Part 4 General

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4.1 Procedures

4.1.1 Radiotelephone Procedures

4.1.1.1 General

In the interest of safe navigation, and especially during bad weather conditions, masters should ensure that a continuous listening watch is maintained on 2182 kHz. Where practicable, and having due regard for Vessel Traffic Services and Seaway Control requirements, a listening watch should be maintained on VHF Ch16 (156.8 MHz).

2182 kHz and Ch16 (156.8 MHz) shall only be used for distress, urgency and safety communications and for calling purposes. The class of emission to be used for radiotelephony on the frequency 2182 kHz shall be J3E.

Initial calls must be made directly on the safety and calling frequency 2182 kHz. This procedure is required because the MCTS Centres do not monitor MF working frequencies.

Make initial calls on any of the VHF working frequencies shown in the “Receiving” column of the MCTS Centre listing. The MCTS Centre will then respond on the corresponding frequency shown in the “Transmitting” column. It is necessary to indicate the channel number on the initial call because MCTS officers guard multiple frequencies simultaneously. Before making a call directly on a working frequency, listen for a period long enough to ensure that the channel is not in use. Follow this procedure for radio checks.

If difficulty is experienced in establishing contact with the MCTS Centre, or if contact is desired with another vessel, the initial call may be made on the calling frequency Ch16 in which case the station called will reply on the same frequency. As soon as communication has been established a change must be made to an agreed working frequency and all further communications made on that frequency.

Masters of compulsorily-fitted ships are reminded that a radio log of all distress and urgency communications and safety communications pertaining to their own ship should be kept and maintained onboard their vessels.

4.1.1.2 The following examples will illustrate the procedure to be used

Table 4-1 - Initial Call When a Vessel is Attempting to Establish Communication on a Working Frequency with a Specific Station

Initial Call When a Vessel is Attempting to Establish Communication on a Working Frequency with a Specific Station
ItemSpoken
Name of station called (spoken three times). PRESCOTT COAST GUARD RADIO
The words "THIS IS". THIS IS
Type, name, radio call sign of vessel calling (spoken three times). STEAMER FAIRMOUNT CYLD
and Channel CHANNEL 26
Invitation to reply OVER

Table 4-2 - Initial Call When a Vessel Wishes to Establish Communications with any Station within Range (or within a certain area)

Initial Call When a Vessel Wishes to Establish Communications with any Station within Range (or within a certain area)
ItemSpoken
General call (spoken three times). ALL STATIONS (or ALL SHIPS IN JOHNSTONE STRAITS)
The words “THIS IS”. THIS IS
Type, name and radio call sign of vessel calling (spoken three times). TANKER IMPERIAL CORNWALL/VCVC
Invitation to reply. OVER

When a station wishes to broadcast information rather than to establish communication, it proceeds with the message instead of giving the invitation to reply.

A radio message from a ship consists of several parts which shall be transmitted on the working frequency in the following order:

  1. type, name and radio call sign of the originating ship;
  2. the date and time the message originated. (preferably in UTC. Daylight Saving Time shall not be used). [date and time may be sent as one group, the first two figures indicate the date, the last four the time];
  3. the address;
  4. the text or body of the message;
  5. the signature.

Note

Items a) and b) taken together, are known as the “preamble”.

Table 4-3 - Example of a Ship to Shore Radio Message

Example of a Ship to Shore Radio Message
ItemSpoken
Message FROM M/V WEST WIND, CALL SIGN V2AG
Filed 071225UTC
Address ECAREG CANADA
Text SECURED SYDNEY GOVERNMENT WHARF
Signature MASTER

An acknowledgment of receipt of a message shall not be given until the receiving operator is certain that the transmitted information has been received correctly.

While it is not practical to lay down precise words and phrases for all radiotelephone procedures, the following should be used where applicable.

Table 4-4 - Practical Terms

Practical Terms
TermsMeaning
ACKNOWLEDGE Let me know that you have received and understood this message.
CORRECTION An error has been made in this transmission. The correct version is.....
GO AHEAD Proceed with your message.
OVER My transmission is ended and I expect a response from you.
OUT This conversation is ended and no response is expected.
READ BACK After I have given OVER, repeat all the message back to me exactly as received.
ROGER I have received all of your last transmission.
RECEIVED NUMBER Receipt of your message number..... is acknowledged.
STAND BY Wait until you hear further from me.
VERIFY Check with the originator and send the correct version.
WORDS TWICE As a request - Please send each word twice.
As information - I will send each word twice.

4.1.1.3 Phonetic Alphabet

When it is necessary to spell out call signs, service abbreviations and words whose spelling might be misinterpreted, the following letter spelling table should be used:

A - ALFA

B – BRAVO 

C - CHARLIE

D - DELTA

E - ECHO

F - FOXTROT

G - GOLF

H - HOTEL

I - INDIA

J - JULIET

K - KILO

L – LIMA

M - MIKE

N - NOVEMBER

O - OSCAR

P - PAPA

Q - QUEBEC

R – ROMEO

S - SIERRA

T - TANGO

U - UNIFORM

V - VICTOR

W – WHISKEY

X - X-RAY

Y – YANKEE

Z - ZULU

 

4.1.1.4 Times

Times are expressed in four figures, the first two denoting the hour and the last two the minutes, the day starting at midnight with 0000 and ending at 2400. The standard of time (e.g. UTC) is stated at the head of the appropriate column, or against the figures involved.

4.1.1.5 Time Zone Comparison

NST   Newfoundland Standard Time
AST   Atlantic Standard Time
EST   Eastern Standard Time
CST   Central Standard Time
MST   Mountain Standard Time
PST   Pacific Standard Time

To convert from Coordinated Universal Time to Local Standard Time look opposite UTC under the appropriate column. For corresponding Daylight Saving Time, add one hour.

