Equipment of the Canadian Coast Guard

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CCGS Tracy
A CCG Cutter exercising with a Canadian Forces CH-149 Cormorant.
CCGS Cape Sutil at CCG Station Port Hardy.
RCMP Simmonds with CCG Cape Hurd in Toronto

The Canadian Coast Guard maintains a fleet of sea and lake going vessels, hovercraft, and aircraft.


The Fleet Directorate is responsible for all ships and their manning requirements. It manages and operates a fleet of 118[1] vessels in support of: CCG aids to navigation; icebreaking; environmental response; and search and rescue. The CCG fleet also supports DFO’s Fisheries Conservation and Protection and Marine Science programs.

The ships, ranging from search and rescue lifeboats to icebreakers, are tasked to various programs, often concurrently, and are crewed by 2400 skilled seagoing personnel. Most vessels have between 5-30+ crewmembers.

All CCG vessels are painted uniformly regardless of their use. They are characterized by a red hull and white superstructure, designed to look like a "floating Canadian flag". Their hulls bear a (primarily) white stripe raked forward at a 60 degree angle on each side forward. Larger vessels display a red maple leaf on the funnel. Ship nameplates are typically affixed to the superstructure, and vessels are typically named for persons or places of historic or geographic significance.

Throughout the 1960s–1990s, CCG painted primary SAR vessels in a different colour scheme: bright mustard yellow superstructure and maple leaf red hull, meant to distinguish them from navaid tenders and icebreakers, and also to improve their visibility on the open ocean in breaking waves. Today the only distinguishing markings for primary SAR vessels is the large RESCUE-SAUVETAGE lettering on the superstructure. Vessels carry the "Canada" 'federal wordmark', which incorporates the duotone version of the national flag. The words Coast Guard Garde Cotière appear side by side on the hull.

The prefix "Canadian Coast Guard Ship", abbreviated CCGS, is affixed to all vessels. Minor vessels such as patrol boats and life boats carried the prefix "Canadian Coast Guard Cutter", abbreviated CCGC in the past, however, this is no longer the case.

The list of various classes of CCG vessels includes:

