In fact, reports made close to, or even within sight of land, are equally important to reports made offshore, due to the greater variability of weather conditions in proximity to a coastline.

4.3.8.4 Pollution Messages

All vessels plying Canadian and adjacent waters are requested to report oil slicks or pollution of any type to the nearest MCTS Centre.

4.3.8.5 Medical Advice Messages

Masters of ships may obtain medical advice by addressing a radiotelegram to "Radiomedical" and routing it via the nearest MCTS Centre which will refer the message to the nearest medical authority and transmit the reply to the ship.

4.3.8.6 Quarantine Messages

  1. In the following circumstances only, the person in charge of a vessel shall, by radio, at least 24 hours prior to the vessel's estimated time of arrival at its port of destination, notify or cause the notification of a quarantine officer at the quarantine station designated in paragraph (3) for that port of the occurrence:

    Where, in the course of a voyage of a vessel,

    1. a member of the crew or a passenger on board the vessel exhibits one or more of these signs or symptoms:
      1. appears obviously unwell;
      2. cough with blood;
      3. fever or chills (profuse sweating, unusually flushed or pale skin, shivering);
      4. shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
      5. repeated coughing;
      6. diarrhea;
      7. headache;
      8. recent confusion;
      9. skin rash;
      10. bruising or bleeding without injury; and
      11. death.

      That person(s) should be isolated in order to minimize the exposure of crew and passengers.

    2. the person in charge of the vessel is, during the period:
      1. of four weeks preceding the estimated time of arrival of the vessel; or
      2. since he last submitted a declaration of health as required by section 16, whichever is the lesser, aware of any instance of illness among the crew or passengers that he suspects is of a communicable nature and may lead to the spread of disease.
    3. a certificate establishing that the vessel has been de-ratted or exempted from de-ratting procedures has expired or is about to expire.
  2. At the same time, the person in charge of a vessel shall, by radio, provide the quarantine officer with the following information:

    1. the name and nationality of the vessel;
    2. the ports called at during the voyage of the vessel;
    3. the nature of the cargo on board the vessel;
    4. the number of persons comprising the crew of the vessel;
    5. the number of passengers on board the vessel;
    6. the port of destination of the vessel and the name of the vessel's owner or, if the owner is not in Canada, the name of the vessel's agent in Canada;
    7. the condition of all persons on board the vessel and details of any death or illness occurring during the voyage;
    8. whether the body of any person is being carried on the vessel;
    9. the estimated time of arrival of the vessel at the port of destination; and
    10. the date and place of issuance of any de-ratting certificate or de-ratting exemption certificate applicable to the vessel.
  3. For the purposes of paragraph (1), the quarantine station for vessels bound for

    1. a port in the Province of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland is the Halifax Nova Scotia Quarantine Station at 902-873-7659 (24 hour phone line) or by email at quarantineeast@phac-aspc.gc.ca if notification is 48 hours or greater prior to arrival;
    2. a port in the Province of Québec or any Canadian port via the St. Lawrence River, is the Montréal Québec Quarantine Station at 514-229-2561 (24 hour phone line) or by email at quarantineeast@phac-aspc.gc.ca if notification is 48 hours or greater prior to arrival;
    3. a port on Hudson Bay is the Calgary Alberta Quarantine Station at 403-221-3067 (24 hour phone line) or by email at quarantinewest@phac-aspc.gc.ca if notification is 48 hours or greater prior to arrival.

    When circumstances outlined in paragraph (1) require vessels bound for any St. Lawrence River or Great Lakes port to notify the quarantine officer, this should be done preferably 48 hours prior to arrival at Québec City or, if not preceding past Québec City, 48 hours prior to arrival at destination. To ensure prompt and efficient service, messages should be sent through an east coast MCTS Centre.

  4. The person in charge of a vessel who wishes to change his port of destination after receiving instructions from the quarantine officer shall notify him of such change and request new instructions.

4.3.8.7 Pilotage Messages

For detailed information on Notices to Obtain Pilot, Notices of Departure, Notices of Movage, Optional Notices and Required Information, please refer to Section 23 of the latest Annual Edition of Notices to Mariners, published by the Canadian Coast Guard, Marine Navigation Services.