Table 4-5 Time Zone Comparison

Time Zone Comparison Chart
UTCNSTASTESTCSTMSTPST
00:00 20:30 20:00 19:00 18:00 17:00 16:00
01:00 21:30 21:00 20:00 19:00 18:00 17:00
02:00 22:30 22:00 21:00 20:00 19:00 18:00
03:00 23:30 23:00 22:00 21:00 20:00 19:00
04:00 00:30 00:00 23:00 22:00 21:00 20:00
05:00 01:30 01:00 00:00 23:00 22:00 21:00
06:00 02:30 02:00 01:00 00:00 23:00 22:00
07:00 03:30 03:00 02:00 01:00 00:00 23:00
08:00 04:30 04:00 03:00 02:00 01:00 00:00
09:00 05:30 05:00 04:00 03:00 02:00 01:00
10:00 06:30 06:00 05:00 04:00 03:00 02:00
11:00 07:30 07:00 06:00 05:00 04:00 03:00
12:00 08:30 08:00 07:00 06:00 05:00 04:00
13:00 09:30 09:00 08:00 07:00 06:00 05:00
14:00 10:30 10:00 09:00 08:00 07:00 06:00
15:00 11:30 11:00 10:00 09:00 08:00 07:00
16:00 12:30 12:00 11:00 10:00 09:00 08:00
17:00 13:30 13:00 12:00 11:00 10:00 09:00
18:00 14:30 14:00 13:00 12:00 11:00 10:00
19:00 15:30 15:00 14:00 13:00 12:00 11:00
20:00 16:30 16:00 15:00 14:00 13:00 12:00
21:00 17:30 17:00 16:00 15:00 14:00 13:00
22:00 18:30 18:00 17:00 16:00 15:00 14:00
23:00 19:30 19:00 18:00 17:00 16:00 15:00

4.1.1.6 Time Signals

Canada’s official time is the responsibility of the National Research Council’s Institute for National Measurement Standards, Ottawa, ON. Its short wave radio station CHU, with transmitters located at 45º17’47”N 075º45’22”W is equipped with vertical antennas to give the best possible coverage to the maximum number of Canadian users. The signal is transmitted continuously on 3330 kHz, 7850 kHz and 14670 kHz, upper single-sideband H3E (AM compatible). A cesium atomic clock generates the carrier frequencies (accurate to a part in 1011) and the UTC seconds pulses (accurate to 50 microseconds). The start of each UTC second is marked by the start of 300 cycles of a 1000 Hz tone, with certain omissions and identifications. Every half-minute is marked by omitting the preceding tone (for second 29). In the 9 seconds preceding each minute, the second pulses are shortened to “ticks” to provide a window for the voice announcement, followed by a longer tone. The start of this tone marks the exact minute given by the announcement. This tone is one-half second long, except for the exact hour - when it is one full second long and in this case only is followed by 9 seconds of silence.

The bilingual voice announcement which is heard each minute takes the form:

“CHU Canada - Coordinated Universal Time -- hours -- minutes -- heures -- minutes” for even minutes,

and

“CHU Canada - Temps Universel Coordonné -- heures -- minutes -- hours -- minutes” for odd minutes.

A small number of the longer time announcements use the abbreviation "UTC" rather than the full form.

Following international practice, Canada’s official time is based on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) which is kept within one second of UT1, the time on the Greenwich meridian as used for celestial navigation. Users interested in the ultimate accuracy of celestial navigation can determine UT1 with an accuracy of 0.1 seconds by decoding the difference DUT1 = UT1 - UTC, as transmitted by CHU in the internationally accepted code. The number of tenths of a second of DUT1 can be decoded by counting the number of emphasized second pulses that follow each minute. If the emphasized pulses occur for any of the seconds 1 to 8, DUT1 is positive; if the emphasized pulses occur for any of the seconds 9 to 16, DUT1 is negative. CHU emphasizes second pulses by splitting them (0.1 s of tone, 0.1 s of silence, 0.1 s of tone) so that a double tone is heard.

4.1.2 Distress Communications in Radiotelephony

4.1.2.1 Early Notification of Search and Rescue Authorities of Developing Situations

In the interest of ensuring the highest level of safety, mariners should immediately notify the Canadian Coast Guard, through any MCTS Centre of any situation which is or may be developing into a more serious situation requiring assistance from the Search and Rescue (SAR) System. The need for the earliest possible alerting of SAR Authorities to potential maritime emergencies cannot be over-emphasized.

This advice is given in accordance with IMO Circular MSC/Circ.892 and similar advice found in the ICAO/IMO International Aeronautical and Maritime SAR (IAMSAR) Manual Volume III. Further, there have been similar recommendations arising from serious SAR cases in the Canadian SAR Region where masters have failed to provide this notice until after the situation deteriorated.

This notification allows SAR authorities to carry out preliminary and contingency planning that could make a critical difference if the situation worsens. Time lost in the initial stages of a SAR mission may be crucial to its eventual outcome.

It is always best to consider the worst-case scenario and to alert SAR authorities accordingly. This notification places no obligations upon the master except to advise the CCG when the situation has been corrected.

Canadian MCTS Centres provide coverage of all marine distress frequencies, however, each centre does not necessarily guard each frequency (refer to centre listings Part 2). MCTS provides communications between the JRCC/MRSC and the vessel or vessels concerned with the distress.

The radiotelephone distress frequencies are:

  1. 2182 kHz on medium frequency (MF) band;
  2. 156.8 MHz (Ch 16) on very high frequency band (VHF); and
  3. any other available frequency on which attention might be attracted if transmissions on 2182 kHz and 156.8 MHz are not possible or successful.

The digital selective calling (DSC) frequencies are:

  1. Ch 70 in the VHF band;
  2. 4207.5 kHz;
  3. 6312.0 kHz;
  4. 8414.5 kHz;
  5. 12577 kHz; and
  6. 16804.5 kHz in the High Frequency (HF) bands.

When another craft or person is in distress:

  1. all transmissions capable of interfering with the distress traffic must be stopped;
  2. attention must be concentrated on the distress communications and all information possible intercepted; and
  3. station in the vicinity of the distressed craft must acknowledge receipt of the distress message if received, giving its own position in relation to that of the craft in distress and stating the action being taken.

Distress communications consist of the:

  1. distress Alert (when using VHF or HF DSC);
  2. distress Signal;
  3. distress Call;
  4. distress Message; and
  5. distress Traffic.

Transmission of a DSC Distress Alert, a Distress Signal and/or a Distress Call announces that the ship, aircraft, other vehicle, or person that is making the transmission is:

  1. hreatened by serious and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance; or
  2. aware of another ship, aircraft, other vehicle, or person threatened by serious and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance.

Distress communications should be repeated by the craft in distress until an answer is heard.

The DSC Distress Alert will automatically switch marine radios to the associated distress frequency for the subsequent transmission of the distress signal, the distress call and the distress message.

4.1.2.2 The Alarm Signal

The radiotelephone Alarm Signal consists of the continuous alternate transmission of two audio tones of different pitch for a period of at least thirty seconds but not to exceed one minute. The sound of this tone is similar to that used by some ambulances.

The Alarm Signal is used by Canadian MCTS Centres to alert ships:

  1. that a mayday relay broadcast is about to follow; or
  2. that a Tsunami warning, preceded by the Urgency Signal (PAN PAN) is about to follow; or
  3. that the transmission of an urgent cyclone warning, preceded by the Safety Signal (SÉCURITÉ), is about to follow.

4.1.2.3 The Distress Signal

The Distress Signal consists of the word “MAYDAY”.

The Distress Call consists of:

  1. the word “MAYDAY” (spoken three times);
  2. the words “THIS IS” followed by;
  3. the name of the ship in distress (spoken three times);
  4. the call sign or other identification; and
  5. the ship's MMSI (if a DSC distress alert has been sent).

The Distress Call:

  1. should not be addressed to a particular coast radio station or ship; and
  2. has absolute priority over all other transmissions and all coast radio stations and ships that hear this call must cease any transmissions that will interfere with it and must listen on the frequency used for this call.

The Distress Message consists of:

  1. the word “MAYDAY”;
  2. the name of the ship in distress;
  3. the call sign or other identification;
  4. the ship’s MMSI (if a DSC distress alert has been sent);
  5. the position of the ship in distress;
  6. the nature of the distress;
  7. the kind of assistance needed;
  8. any other useful information which might assist the rescue; and
  9. the word “OVER”, which is an invitation to acknowledge and reply.

The DSC Distress Alert Acknowledgement to an “All Stations” DSC Distress Alert shall normally be made by a MCTS Centre.

Ship stations may acknowledge receipt of a DSC Distress Alert by radiotelephony on the associated distress and calling frequency after a MCTS Centre has had time to initiate contact with the vessel in distress.

4.1.2.4 Distress Traffic

Distress Traffic consists of all messages about the immediate assistance required by the ship in distress. Prior to the transmission of any Distress Traffic, the Distress Signal “MAYDAY” must be sent once before the call. The control of Distress Traffic is the responsibility of the ship in distress or of the ship or coast radio station sending a Distress Message.

A mobile station that learns that another mobile station is in distress may transmit the distress message if:

  1. the station in distress cannot transmit it;
  2. the master or person responsible for the craft carrying the station which intervenes believes that further help is necessary; and
  3. although not in a position to render assistance, it has heard a distress message which has not been acknowledged.

In the above situation the distress message relay takes the following form:

  1. the radiotelephone Alarm Signal, if possible;
  2. the words “MAYDAY RELAY” (spoken three times);
  3. the words “ALL STATIONS” or a specific MCTS Centre, as appropriate (spoken three times);
  4. the words “THIS IS”;
  5. the name of the mobile station repeating the distress message (spoken three times);
  6. the call-sign or other identification of the mobile station repeating the distress message;
  7. the MMSI of the mobile station repeating the distress message (if the initial distress alert was sent by DSC);
  8. the repetition of the distress message; and
  9. the word, “OVER”.

When Distress Traffic has ceased or when silence is no longer necessary the station that has controlled the Distress Traffic must transmit a message on the distress frequency advising that the distress traffic has ceased.

  1. the word “MAYDAY”;
  2. the words “ALL STATIONS” (spoken three times);
  3. the words “THIS IS”;
  4. the name of the station which has controlled the distress traffic (spoken three times);
  5. the call-sign or other identification of the station which has controlled the distress traffic;
  6. the current Coordinated Universal Time ( UTC);
  7. the MMSI (if the initial distress alert was sent by DSC) and the name and call sign of the ship that was in distress and a brief description of the resolution of the distress;
  8. the words “SEELONCE FEENEE”; and
  9. the word “OUT”.

4.1.2.5 Distress Procedure Example

Initiate a VHF or HF DSC Distress Alert.

Then, on the associated distress and calling frequency, the following distress call and distress message should be spoken slowly and distinctly:

Table 4-6 - Example of a distress call/message

Example of a distress call/message
ItemSpoken
Distress Signal “MAYDAY” (three times)
The words “THIS IS”
Name of ship “Nonsuch” (three times)
MMSI number “316010115” (if initial distress alert was sent by DSC)
Distress Signal “MAYDAY”
Name of ship “Nonsuch”
MMSI number “316010115” (if initial distress alert was sent by DSC)
Position “Off Iles-St-Marie”
Nature of distress “Struck rock and taking on water”
Assistance needed “Require help to abandon ship”
Other useful information “5 persons on board”
Invitation to acknowledge and reply “OVER”

4.1.3 Urgency Communications

The DSC Urgency Announcement will automatically switch marine radios to the associated distress frequency for the subsequent transmission of the urgency signal, the urgency call and the urgency message.

The Urgency Signal consists of the words “PAN PAN”.

The Urgency Call consists of:

  1. the words “PAN PAN” (spoken three times);
  2. the words “ALL STATIONS” or station specific call (spoken three times);
  3. the words “THIS IS” followed by;
  4. the name of the station making the call (spoken three times);
  5. the call-sign or other identification; and
  6. the ship's MMSI (if the initial Urgency announcement was sent by DSC).

The urgency signal may be transmitted only on the authority of the master or the person responsible for the ship, aircraft or other vehicle carrying the mobile station.

The urgency signal indicates that the calling station has a very urgent message to transmit concerning the safety of a ship, aircraft or other vehicle, or the safety of a person.

The urgency signal, the urgency call, and the urgency message shall be sent on the distress frequencies 2182 kHz and Ch16 (156.8 MHz). If transmission on these frequencies is impossible, any other available frequency on which attention might be attracted should be used.

The urgency signal has priority over all other communications, except distress, and all stations which hear it must take care not to interfere with the transmission of the message which follows the urgency signal.

Stations which hear the urgency signal must continue to listen for at least three minutes. At the end of this period, if no urgency message has been heard, normal service may be resumed. However, stations which are in communication on frequencies other than those used for transmission of the urgency signal may continue their normal work without interruption provided the urgency message is not addressed “to all stations”.

The DSC Urgency Acknowledgement to an “All Stations” DSC Urgency Announcement shall normally be made by a MCTS Centre. Ship stations may acknowledge, by radiotelephony, the receipt of a DSC Urgency Announcement on the associated distress and calling frequency after a MCTS Centre has had time to initiate contact with the vessel in distress.

4.1.4 Safety Communications

The Safety Signal consists of the word “SÉCURITÉ”.

The Safety Call consists of:

  1. the word “SÉCURITÉ” (spoken three times);
  2. the words “ALL STATIONS” (spoken three times);
  3. the words “THIS IS”, followed by;
  4. the name of the station making the call (spoken three times);
  5. the call-sign or other identification;
  6. the station's MMSI (if the initial Safety announcement was sent by DSC);
  7. a brief description of the context of the “Safety Message”;
  8. the channel or frequency for the Safety broadcast; and
  9. the word “OUT”.

The safety signal indicates that the station is about to transmit an important navigational or meteorological warning. The safety message should be sent on a working frequency, which is announced at the end of the call.

The safety call is transmitted on the distress frequencies 2182 kHz and Ch16 (156.8 MHz). If transmission on these frequencies is impossible, any other available frequency on which attention might be attracted shall be used.

A ship station which receives an “All Stations” DSC Safety Announcement shall not acknowledge receipt.

All stations hearing the safety signal shall shift to the working frequency indicated in the call and listen to the safety message until satisfied it does not concern them.

The Safety Message format consists of:

  1. the word “SÉCURITÉ”;
  2. the words “ALL STATIONS” (spoken three times);
  3. the words “THIS IS”, followed by;
  4. the name of the station making the call (spoken three times);
  5. the call sign or other identification of the transmitting station;
  6. the MMSI of the transmitting station (if the initial announcement was sent by DSC);
  7. the details of the safety message;
  8. the word “OUT”.

4.1.4.1 Safety Communications in Athabasca – Mackenzie Watershed Area

DISTRESS, URGENCY, SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS – USE OF 5803 kHz

The frequency 5803 kHz is the distress and calling frequency for the Athabasca – Mackenzie inland waterways. This frequency should be carried on all commercial vessels and should be monitored at all times when the vessel is in active operation on the waterways.

This frequency will not be used for any type of communication other than distress, urgency and safety communications and for the purpose of establishing initial radio contact with another vessel or shore station. After initial contact is made, for other than distress or emergency communication, the vessel and/or shore station involved will immediately transfer to an established working frequency.

For the provision of relay or assistance in communication to a land station or other vessel, the CCG will provide, during the shipping season, 24 hour receive and transmit facilities on 5803 kHz from Iqaluit MCTS/VFF.

4.1.5 Aids to Navigation

4.1.5.1 Positions

All positions expressed in latitude and longitude of the radio aids to navigation listed in this publication are approximate and are taken from the largest scale Canadian Hydrographic Service charts, where available, or British Admiralty charts of the vicinity. Mariners should bear in mind when plotting the position of any given aid that it is preferable to use a chart with the aid already located on it than to plot it from a position given in latitude and longitude.

4.1.5.2 Reporting Abnormal Operation of Radio Aids

A marine radio aid observed to be operating abnormally should be reported, as soon as possible to a MCTS Centre.

Reports shall be as complete as possible, giving full details including time, date, the position from which the observation was made, and details and description of conditions, such as weather and reception, prevailing at the time of the observation.

It is also requested that ships report abnormal MCTS Centre operation, such as poor quality of marine telephone calls, unreadability of broadcasts, failure to answer calls, etc.

To ensure prompt corrective action, such reports must include the date, time and position of ship when the observation was made, together with details of prevailing weather and reception conditions.

4.1.5.3 Radio Beacons

Marine radio beacons generally operate in the 285-325 kHz. Radio beacon service enables ships fitted with direction finding equipment to take a bearing or to take several consecutive bearings which will provide a fix. See Part 2 for details on individual listings.

4.1.5.4 Radar Beacons (RACONS)

Radar beacons (Racons) may be established at lighthouses, on buoys or at other specific charted locations ashore or afloat to enhance identification and detection range of these features by radar.

Some Racons operate only in the X band 9320-9500 MHz, whilst others are dual band X/S, X band plus S band of 2920-3100 MHz. It should also be noted that the slow sweep (SS) type of Racon will give a response every 72-120 seconds, whilst the Frequency Agile Racon (FAR) will respond more frequently.

The Racon signal appears on the radar display as a line commencing at the approximate range of the Racon and extending outwards along its line of bearing from the ship toward the limit of the display. The signal displayed may be a solid line or it may be broken into a code consisting of a series of dots and dashes as shown in relevant publications.

4.2 Systems

4.2.1 Global Maritime Distress and Safety System in Canada (GMDSS)

4.2.1.1 What is GMDSS?

The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is an international system using improved terrestrial and satellite technology and ship-board radio systems. It ensures rapid alerting of shore-based rescue and communications authorities in the event of an emergency. In addition, the system alerts vessels in the immediate vicinity and provides improved means of locating survivors.

GMDSS was developed through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and represents a significant change in the way maritime safety communications are conducted. While it is mandatory for all ships subject to the International Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) (cargo ships 300 gross tons or greater and all passenger vessels, on international voyages), GMDSS will impact on all radio-equipped vessels, regardless of size. All SOLAS ships are required to fully comply with GMDSS.

4.2.1.2 Why GMDSS?

GMDSS was developed to SAVE LIVES by modernizing and enhancing the current radiocommunications system. By utilizing satellite and digital selective calling technology, GMDSS provides a more effective distress alerting system. It improves the current system by:

  1. increasing the probability that an alert will be sent when a vessel is in distress;
  2. increasing the likelihood that the alert will be received;
  3. increasing the ability to locate survivors;
  4. improving rescue communications and coordination; and
  5. providing mariners with vital maritime safety information.

4.2.1.3 Maritime Safety Information (MSI)

Maritime Safety Information broadcasts, which comprise navigational and meteorological warnings, meteorological forecasts and other safety-related messages can be received in four different ways in GMDSS:

  1. NAVTEX receivers are fully automatic and receive broadcasts in coastal regions up to 300 nautical miles offshore;
  2. Inmarsat-C terminals receive Enhanced Group Call (EGC) - SafetyNET broadcasts for areas outside NAVTEX coverage;
  3. High Frequency Narrow-Band-Direct-Printing (HF NBDP) receivers may be used where service is available to promulgate MSI in areas outside Inmarsat coverage; and
  4. VHF marine radio (Sea Area A1) as a medium for obtaining nav/met MSI.

4.2.1.4 GMDSS Sea Areas - International

Although ship-to-ship alerting is still an important function in GMDSS, the emphasis is on two way communications between ships and shore facilities. All GMDSS ships must be capable of communicating with the shore and transmitting a distress alert by two different means. The equipment carried by a GMDSS ship is therefore determined by its area of operation and the availability of shore-based communications services.

Table 4-7 - Four “Sea Areas” defined in the GMDSS

Four “Sea Areas” defined in the GMDSS
AreaDescription
Sea Area A1 Within range of shore-based VHF/DSC coast station (40 nautical miles).
Sea Area A2 Within range of shore-based MF/DSC coast station (excluding sea areas A1)
(150 nautical miles).
Sea Area A3 Sea Area 3 is that sea area of the world not being part of any sea area A1 or A2 within which the elevation angle of an Inmarsat satellite is 5 degrees or more.
Sea Area A4 The remaining areas outside sea areas A1, A2 and A3 (polar regions).

4.2.1.5 GMDSS Sea Areas - Canada

In Canada, as a result of consultations with the Canadian marine industry, it has been decided to implement sea areas A1 on the east and west coasts. Outside of Sea Area A1 will be a Sea Area A3 with a Sea Area A4 in the Arctic.

Consideration was given to the implementation of a Sea Area A2, but due to budgetary constraints and the marine industry’s preference for sea areas A1 and A3, sea area A2 is not being planned at this time. Sea Area A1 for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River is also provided.

4.2.1.6 Communications between GMDSS Vessels and Non-GMDSS Vessels

Since February 1st, 1999, GMDSS larger ships have been maintaining an automated listening watch on VHF/DSC Ch70 and MF/DSC 2187.5 kHz. This at times creates the situation, where vessels fitted with traditional, non-GMDSS radio equipment, may have had difficulties alerting or contacting a GMDSS ship. The CCG is addressing this by monitoring both GMDSS and traditional distress frequencies. Furthermore, the CCG and Transport Canada encourage all vessels to fit VHF/DSC in the interest of increased safety.

4.2.1.7 Important Safety Notice concerning VHF/DSC

After having received a distress, urgency or safety broadcast announcement on VHF/DSC Ch70 the VHF/DSC equipment will automatically switch the DSC radio to VHF Ch16 for the subsequent voice announcements. Mariners who are required by the VHF Practices and Procedures Regulations to monitor a specific VTS sector frequency should return the radio to the appropriate working frequency after determining, on Ch16, the impact of the VHF/DSC alert broadcast announcement on their vessel’s operations.

It has been determined that vessels maintaining a listening watch on a VTS sector frequency, per the requirements of the VTS Zone Regulations may, if navigating in congested waters, temporarily discontinue DSC watchkeeping on VHF/DSC Channel 70 until the required manoeuvre has been completed.

Vessels inadvertently or accidentally transmitting a distress/urgency/safety broadcast on VHF/DSC must cancel the distress/urgency/safety broadcast on VHF Ch16. Intentionally sending a false distress alert carries penalties under both the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the Radiocommunications Act.

VHF/DSC equipment must be programmed with the correct Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) numbers (reference “Radio Station Licensing and MMSI numbers” in Section 4.3.12, also reference Section 1.4 for the MCTS Centres’ MMSI numbers).

4.2.1.8 Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centres (MCTS)

To help ease the transition to GMDSS and bridge the communication gap between the two systems, Canadian Coast Guard MCTS Centres will continue to monitor the current distress and safety channels VHF Ch16 and MF 2182 kHz for the foreseeable future. Once Canada’s sea areas have all been implemented, lower cost DSC equipment is available, and it is determined that these services are no longer required, these listening watches may be discontinued. This decision will be evaluated at that time.

The CCG national VHF-DSC (digital selective calling) network controlled by MCTS Centres can process VHF-DSC “Test Calls” from vessels provided that the marine radio meets the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) standard Recommendation M.493-14 (as amended) “Digital selective-calling system for use in the maritime mobile service”.

The CCG VHF-DSC equipment is configured to automatically acknowledge VHF-DSC test calls within seconds of receipt provided that the MCTS Centre VHF-DSC equipment is not processing higher priority DSC calls.

To supplement the broadcasting of Maritime Safety Information (MSI) on NAVTEX, Inmarsat, SafetyNET and HF NBDP, MCTS Centres will continue MSI broadcasts using the existing VHF continuous marine broadcast system and MF radiotelephony broadcast at advertised times.

4.2.2 Long-Range Identification and Tracking of Vessels Regulations (LRIT)4

INTERPRETATION

Definitions

1. (1) The following definitions apply in these Regulations.

"cargo vessel"
means a vessel that is not a passenger vessel and is of 300 tons gross tonnage or more. (bâtiment de charge)
"international voyage"
means a voyage between a port in one country and a port in another country, but does not include a voyage solely on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and their connecting and tributary waters as far east as the lower exit of the St. Lambert Lock at Montréal. (voyage international)
"LRIT equipment"
means information-transmitting equipment for the long-range identification and tracking of a vessel. (équipement LRIT)
"LRIT information"
means the information referred to in section 5. (renseignements LRIT)
"Minister"
means the Minister of Transport. (ministre)
"passenger vessel"
means a vessel that carries more than 12 passengers. (bâtiment à passagers)
"sea area A1, sea area A2, sea area A3 and sea area A4"
have the meanings assigned by regulation 2.1 of Chapter IV of SOLAS. (zone océanique A1, zone océanique A2, zone océanique A3 et zone océanique A4)
"SOLAS"
means the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, and the Protocol of 1988 relating to the Convention, as amended from time to time. (SOLAS)

When vessel is constructed

(2) For the purpose of these Regulations, a vessel is constructed on the earliest of

  1. the day on which its keel is laid;
  2. the day on which construction identifiable with a specific vessel begins; and
  3. the day on which assembly of the vessel reaches the lesser of 50 tons and 1% of the estimated mass of all structural material.

Application

Cargo vessels and passenger vessels

2. (1) These Regulations apply in respect of Canadian vessels everywhere if they

  1. are engaged on international voyages; and
  2. are cargo vessels or passenger vessels.

Exceptions

(2) These Regulations do not apply in respect of

  1. pleasure craft; or
  2. government vessels.

Compliance

Authorized representative

3. The authorized representative of a vessel shall ensure that the requirements of sections 4 to 10 are met.

LRIT Equipment

Vessels to be fitted

4. (1) Every vessel shall be fitted with LRIT equipment.

Exception — sea area A1

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of a vessel that operates exclusively in sea area A1 if it is fitted with an automatic identification system that meets the requirements of and is operated in accordance with section 65 of the Navigation Safety Regulations.

Exception — vessels constructed before December 31, 2008

(3) A vessel constructed before December 31, 2008 is not required to be fitted with LRIT equipment before

  1. if the vessel is certified under subsection 51(4) of the Ship Station (Radio) Technical Regulations, 1999 for operation in sea area A1 and sea area A2 or in sea area A1, sea area A2 and sea area A3, the later of the day on which these Regulations come into force and the day on which its radio installation is first inspected after December 31, 2008; or
  2. if the vessel is certified under subsection 51(4) of the Ship Station (Radio) Technical Regulations, 1999 for operation in sea area A1, sea area A2, sea area A3 and sea area A4,
    • while the vessel is operating in sea area A1, sea area A2 or sea area A3, the later of the day on which these Regulations come into force and the day on which its radio installation is first inspected after December 31, 2008, or
    • while the vessel is not operating in sea area A1, sea area A2 or sea area A3, the later of the day on which these Regulations come into force and the day on which its radio installation is first inspected after July 1, 2009.

Interpretation

(4) For the purpose of subsection (3), inspection of a vessel’s radio installation occurs when it is inspected as required by section 51 of the Ship Station (Radio) Technical Regulations, 1999.

Automatic transmission

5. The LRIT equipment fitted on a vessel to meet the requirements of section 4 shall automatically transmit the following information:

  1. the vessel’s identity;
  2. the vessel’s position, particularly its latitude and longitude; and
  3. the date and time of the transmission.

Type approval or certification

6. (1) The LRIT equipment fitted on a vessel to meet the requirements of section 4 shall be type-approved or certified by the Minister as meeting the performance standards and functional requirements set out in section 4 of the Revised performance standards and functional requirements for the long-range identification and tracking of ships, the annex to International Maritime Organization Resolution MSC.263(84), as amended from time to time.

Interpretation

(2) For the purpose of interpreting section 4 of the annex referred to in subsection (1),

  1. ”should” shall be read to mean “shall”; and
  2. ”Administration” shall be read to mean “Minister”.

Switching off equipment

7. (1) The LRIT equipment fitted on a vessel to meet the requirements of section 4 shall be capable of being switched off on board.

Master

(2) The vessel’s master may switch off the LRIT equipment:

  1. when international agreements, rules or standards provide for the protection of navigational information; and
  2. in exceptional circumstances and for the shortest duration possible when the equipment’s operation is considered by the vessel’s master to compromise the safety or security of the vessel.

Informing authorities

(3) If the master switches off the LRIT equipment in the case provided for by paragraph (2) (b), the master shall

  1. without undue delay inform a MCTS Centre of the Canadian Coast Guard and, if the vessel is in the waters of a contracting government, the relevant maritime authority of that government; and
  2. make an entry, in the record of navigational activities and incidents maintained in accordance with section 85 of the Navigation Safety Regulations, setting out the reasons for the decision and indicating the period during which the equipment was switched off.

Reducing frequency of or temporarily stopping transmission

8. (1) The LRIT equipment fitted on a vessel to meet the requirements of section 4 shall be capable of

  1. being configured to transmit the LRIT information at a reduced frequency of once every 24 hours; and
  2. temporarily stopping the transmission of LRIT information.

Master

(2) While a vessel is undergoing repairs, modifications or conversions in dry dock or in port or is laid up, the vessel’s master may, on his or her own

initiative, and shall, if directed to do so by the Minister,

  1. reduce the frequency of the transmission of LRIT information to once every 24 hours; or
  2. temporarily stop the transmission of LRIT information.

Informing authorities

(3) If the master reduces the frequency of or temporarily stops the transmission of LRIT information under subsection (2), the master shall

  1. without undue delay inform a MCTS Centre of the Canadian Coast Guard and, if the vessel is in the waters of a contracting government, the relevant maritime authority of that government; and
  2. make an entry, in the record of navigational activities and incidents maintained in accordance with section 85 of the Navigation Safety Regulations, indicating the period during which the transmission of LRIT information was reduced in frequency or temporarily stopped, and whether or not the Minister directed the action.

Failure of system

9. If the Minister or the Canadian Coast Guard informs the master of a vessel that any part of the system used to receive LRIT information from the vessel or to disseminate the information has failed, the master shall make an entry, in the record of navigational activities and incidents maintained in accordance with section 85 of the Navigation Safety Regulations, setting out the date and time the master was informed.

Electromagnetic interference

10. LRIT equipment shall be installed so that electromagnetic interference does not affect the proper functioning of navigational equipment.

Issuance of proof of type approval or of certificate

11. (1) On application, the Minister shall issue a proof of type approval or a certificate for LRIT equipment if the Minister determines that the equipment meets the performance standards and functional requirements referred to in subsection 6(1).

Carry proof or certificate on board

(2) A vessel’s master shall ensure that a proof of type approval or a certificate issued under subsection (1) for the LRIT equipment fitted on the vessel to meet the requirements of section 4 is

  1. in the case of a proof of type-approval, carried on board in the form of
    • a label that is securely affixed to the equipment in a readily visible location, or
    • a document that is kept in a readily accessible location; and
  2. in the case of a certificate, carried on board in a readily accessible location.

Coming into force

Registration date

12. These regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.

4.2.3 Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (406 MHz)

It is recommended that a float-free EPIRB be carried on board ships and pleasure crafts operating offshore. To be effective, 406 MHz EPIRBs must be registered with the Canadian Beacon Registry by telephone 1-800-406-7671; facsimile 1-877-406-3298;
or, on the Website at: www.cbr-rcb.ca. You may also reach the Canadian Beacon Registry by email at cbr@sarnet.dnd.ca.

Note

Inmarsat discontinued their monitoring service of Inmarsat “E” EPIRB distress alerts as of December 1, 2006.

Mariners should check with Inmarsat for exchange of any currently held Inmarsat “E” EPIRBs. Further, mariners should only purchase and fit COSPAS-SARSAT 406 MHz EPIRBs.

  1. Float-free EPIRBs should not be fitted under ledges or structures that would impede their ability to float free. Do not install the EPIRB with lanyard attached to the superstructure of your vessel.
  2. Both manually activated EPIRBs and float-free EPIRBs should be readily accessible so that in the event of an emergency, it is available for immediate use.
  3. EPIRBs should be tested using the "TEST" button, by the operator every 6 months. This test should be recorded in the radio log.
  4. EPIRB battery packs and hydrostatic release units should be replaced per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

A list of 406 MHz EPIRBs approved for use in Canada is available on the Website at: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/oep-navigation-safety-apci-2298.htm.

4.2.4 Ship Station (Radio) Regulations, 1999

  1. Requirements for Safety Convention ships are not shown as they must comply with the Safety Convention.
  2. Requirements for ships on inland voyages and minor waters voyages are not shown since there are no new requirements.
  3. Regulations do not apply to a pleasure yacht not carrying a master or crew for hire, or a tow-boat in a booming ground.

Table 4-8 - Sea Area A1 or VHF

Sea Area A1 or VHF
EquipmentSea Area A1 or VHF
VHF Radio with DSC
(SSRR)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
-unless ship operates within a VTS Zone, then will have until January 31, 2003, or until the sea area A1 is completed, whichever is latest.
Yes (All other ships)
- by February 1, 2003, or after sea area A1 completed, whichever is latest
  • ships ≥8m in length and of closed construction,
  • ships carrying >6 passengers, and
  • tow boats
-exempted are ships on a home-trade voyage, class IV in a VTS Zone
-current VHF radiotelephone provisions remain in effect until then
Inmarsat Ship Earth Station with EGC, and MF Radio with DSC,
or

MF/HF Radio with DSC and NBDP (SSRR)
No (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
No (All other ships)
NAVTEX Receiver
(no change to current requirement – SSRR)
No (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
No (All other ships)
EPIRB (float-free)
(SSRR)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
Yes (All other ships)
  • if ≥20 m (and beyond home trade IV voyage)
  • if tug >5gt and 50 miles long and >2 miles from shore
  • if ≥ 15gt and go beyond home-trade III voyage limits i.e., 20 miles from shore by April 1, 2001
  • if ≥ 8m and go beyond home-trade III voyage limits on April 1, 2002
    (Note: EPIRB does not have to be float-free if less than 15gt)
-exempted are ships on home-trade voyages, class IV or minor waters voyages.
Radar Transponder(s) (SARTs)
(SSRR, Life Saving Equipment Regulations, Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations, and Small Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations)
No (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
Yes (All other ships)
1 if 20m in length or over on > HTII voyages; but, can continue to carry 2 Class II EPIRBs instead until one of the batteries expire.
Survival Craft VHF Portable Radio
(Life Saving Equipment Regulations, Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
3 are required, unless ship is certified to carry ≤12 passengers and is <500gt, then carry 2 (new requirement for ships on home-trade voyages, class III).
No (All other ships)
Reserve Source of Energy Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
Yes (All other ships)
if ship is ≥20m, is carrying more than 6 passengers, or is a tow-boat.

Table 4-9 - Sea Area A3

Sea Area A3
EquipmentSea Area A3
VHF Radio with DSC
(SSRR)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
-unless ship operates within a VTS Zone, then will have until January 31, 2003, or until the sea area A1 is completed, whichever is latest.
Yes (All other ships)
- by February 1, 2003, or after sea area A1 completed, whichever is latest
  • ships ≥8m in length and of closed construction,
  • ships carrying >6 passengers, and
  • tow boats
-exempted are ships on a home-trade voyage, class IV in a VTS Zone
-current VHF radiotelephone provisions remain in effect until then
Inmarsat Ship Earth Station with EGC, and MF Radio with DSC,
or

MF/HF Radio with DSC and NBDP (SSRR)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
(EGC required only if outside NAVTEX range)
No (All other ships)
NAVTEX Receiver
(no change to current requirement – SSRR)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
Yes (All other ships)
  • if ≥ 150gt tow boat
  • if ≥ 300gt cargo ship
  • if ≥24m fishing, or
  • if passenger ship
EPIRB (float-free)
(SSRR)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
Yes (All other ships)
  • if ≥20 m (and beyond home trade IV voyage)
  • if tug >5gt and 50 miles long and >2 miles from shore
  • if ≥ 15gt and go beyond home-trade III voyage limits i.e., 20 miles from shore by April 1, 2001
  • if ≥ 8 m and go beyond home-trade III voyage limits on April 1, 2002
    (Note: EPIRB does not have to be float-free if less than 15gt)
-exempted are ships on home-trade voyages, class IV or minor waters voyages.
Radar Transponder(s) (SARTs)
(SSRR, Life Saving Equipment Regulations, Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations, and Small Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
2 are required, unless ship is certified to carry ≤ 12 passengers and is <500gt, then carry 1.
Yes (All other ships)
1 if 20m in length or over on > HTII voyages; but, can continue to carry 2 Class II EPIRBs instead until one of the batteries expire.
Survival Craft VHF Portable Radio
(Life Saving Equipment Regulations, Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
3 are required, unless ship is certified to carry ≤12 passengers and is <500gt, then carry 2 (new requirement for ships on home-trade voyages, class III).
Yes (All other ships)
3 are required if ship is certified to carry >12 passengers and is >5gt.
Reserve Source of Energy Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
Yes (All other ships)
if ship is ≥20m, is carrying more than 6 passengers, or is a tow-boat.