Polar icebreakers
Heavy Arctic icebreakers
Large powerful icebreaker approximately 130 metres long and is capable of sustained operations in the Canadian Arctic with minimal support, for the period of early June to mid-November, and for escort operation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and east coast of Newfoundland in the winter.
Arctic icebreakers
Large icebreaker of approximately 100 metres in length capable of sustained ice breaking and escort operations in the Arctic during the summer, and in the Gulf, St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic coast in winter. It is also capable conducting scientific missions, has a small cargo carrying capacity and can carry a helicopter if needed. All four are T1200 class vessels.
Program vessels
Large multi-taskable vessels approximately 85 metres long, with an icebreaking capability that allows them to work mainly in southern waters and in the western Arctic. The last six vessels are T1100 Class vessels (using the same basic design with some variations in additional equipment).
Offshore fishery and oceanographic research
Large offshore vessels approximately 80 metres long that are multi-taskable to fishery and oceanographic missions, as well as geological and hydrographic surveys. These vessels have no icebreaking capabilities, are equipped with wet labs, trawl capability, bottom sampling capability and water column sampling capability, and can accommodate up to 26 scientists. Some ships are strengthened for navigation in ice to allow them to perform their task year round even when the waterways are not ice free.
Offshore Fishery Science
Large offshore Science vessels that are multi-taskable to acoustic and environmental research. They are able to do trawl surveys and some water column sampling and are equipped with wet labs. Both ships are capable of performing year round, but they are not icebreakers.
Marine service
Multi-taskable, shallow draft vessels that are about 65 metres in length. They have some icebreaking capability (all but Bartlett) and can launch and recover fast response craft. They are primarily used for aids to navigation, icebreaking, science and environmental response. CCGS Tracy is classed as Type 1000 vessel.
Offshore patrol
Patrol vessels of up to 60 metres in length and can operate year-round beyond 120 nautical miles, including outside 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (except the Arctic). They carry 2 rigid-hull inflatable boats, and their main use is fisheries enforcement and search and rescue.[2]
Mid-shore patrol
Medium sized patrol vessels of about 37 – 42 metres which operate up to 120 nautical miles offshore. These vessels carry one or two rigid-hull inflatable boats (depending on the variant design) and have accommodation for two fisheries or police officers. The main use is for maritime security and fisheries enforcement.
Mid-shore science vessels
These vessels are meant to carry out hydrographic survey work primarily for the production of nautical charting products on the East and West Coast, but can also be used for stock assessment using sonar.
Special navigations aid tenders
Shallow draft, flat bottom vessels used for the placement and maintenance of fixed and floating navigational aids on the Mackenzie River. They are very specialized vessels that can sustain repeated groundings while they search for shifts in the channel and are not usually sent into open waters. CCGS Nahidik also performs ocean surveys in conjunction with Canadian universities and Natural Resources Canada in the Beaufort Sea.
Near shore fishery research
Medium-sized vessels that are multi-taskable to fishery and oceanographic missions, as well as geological and hydrographic surveys. These vessels have no icebreaking capabilities, are equipped with wet labs, trawl capability, bottom sampling capability and water column sampling capability.
Channel survey and sounding
Small twin-hull sounding vessels designed to conduct depth survey operations of the main shipping channel in the St. Lawrence River, between Île aux Coudres and Montreal during the period or spring break-up until end of November.
Air cushion vehicles (hovercraft)
Medium sized multi-taskable vehicles, which float on a cushion of air, making them capable of working over water (including very shallow water), land and ice . They are very fast vehicles (up to 60 knots), which makes them ideally suited for search and rescue, and environmental response where response time is critical. They are also used for icebreaking in shallow waters and in the St. Lawrence River for ice management.
Search and rescue motor lifeboats (MLBs)
Small shore-based self-righting lifeboats approximately 15 metres long, capable of search and rescue operations of up to 100 nautical miles with a top speed of approximately 25 knots. They carry a crew of four or five persons.
CCGS Cap Nord
CCGS Cape Tourmente
CCGS Cape Mercy
Specialty Vessels
Training Vessels
Vessels used for training at the Coast Guard College. All three are small patrol boats with a crew of 3.
Utility craft
CCG employs various makes and models of small craft aboard ships and at shore stations for utility and search and rescue tasks. Large vessels carry work boats such as Rotork Marine's Sea Truck design, similar to small landing craft, which are deployed by davits and used for delivering supplies ashore to light stations and remote communities. RHIBs equipped with outboard or inboard engine propulsion systems are deployed aboard CCG ships or at shore stations as tenders and as fast rescue craft (FRC) for utility and search and rescue tasks.
  • Work boats
    • Roseborough Boats RF-246 designs
    • Rotork Marine Sea Truck designs
  • Rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs)
    • Zodiac Hurricane Mark IV, Mark V, Mark VI, 733 and 753 SOLAS designs
    • Roseborough Boats Rough Water 9.11 SOLAS designs

Retired vessels[edit]

The following is a listing of vessels that are no longer part of the Canadian Coast Guard's present fleet.


In addition to various bases located in deep water ports, rescue stations in smaller minor ports, and eighteen ships equipped with aviation facilities like flight decks and/or hangars the CCG operates 22 helicopters. There are also 8 fixed wing aircraft operated on CCG’s behalf by Transport Canada. Rotary wing aircraft are used as ice reconnaissance platforms in the winter (operating from icebreakers and shore bases), while flying maintenance personnel and supplies for servicing aids to navigation year-round. Fixed wing aircraft are flown in support of the Canadian Ice Service and also conduct arctic sovereignty patrols, marine pollution surveillance and fisheries protection patrols as part of the Canadian government's National Aerial Surveillance Program.

Although there are currently 25 helicopters operated by CCG, not all of them are operational. In December 2013, the Minister of National Defence (the Lead Minister for Search and Rescue) released the first "Quadrennial SAR Review" in order to provide a comprehensive perspective of Canada’s National SAR Program (NSP). In the SAR resources section of the review it states "The Canadian Coast Guard has a total of 117 vessels and 22 helicopters stationed across the country that can deliver maritime SAR services, either in a primary or secondary role".

Rotary-Wing Deployment
Atlantic Region
Central/Arctic Region
Western Region
Fixed-Wing Deployment

Most fixed wing aircraft (owned & operated by Transport Canada on behalf of CCG) are based in eastern Canadian airports with the facility at Ottawa International Airport providing the main maintenance base. A single fixed wing aircraft is based in British Columbia. In addition to the federal government aircraft, a private company Provincial Aerospace Ltd., is contracted to operate four specially modified and equipped King Air 200 aircraft in support of the National Aerial Surveillance Program (jointly funded by Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada), from Halifax, NS, St. John's, NL and Comox, BC.


All CCG regions operate helicopters, however ice reconnaissance missions are primarily flown in eastern Canada, given the absence of ice surveillance requirements for the West Coast. Unlike fixed wing aircraft, helicopters can often operate directly out of CCG bases, as is the case in Quebec City and Parry Sound. The majority of CCG aircraft operate from municipal airports located near major CCG bases, as follows:

Fixed and rotary-wing maintenance
Fixed wing operations and maintenance
Rotary-wing operations and maintenance

CCG's fixed wing operations and maintenance bases are co-located with Transport Canada aviation operations facilities. Maintenance for all CCG aircraft is provided by both CCG and Transport Canada personnel.

Air search and rescue

All Canadian Coast Guard aircraft are able assist the Canadian Forces with search and rescue operations, as well as having a secondary air search and rescue role in the CCG.

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In-Service Notes
MBB Bo 105S  Germany rotary wing 13 ship-based and shore-based ice surveillance, navigation aid maintenance; scheduled to be replaced in 2017. 16 delivered with 13 remaining in service as one crashed and was written off and another crashed into the Atlantic with two fatalities *In Sept 2013 another crashed in the Arctic killing the Coast Guard Captain and two Scientists.
Bell 407  United States rotary wing 2 shore-based ice surveillance, navigation aid maintenance; scheduled to be replaced in 2017
Bell 212 Twin Huey  United States rotary wing 5 shore-based ice surveillance, navigation aid maintenance; scheduled to be replaced in 2017. 6 delivered but one of these crashed in the Atlantic while carrying a sling load killing the pilot.
Bell 412 EPI  United States rotary wing 0 8 aircraft to be acquired to replace the Bell 212
Bell 206 JetRanger  United States rotary wing 5 shore-based ice surveillance, navigation aid maintenance. 6 delivered but one crashed and written off.
Bell 429  United States rotary wing 0 15 on order, scheduled to replace the MBB Bo 105. [4]
de Havilland Canada Dash 8  Canada fixed wing 2 Canadian Ice Service ice reconnaissance and oil pollution surveillance
Beech Super King Air B200  United States fixed wing 4 contracted by the Canadian government and owned and operated by Provincial Aerospace Limited for ice reconnaissance, marine fisheries and marine pollution surveillance[3]
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter  Canada fixed wing 1 marine fisheries and marine pollution surveillance
de Havilland Canada Dash 7  Canada fixed wing 1 Canadian Ice Service ice reconnaissance and oil pollution surveillance
Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA) does not operate an aviation branch. This role is instead provided by the volunteer Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA). Some CCGA volunteers also volunteer with CASARA or have cross-trained with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

Retired aircraft[edit]

CCG has operated the following aircraft types which have since been retired:


Many larger vessels in the CCG are close to the end of their planned lifetime, having been constructed from the 1960s–1980s with no replacements in the 1990s–2000s. These include new icebreakers, patrol vessels and oceanographic science vessels.

