Waterways Management program

We help contribute to the safe, economical, and efficient movement of ships in Canadian waterways. The program:

  • reduces marine navigation risks
  • strengthens environmental protection
  • conducts channel maintenance and monitoring

We support clients who include and represent:

  • ports
  • pilots
  • fishers
  • mariners
  • ferry operators
  • the shipping industry
  • channel owners and operators

We engage with clients to identify and address their needs as best we can while explaining our capabilities and levels of service. Clients also have the opportunity to consult our Waterways Management online resources, such as MarInfo and Avadepth. Here they can contact us and learn more about water level forecasts and channel bottom conditions.

Forecasting and safety information

We work with other government departments, such as the Canadian Hydrographic Service and Public Service and Procurement Canada. This lets us provide users with marine safety information and perform bottom surveys of shipping channels to identify:

  • changes from previous surveys
  • current channel bottom conditions
  • restrictions or potential hazards to safe navigation

This information is shared with clients and mariners to aid in safe navigation. The Coast Guard develops water-depth forecasts in the St. Lawrence, Mackenzie and Fraser rivers, and posts them for the public through MarInfo and Avadepth.


Our program supports the Canadian Coast Guard’s efforts for channel maintenance, as stated in the Oceans Act, by:

  • managing channel bottom surveys
  • dredging the St. Lawrence River Shipping Channel
  • managing structures that prevent the formation of ice jams
  • dredging Canadian portions of the Great Lakes connecting channels


Our program provides guidelines for channel design and use based on international standards from the Permanent International Association of Navigation Congresses. We’re also a member of the Operations Advisory Group that contributes to the international control of water levels in the St. Lawrence River.

Our operations are working towards addressing industry ambitions to use larger vessels and supporting Canadian industry to remain competitive with global markets.

  • A boulder being removed from the water by crane.
  • The Profiler II survey craft surveying waters in the Pacific region.
  • The Profiler II survey craft surveying local harbour waters.
Date modified: