Levels of Service

About Canadian Coast Guard Services

Aids to navigation

Description:

  • The Aids to Navigation program involves the provision of short-range marine aids numbering 17,000-plus, including visual aids (fixed aids, lighthouses and buoys), aural aids (fog horns), as well as radar aids (reflectors and beacons) and long-range marine aids including electronic aids such as the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS)
  • The benefit to mariners is safe, accessible and effective vessel transit in Canadian waters

Objective:

  • To facilitate safe and expeditious movement of maritime traffic

Services:

  • Provision of visual and aural aids to navigation such as fixed aids, lighthouses, buoys and fog horns
  • Provision of electronic positioning systems such as the Differential Global Positioning System
  • Provision of navigation safety information

Waterways management

Description:

  • The Waterways Management program provides channel management to ensure accessibility of waterways and to contribute to their safe use
  • Through this program, CCG provides guidelines for the safe design and usage of channels, manages channel maintenance and dredging of the Great Lakes connecting channels and the St. Lawrence River (on a cost recovery basis), monitors channel bathymetry, and participates in the control of water level fluctuations in the St. Lawrence River
  • The program also enables CCG to provide marine safety information to users, including information on channel bottom condition and water depth forecasts
  • Waterways Management sustains navigable channels, reduces marine navigation risks and supports environmental protection

Objectives:

  • To ensure accessibility of main commercial shipping channels and to contribute to their safe use
  • To meet the requirements of commercial navigation in international hydraulically regulated channels of the St. Lawrence River

Services:

  • Maintenance and management of main commercial shipping channels
  • Provision of water level forecasts

Environmental response

Description:

  • CCG is the lead federal agency for ship source oil spill response that mitigates marine pollution and oil spills in Canadian waters, and other countries under international agreement
  • Following the notification of a spill, CCG will monitor the effectiveness of the private sector response, assume control of the incident if necessary, or directly utilize CCG resources such as vessels and other specialized pollution countermeasures equipment that are held in reserve to either assist or respond to those spills when the polluter is unknown, unwilling or unable to respond
  • Environmental Response Services, through preparedness and response, contribute to decreased environmental, economic and public safety impacts of marine spills, increase awareness, and demonstrate due diligence by the Canadian and global marine community to mitigate the impact of pollution

Objectives:

  • To minimize the environmental, economic and public safety impacts of marine pollution incidents

Services:

  • Provision of environmental response personnel and capacities
  • Monitoring, assessment, and response to reported cases of marine pollution

Icebreaking

Description:

  • The Icebreaking program of CCG provides icebreaking and related services to facilitate the informed, safe and timely movement of maritime traffic through and around ice-covered Canadian waters for the benefit of industry and communities.
  • This program activity includes escorting ships through ice-covered waters, freeing beset vessels in ice, conducting harbour breakouts, providing advice and ice information and reducing the risk of flooding on the St. Lawrence River through monitoring, prevention and breaking up of ice jams.
  • The Icebreaking program contributes to arctic sovereignty through the re-supply of Northern communities, providing support to other government agencies and organizations in ice infested waters, and a visible federal government marine presence in the Canadian North.

Objectives:

  • To facilitate the safe and timely movement of maritime traffic through and around ice-covered waters
  • To minimize the effect of flooding caused by ice jams
  • To assist in the re-supply of northern communities for which there is no commercial services

Services:

  • Provision of information and advice to the marine community
  • Provision of icebreaking services

Marine communications and traffic services

Description:

  • The Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) program provides marine distress and safety communications, conducts vessel screenings, regulates vessel traffic movement and provides information systems and public correspondence on a 24/7 basis.
  • Through the MCTS program, search and rescue responders have increased knowledge of persons or vessels in distress, mariners at risk have greater opportunity to be detected and CCG has enhanced information on vessel transit for maritime security domain awareness.
  • MCTS improves the safety of life at sea, the efficient movement of shipping in waterways and the provision of essential information to mariners.

Objectives:

  • To contribute to safety of life at sea
  • To contribute to safety and efficiency of navigation
  • To contribute to the protection of marine environment
  • To support maritime domain awareness

Services:

  • Provision of distress and safety communications
  • Regulation of vessel traffic in selected Canadian waters
  • Screening of vessels entering Canadian waters
  • Provision of marine information in support of activities
  • Provision of public correspondence

Search and rescue

Description:

  • The federal Search and Rescue (SAR) Program, led by the Minister of National Defence, is a co-operative effort by federal, provincial, and municipal governments.
  • The Coast Guard's Search and Rescue program leads, delivers, and maintains preparedness for the 5.3 million square kilometre maritime component of the federal SAR system, in conjunction with its partner the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.
  • Through distress monitoring, communication, and search and rescue activities, the Coast Guard SAR program increases the chances of rescue for people caught in dangerous on-water situations.

Objectives:

  • To support the search for, and the provision of aid to, persons, ships or other craft which are, or are feared to be, in distress or in imminent distress

Service:

  • Provision of search and rescue services to mariners and to others in need of humanitarian aids