Mid Shore Patrol Vessel Project
The Mid Shore Patrol Vessel Project will procure 9 vessels to supplement fisheries conservation and protection duties as well as marine security duties in Maritime, Newfoundland, Pacific, and Central and Arctic regions. It is expected that 4 of these vessels are to be tasked with marine security duties in Central and Arctic Region and will have an operating area in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway. The initial procurement process for 12 ships was cancelled in 2008 when bids came in over budget; however a revised biDamen Stan patrol vessel 4708dding process was reissued in 2009.[5] On September 2, 2009, Public Works and Government Services Canada awarded a contract to Halifax Shipyards to build 9 (down from the original 12) mid-shore patrol vessels based on a 'Canadianized' version of the Damen Stan 4207 patrol vessel.[6][7][8]
Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel Project
The federal government announced the Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel Project in 2006 to procure vessels that will be 67 meters in length and be capable of carrying 22 to 26 crew as well as 19 scientists.[9] Two vessels were provided for in Budget 2006, with funding for an additional vessel added in Budget 2007.[10] The procurement process for these vessels began in September 2009.[11]
Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel Project
The Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel Project is a plan to procure a single vessel that will be 90-100 meters in length capable of carrying 30 crew as well as 37 scientists. It will replace the venerable and famous CCGS Hudson which has been Canada's major oceanographic research vessel for the past 40 years.[9] Funds for the project were allocated in Budget 2007.[10] The first phase of the procurement process for this vessel, along with the 3 offshore fisheries science vessels, was launched in September 2009 when the government issued a Solicitation of Interest and Qualification to identify qualified designers.[11]
Polar Class Icebreaker Project
The February 2008 federal budget designated $720 million for the Polar Class Icebreaker Project[12][13] to replace CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent in FY 2017. In August 2008 the name for this project's sole vessel was announced as CCGS John G. Diefenbaker,[14] however this vessel has not been designed, nor ordered as of September 2009.
Inshore Fisheries Science Vessel Project
The 2009 federal budget announced $175 million in funding for, among other things an Inshore Fisheries Science Vessel Project which will procure 3 new Inshore Fisheries Science Vessels. Two 18-metre vessels are to be based in Quebec region, while a third 24-meter vessel will be based in Maritime region (in New Brunswick).[15] In June 2009, the government awarded a contract to Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C. to design the vessels. The vessels are CCGS Vladykov, CCGS M. Perley and CCGS Leim.[1] In June 2012, the first vessel, CCGS Vladykov, which had been built at Meridien Maritime in Matane, Quebec, arrived at its homeport of St. John’s, Newfoundland.[16]
Miscellaneous vessels and repair of existing vessels
The funding announced in Budget 2009 also provided for the procurement of 98 small boats and barges for the CCG, as well as the life extension or repair of 40 of its larger vessels.[17][18]
Light and Medium-Lift Helicopters
On August 20, 2012, the Government of Canada announced a procurement of 24 new helicopters to replace the existing fleet with delivery in 2017.[19] Of the 24 helicopters, 2 will be assigned to the new polar class icebreaker John G. Diefenbaker. The Canadian Government announced it will buy 15 Bell 429 helicopters to satisfy the requirement for light helicopters. [20] The contract for Medium-Lift helicopters has yet to be issued, as of 4 October 2014.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "Vancouver Shipyards to build MEMTVs and OPVs for the Canadian Coast Guard". October 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c [1]
  4. ^
  5. ^ PWGSC News Release - New Mid-Shore Patrol Vessel RFP
  6. ^ "Mid Shore Patrol Vessel contract awarded to Irving Shipbuilding Inc." (Press release). Damen Shipyards Group. 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  7. ^ "Contract for Canadian Coast Guard Mid-Shore Patrol Vessels: Fisheries & Oceans Announces Award for Irving Shipbuilding". Canadian American Strategic Review. 
  8. ^ "Contract for Canadian Coast Guard Mid-Shore Patrol Vessels: Damen Shipyards Announces $194M Award for partner, Irving". Canadian American Strategic Review. 2009-09-03. Archived from the original on 2009-09-07. 
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ "Arctic icebreaker, fishing port, tax break a start: northerners". CBC News. February 27, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  13. ^ Chris Windeyer (February 29, 2008). "Feds to replace old icebreaker". Nunatsiaq News. Archived from the original on 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-03-04. Ottawa will put aside $720 million this year to commission the icebreaker, which the government says will have better ice breaking capability than the Louis St. Laurent, considered the workhorse of the Coast Guard. 
  14. ^ Lee Berthiaume (February 27, 2008). "Icebreaker Replacement Deadline Looms: Despite $720 million in yesterday's federal budget, procurement for a new polar icebreaker will take eight to 10 years". Embassy, Canada's Foreign Policy Newsletter. Retrieved 2008-03-04. Despite setting aside $720 million in yesterday's budget to purchase a new polar class icebreaker, the government will be cutting things close if it wants to decommission the aging CCGS Louis St. Laurent heavy icebreaker as scheduled by 2017, according to Canadian Coast Guard commissioner George Da Pont. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Government of Canada Invests in New Inshore Science Vessels". Reuters. 2009-06-04. 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Bell Helicopter coast guard deal: 5 things to know". CBC News. May 13, 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2014.