4.3.8.8 Official Naval Messages

For detailed information on Naval Messages to Canadian and Commonwealth ships in Canadian areas, please refer to Section 39 of the latest Annual Edition of Notices to Mariners, published by the Canadian Coast Guard, Marine Navigation Services.

4.3.9 Icebreaking and Ice Routing Services

4.3.9.1 Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters

The nautical publication "Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters" is published by the Canadian Coast Guard in collaboration with Transport Canada, Canadian Ice Service, and the Canadian Hydrographic Service. The Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations require this publication to be carried on board if the vessel is making a voyage during which ice may be encountered. The publication is available to download: Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters.

There are a variety of icebreaking and support services available to ships transiting Canadian ice-covered waters. Ice Operations Centres are in operation seasonally as ice conditions dictate. These centres work in conjunction with Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres to provide up-to-date ice information, to suggest routes for ships to follow through or around ice, and to co-ordinate icebreaker assistance to shipping.

Ice Operations Centres are in contact with icebreakers at all times and monitor progress of shipping within their area of responsibility. In addition, Environment Canada's Canadian Ice Service (CIS) has fully qualified Ice Service Specialists and ice reconnaissance aircraft who are involved with Ice Operations Centres on a full-time basis throughout the ice navigation season. The Coast Guard Icebreaking Superintendents have a complete and current picture of the prevailing ice conditions in their area and the anticipated trend of conditions and are therefore well equipped to provide reasoned advice on the best routes to pursue.

To obtain the maximum benefit from the service, it is essential that Masters report to the Canadian Coast Guard before their ships enter waters where ice may be encountered. These initial reports and subsequent position reports from ships will ensure a continuing watch on the ship's progress by the Canadian Coast Guard Ice Operations Centres and, in the event icebreaker support becomes necessary, this can be provided with a minimum of delay. There are a limited number of icebreakers available to support shipping. Masters are encouraged to follow the recommended route with which they are provided. They may also assist and support this service by providing reports on the ice they encounter.

4.3.9.2 Joint Industry-Government Guidelines

Recognizing that special risks of ice damage may exist in certain waters off the East Coast of Canada during winter and spring months and that these may affect safety and contribute to marine pollution, the Joint Industry-Government Guidelines for the Control of Oil Tankers and Bulk Chemical Carriers in Ice Control Zones of Eastern Canada (JIG) – TP15163 were developed and have been in effect since November 1979.

These Guidelines apply to all laden oil tankers and to tankers carrying liquid chemicals in bulk when proceeding through an active Ice Control Zone in Eastern Canadian waters and fishing zones south of 60° North. The Canadian Coast Guard may declare any ice control zone to be an active Ice Control Zone and promulgate this information via Notice to Shipping and Notices to Mariners. When proceeding through an active Ice Control Zone, all ships to which the Guidelines apply should have on board a copy of the guidelines and at least one "Ice Advisor", who meets the requirements as prescribed in JIGs.

The following may be contacted for information on ice control zones:

Ice Atlantic

Canadian Coast Guard Ice Operations Centre
P.O. Box 5667
St. John’s NL  A1C 5X1
Telephone: 709-772-2078 / 1-800-565-1633
Iceatl@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

For ice routing contact ECAREG at:
Telephone: 902-426-4956
hlxecareg1@innav.gc.ca

Ice Montreal

Canadian Coast Guard Ice Operations Centre
Telephone: 1-855-201-0086 / US-Canada line: 1-844-672-8037
Facsimile: 514-283-1752
Ice-Montreal.XLAU@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

MARINFO Website
Icebreaking Website
General Information Email: ice-glace@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

The complete version of JIG TP 15163 B (2011) is available at the Transport Canada Marine Safety website

4.3.10 Canadian Hydrographic Service

4.3.10.1 Conversion of Charts to North American Datum 1983 (NAD 83)

The Canadian Hydrographic Service is converting navigational charts to the North American Datum 1983 (NAD 83).

NAD 83 is considered equivalent to the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS 84) recently adopted as the horizontal datum for world-wide use. The advantage of the new datum is its compatibility with the NAVSTAR (GPS) satellite positioning system.

The difference in the position of the same point when quoted on the former NAD 27 and the new NAD 83 is up to 60 metres on the Atlantic coast, about 110 metres on the Pacific coast and almost zero near Chicago although there can be local discrepancies from these approximations.

Horizontal positions obtained from satellite receivers are based on NAD 83 (WGS 84) and must be converted to the horizontal chart datum (if not NAD 83) before being used.

A note has been added to nearly all existing charts indicating the datum on which the chart is based, and providing the increase or decrease required to convert the latitude and longitude from NAD 83 to the chart datum.

New Charts and New Editions being produced are now almost always based on NAD 83.

Note

Latitude and longitude positions given in this publication are in NAD 83 unless otherwise indicated.

4.3.11 Inspection of Radio Apparatus

The Canadian Coast Guard, on behalf of Transport Canada, is responsible for the conduct of ship radio inspections pursuant to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. Queries concerning the standards governing inspections of radio apparatus fitted in ships for safety purposes may be sent to:

Program Manager, Ship Radio Inspection
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
200 Kent Street, 7th Floor, Station 7S001
Ottawa, ON K1A 0E6
Inquiries: InfoPol@DFO-MPO.GC.CA

Owners and masters of Canadian ships, that are required to be fitted with a radio installation under the provisions of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 are reminded that:

The master of a ship, other than a Safety Convention ship, shall ensure that the ship station is inspected by a radio inspector

  1. within the 30 days before the ship puts to sea for the first time, if the ship is:
    1. 20 m or more in length,
    2. a tow-boat, or
    3. carrying more than 12 passengers on a voyage any part of which is in a VHF coverage area or more than five miles from shore;
  2. at least once every 48 months, in the case of a ship referred to in paragraph (a) that is certified for home-trade voyages, Class IV, or minor waters voyages, Class II; and
  3. at least once every 12 months, in the case of a ship referred to in paragraph (a) that is certified for voyages other than a home-trade voyage, Class IV, or a minor waters voyage, Class II.

The master of a ship that is required to be inspected under the Agreement between Canada and the United States of America for Promotion of Safety on the Great Lakes by Means of Radio, 1973 need not comply with paragraphs (1)(b) or (c), but shall ensure that the ship station is inspected by a radio inspector before the ship enters the Great Lakes Basin for the first time and at least once every 13 months thereafter while continuing to navigate in the Great Lakes Basin.

A non-Canadian ship which does not have a valid Radio Safety Certificate on board may be detained by a port Customs Officer until a valid certificate has been obtained.

A fee for the conduct of ship radio inspections is levied in accordance with the Ship Radio Inspection Fees Regulations. The fee is payable upon completion of the inspection.

Applications for radio inspections of Canadian ships should be filed with the Canadian Coast Guard. The form entitled: Application for Radio Inspection, Compulsory Fitted Ships (82-0643) should be used for this purpose. Such request by owners, agents or masters should be received by the Canadian Coast Guard at least three working days in advance of the date requested for inspection.

The owners, agents or masters of Canadian ships requiring radio inspection while outside of Canada should make application by fax or letter to:

Transport Canada
Director General
Marine Safety Directorate
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N8
Telephone: 613-998-0610
Facsimile: 613-954-1032

Non-Canadian ships (except Liberian ships) may obtain a cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate (GMDSS) in Canada. Applications should originate with the owners, ship agents or masters of the ships concerned and be supported by confirmation from the Consul or other official representative of the country in which the ship is registered. Confirmation shall be in writing. It is the responsibility of the owner, agent or master to contact the Consul or official representative and arrange to submit the necessary confirmation to the local Canadian Coast Guard inspection office. Where time is limited, a verbal request for an inspection may be accepted from the Consul or official representative (a person who has a document from an Administration giving him the official power to act on their behalf), provided that the confirmation is submitted later.

Applications for radio inspections of Canadian ships wintering in US Great Lakes ports should be made by the owners, agents or masters on FCC form 809 and filed directly with the FCC Field Engineering office nearest to the port of which the inspections are desired. Copies of form 809 are available from any of the FCC offices serving the Great Lakes.

