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Canadian Coast Guard Order 103 - Vessel naming policy
Annex I: Definition of vessel classes and naming criteria


Class Abbreviation
(French)
Definition Naming criteria
polar icebreaker Polar
(polaire)

A very large multitasked icebreaker (approx. 140 metres in length), capable of sustained operations in the Arctic archipelago over 3 seasons per year.

Has the capacity to overwinter in the Arctic.

Has the capacity to deliver a large suite of Government of Canada programs.

Names are based upon selection through the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and will be names of geographical significance for the Arctic.
program icebreaker PIB
(BGP)

A very large multitasked icebreaker (approx. 130 metres in length), capable of sustained operations in the Arctic archipelago over 2 seasons per year and escort operations in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and East Coast of Newfoundland.

Has capability to deliver a variety of Government of Canada programs including many CCG programs and scientific missions.

Former senior Canadian leaders who made significant contributions to Canada through their work in politics, the marine environment, charitable efforts, business ventures, or public service (for example, Former Prime Minister or Governor General).
multipurpose vessel MPV
(NMF)

A large (approx. 80 metres in length), multitasked vessel with the capacity to operate off of Canada's coasts and within major waterways.

Multitasking, including icebreaking and heavy lift capabilities, with innovative mission modular design concepts permitting them to adjust to evolving demands.

The Multipurpose Vessel class consolidates 3  former classes of vessels: the High Endurance Multi-Tasked Vessel, the Medium Endurance Multi-Tasked Vessel, and the Offshore Patrol Vessel.

Prominent geographical features/landmarks within Canada (for example, glaciers, mountains, navigable rivers, plains, national parks, etc.).
arctic and offshore patrol ship AOPS
(NPEA)

A large (approx. 80 metres in length), multitasked vessel with the capacity to operate off of Canada's coasts and within major waterways.

Multitasking, including icebreaking and heavy lift capabilities, with innovative mission modular design concepts permitting them to adjust to evolving demands.

Prominent geographical features/landmarks within Canada (for example, glaciers, mountains, navigable rivers, plains, national parks, etc.).
offshore oceanographic science vessel OOSV
(NHSO)

A large (approx. 90 metres in length), multitasked offshore vessel, capable of extended missions of 4 to 6 weeks with a 10,000 nautical mile (NM) range; can deliver programs in ice-infested waters.

Equipped with wet labs and has bottom and water-column sampling capability.

Primarily used for ecosystem and fishery science, oceanographic missions, geological and hydrographic surveys.

Former Canadian scientists or explorers of Canada. (Preference will be given to those involved in ocean science).
offshore fisheries science vessel OFSV
(NHSH)

A large (approx. 55 to 65 metres in length), multitasked offshore vessel capable of extended missions of 4 to 6 weeks with an 8,500 NM range and can deliver programs in ice-infested waters.

Equipped with wet labs and capable of completing trawl surveys and water column sampling.

Primarily used for ecosystem and fishery science research.

Former Canadian scientists or explorers of Canada
mid-shore multi mission vessel MSMM
(NMSH)

A large (approx. 40 to 50 meters in length), multitasked vessel with the capacity to operate off of Canada's coasts and within major waterways.

Multitasking, light icebreaking and heavy lift capabilities, with innovative mission modular design concepts permitting them to adjust to evolving demands.

Indigenous words for geographical features in the marine environment.

special navaids vessel SNV
(NBS)

A shallow draught, flat-bottom vessel (approx. 50 metres in length); self-supporting for up to 28 days and able to sustain repeated groundings due to shifting river channels.

Primarily used for navigational aids on the Mackenzie River.

Indigenous words relating to the marine environment
mid-shore patrol vessel MPSV
(PSH)

A medium-sized vessel (approx. 40 metres in length) that can operate up to 120 NM offshore and remain at sea up to 14 days.

Designed to support law enforcement; primarily used for maritime security and fisheries enforcement.

Former recipients of the Victoria Cross, Star of Military Valour, Medal of Military Valour, Meritorious Service Medal, Cross of Valour, Star of Courage, Medal of Bravery, Order of Merit of the Police Forces, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Honour Roll or Fisheries and Oceans Canada or Coast Guard members who perished in the line of duty.
mid-shore science vessel MSSV
(NSHRS)

Medium-sized vessel (approx. 40 metres in length) capable of sustained operations away from port for up to 14 days with endurance for 21 days.

Primarily used for ecosystem fishery science, oceanographic missions, and geological and hydrographic surveys.

Former dominion hydrographers of Canada or former explorers of Canada.
specialty vessel SV
(NS)

Small (under 150 GRT), shallow draught vessel of various designs.

Used for marine and fishery research, conservation and protection patrols, science, and aids to navigation.

There are 3 sub-categories of vessel within this vessel type: Aids to Navigation Class, Conservation and Protection Class and Marine Fishery Research Class.

Former Canadians who made a contribution to:

  • Marine and fishery research
  • Fisheries management
  • Maritime safety or security
  • Marine transportation
channel survey and sounding vessel CSSV
(NLSC)

Small vessel (approx. 10 to 20 metres in length).

Primarily used to conduct depth survey operations.

Former dominion hydrographers of Canada or former explorers of Canada
near-shore fishery research vessel NSFRV
(NSHRH)

Small (approx. 20 metres to 25 metres in length) fishery research vessel with minimal ice capability to transit light ice-infested waters.

Has some lab capacity and is primarily used to conduct trawl surveys.

Former Canadians who made a contribution to:
  • Marine and fishery research
  • Fisheries management
special shallow draft buoy tender SSDBT
(NBSFTE)

A shallow draft vessel (approx. 18 to 25 meters) supporting the maintenance of floating aids to navigation in shallow waters.

Indigenous words referencing islands in the Great Lakes and surrounding waterways.

air cushion vehicle ACV
(VCA)

A medium-sized, fast (up to 45 knots), multi-tasked vessel, which rides on a cushion of air (hovercraft), capable of working in very shallow areas and littoral zones.

Primarily used for search and rescue, aids to navigation, environmental response, and icebreaking.

Indigenous words relating to the marine environment.
SAR lifeboat L/B
(B/S)

Small (approx.13 to 20 metres in length) shore-based self-righting lifeboat. Capable of search and rescue operations up to 100 NM from shore.

There are 3 sub-categories of vessel within this vessel class: Cape, Bay and Sound

There are 3 sub-categories of vessel within this vessel class: Cape, Bay and Sound. Geographical features - uniform by sub-category:

  • Canadian capes for high-speed lifeboats
  • Canadian bays for high-endurance lifeboats
  • Canadian sounds for response boats – medium
small craft SC
(PE)
Any vessel less than 15 GRT – approx. 12 metres in length or less. Not typically named; sequentially numbered with CG or GC prefix.
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