The Aids to Navigation Program provides devices or systems, external to a vessel, to help mariners determine position and course, to warn of dangers or obstructions, or to mark the location of preferred routes. Collectively known as aids to navigation, they include visual aids (lights, beacons and buoys), aural aids (whistles, horns and bells), radar aids (reflectors and racons) as well as the Differential Global Positioning System.
The program's services ensure access to a reliable navigation system and support a safe, accessible, and efficient environment for the commercial marine transportation sector, fishers and pleasure craft operators. As such, it is the cornerstone of Canada's navigation system and provides essential support to many government priorities.
The program helps mariners navigate safely and efficiently by:
The Aids to Navigation program's main clients are the shipping industry, recreational boaters, commercial fishers, and pilots, as well as the various associations and committees that represent them. The program generally engages its clients to ensure they understand the program's levels of service, to identify gaps in service delivery, and to foster meaningful exchanges to address user needs while ensuring that expectations are realistic. Client engagement is accomplished through existing media, such as the Canadian Coast Guard website, printed media, and various meetings and sessions with regional representatives. The program also engages its clients via various fora, such as meetings of the National and Regional Canadian Marine Advisory Councils, the the regional Marine Advisory Boards, the Local Marine Advisory Councils and the Regional Recreational Boating Advisory Councils.