4.3.10.1 Ship Radio Inspection Contacts

CCG Newfoundland and Labrador

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Telephone & Fax: 1-888-454-3177
Outside Canada Telephone Facsimile: 709-772-3467
Email: xnfltsc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, C1A 7M8

Senior Technologist
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
P.O. Box 1236

Telephone: 902-407-7521
Facsimile: 902-407-7435
Email: xmartsc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Saint John, New Brunswick, E2L 4B3

Senior Technologist
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
P.O. Box 700, Water Street

Telephone: 506-636-4743
Facsimile: 506-636-5000

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B2Y 4A2

Senior Technologist
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
P.O. Box 1006

Telephone: 902-407-7521
Facsimile: 902-407-7435
Email: xmartsc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Sydney, Nova Scotia, B1R 2J6

Senior Technologist
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard Ships
1190 Westmount Road

Telephone: 902-407-7521
Facsimile: 902-407-7435
Email: xmartsc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, B5A 4B1

Senior Technologist
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
P.O. Box 37

Telephone: 902-407-7521
Facsimile: 902-407-7435
Email: xmartsc@dfop-mpo.gc.ca

CCG Québec

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Telephone: 514-283-5684
Facsimile: 514-283-2129

Prescott, Ontario, K0E 1T0

Supervisor of Technical Maintenance
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard Ships Electronic Workshop
401 King Street West, P.O. Box 1000

Telephone: 613-925-2865 ext. 246
Facsimile: 613-925-5540

Sarnia, Ontario, N7T 7W1

Supervisor of Technical Maintenance
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard Ships Electronic Workshop
105 Christina Street South
P.O. Box 2839

Telephone: 519-464-5106
Facsimile: 519-464-5108

Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7B 6R9

Supervisor of Technical Maintenance
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard Ships Electronics Workshop
100 Main Street, Suite 400

Telephone: 807-345-8084
Facsimile: 807-344-5893

Hay River, Northwest Territories, X0E 0R9

Supervisor of Technical Maintenance
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard Ships Electronics Workshop
42037 MacKenzie Highway

Telephone: 867-874-5530
Facsimile: 867-874-5532

4.3.12 Radio Station Licensing and MMSI Numbers

To obtain further information on radio station licensing and Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) numbers contact Industry Canada or locate the nearest Industry Canada office through the local telephone directory.

4.3.13 Application for a  Radio Inspection of a Compulsorily Fitted Vessel

APPLICATION FOR A RADIO INSPECTION OF A COMPULSORILY FITTED VESSEL

Text description of image 4.3.13 Application for radio inspection of a compulsorily fitted vessel

4.3.14 Marine Telephone Service

4.3.14.1 General

This service enables a person aboard a ship to speak directly to any person ashore, or vice versa. The service is an extension of the public telephone system to ships at sea through MCTS Centres. Long distance ship-to-shore calls may only be made as collect calls or charged to a telephone company calling card/pre-paid card. Refer to Part 2 to find MCTS Centres that provide the marine telephone call service.

4.3.14.2 Placing a Marine Telephone Call

Ship to Shore
  1. Listen to make sure that the MCTS Centre is not busy with another ship.
  2. Call the MCTS Centre and when communication has been established give the following:
    1. name of the city being called;
    2. name and/or telephone number of the person being called;
    3. name of the caller or the number of the caller's telephone company credit calling card (if applicable).
  3. When the call is completed, sign off, using the name and call sign of the ship.
Shore to Ship
  1. Dial the appropriate MCTS Centre.
  2. Give the MCTS Officer the name of the person and ship being called.
Receiving a Marine Telephone Call
  1. When you hear your ship being called, reply, giving your ship's name and call sign.
  2. At the end of the conversation, sign off by announcing the name and call sign of your vessel.

4.3.14.3 Radiomedical Calls

Mariners may obtain medical advice by calling a MCTS Centre and requesting to be connected to a medical professional. The Canadian Coast Guard will connect the vessel to an appropriate medical professional via the Marine Telephone System.

For mariners who wish to make their own arrangements for medical advice, radiomedical services are available in numerous languages to vessels flying any flag at any location through the International Radio-medical Centre (CIRM) in Rome, Italy. This centre is staffed 24/7/365 by specially trained physicians and radio operators who also have access to specialists in all medical branches. The CIRM can be contacted via the following means:

Telephone: 39 6 54223045
Mobile: GSM 39 348 3984229
Facsimile: 39 6 5923333
Telex: 043 612068 CIRM I
Email: telesoccorso@cirm.it
Web: International Radio-medical Centre CIRM