Table 4-10 - Sea Area A4

Sea Area A4
EquipmentSea Area A4
VHF Radio with DSC
(SSRR)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
-unless ship operates within a VTS Zone, then will have until January 31, 2003, or until the sea area A1 is completed, whichever is latest.
Yes (All other ships)
- by February 1, 2003, or after sea area A1 completed, whichever is latest
  • ships ≥8m in length and of closed construction,
  • ships carrying >6 passengers, and
  • tow boats
-exempted are ships on a home-trade voyage, class IV in a VTS Zone
-current VHF radiotelephone provisions remain in effect until then
Inmarsat Ship Earth Station with EGC, and MF Radio with DSC,
or

MF/HF Radio with DSC and NBDP (SSRR)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
MF/HF option only
No (All other ships)
NAVTEX Receiver
(no change to current requirement – SSRR)
No (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
No (All other ships)
EPIRB (float-free)
(SSRR)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
Yes (All other ships)
  • if ≥20 m (and beyond home trade IV voyage)
  • if tug >5gt and 50 miles long and >2 miles from shore
  • if ≥ 15gt and go beyond home-trade III voyage limits i.e., 20 miles from shore by April 1, 2001
  • if ≥ 8m and go beyond home-trade III voyage limits on April 1, 2002
    (Note: EPIRB does not have to be float-free if less than 15gt)
-exempted are ships on home-trade voyages, class IV or minor waters voyages.
Radar Transponder(s) (SARTs)
(SSRR, Life Saving Equipment Regulations, Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations, and Small Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
2 are required, unless ship is certified to carry ≤ 12 passengers and is <500gt, then carry 1.
Yes (All other ships)
1 if 20m in length or over on > HTII voyages; but, can continue to carry 2 Class II EPIRBs instead until one of the batteries expire.
Survival Craft VHF Portable Radio
(Life Saving Equipment Regulations, Large Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations)
Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
3 are required, unless ship is certified to carry ≤12 passengers and is <500gt, then carry 2 (new requirement for ships on home-trade voyages, class III).
Yes (All other ships)
3 are required if ship is certified to carry >12 passengers and is >5gt.
Reserve Source of Energy Yes (Ships ≥20m and certified to carry >12 passengers, or ships ≥300gt)
Yes (All other ships)
if ship is ≥20m, is carrying more than 6 passengers, or is a tow-boat.

Note

DSC: digital selective calling
EGC: enhanced group calling
NBDP: narrow band direct printing

Additional requirements: emergency procedures card, operating and routine maintenance manuals, consumable spare parts, radio publications, time piece, weather facsimile (Arctic), spare antennas (some ships ≥20m).

4.2.5 Guidance for Masters in Distress Situations and Alerting of SAR Authorities

In 1992, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) prepared a flow chart providing GMDSS operating guidance for masters of ships in distress situations (COM/Circ.108). It was recommended that this chart be displayed on the ship's bridge.

Later, another circular (MSC/Circ.892) was prepared to strongly emphasize the importance for ships to alert SAR authorities at the earliest possible moment in any situation that may involve a danger to life or that has the potential of developing into such a situation.

The following is for the mariner’s information and guidance:

  1. GMDSS Operating Guidance for Masters of Ships in Distress Situations and;
  2. Alerting the Search and Rescue Authorities

Figure 4-1 - GMDSS Operating Guidance for Masters of Ships in Distress Situations

GMDSS OPERATING GUIDANCE FOR MASTERS OF SHIPS IN DISTRESS SITUATIONS
 
Text description of Figure 4-1 GMDSS operating guidance for masters of ships in distress situations

This diagram provides GMDSS operating guidance for masters of ships in distress. It is used to guide Ships' Officers in need of assistance or in distress and emergency situations. The diagram is made up of rectangular- and diamond-shaped boxes in which are described situations and actions. In each situation, arrows guide the navigator toward the appropriate actions.

First situation: Is the vessel sinking or must it be abandoned?

If YES:

  • If time permits, send a distress call by HF/MF/VHF DSC or INMARSAT.
  • Board survival craft with VHF, SART and, if possible, EPIRB.
  • Activate the onboard EPIRB and SART immediately and leave them on.

If answer is NO: proceed to the next situation.

Second situation: Is immediate help required?

If YES:

  • Send distress call by HF/MF/VHF DSC or INMARSAT.

If a response is received:

  • Communicate on HF/MF/VHF or INMARSAT to JRCC and vessels.

If no response is received:

  • Manually activate the onboard EPIRB and SART.

If NO, immediate help is not required: we proceed to the next situation.

Third and last situation: Does a potential problem exist?

  • Notify JRCC by HF/MF/VHF DSC or INMARSAT.

When a response is received:

  • Communicate on HF/MF/VHF or INMARSAT to JRCC and vessels.

Radio Distress Communications

Radio Distress Communications Frequencies DSC, Radiotelephone and Radiotelex
FrequencyDigital Selective Calling (DSC)RadiotelephoneRadiotelex
VHF Channel 70 Channel 16 -
MF 2187.5 kHz 2182 kHz 2174.5 kHz
HF4  4207.5 kHz 4125 kHz 4177.5 kHz
HF6  6312 kHz 6215 kHz  6268 kHz 
HF8  8414.5  kHz 8291 kHz  8376.5 kHz 
HF12  12577  kHz 12290 kHz  12520 kHz 
HF16  16804.5  kHz 16420 kHz  16695 kHz 

4.2.5.1 Alerting the Search and Rescue Authorities (MSC/Circ.892)

  1. The need for the earliest possible alerting of the search and rescue (SAR) co-ordination authority to maritime emergencies cannot be over-emphasized
  2. It is essential to enable shore-based facilities to respond without delay to any situation which constitutes, or has the potential to constitute, a danger to life. Time lost in the initial stages of an incident may be crucial to its eventual outcome. It cannot be regained.
  3. Factors to be considered include position (in relation to hazards and to shore-based or other SAR units); time of day; weather conditions (actual and forecast); the number of persons at risk or potentially at risk; specific assistance required, etc.
  4. It is always best to consider the 'worst case scenario' and to alert the SAR organization accordingly. Depending on the circumstances, the co-ordinating authority may choose to alert or despatch SAR facilities as a precautionary measure and/or to reduce transit times. If assistance is not subsequently required, any such positive response can be easily curtailed. But time lost through delays in notification can never be regained.
  5. It is therefore essential that the SAR co-ordinating authority be informed immediately of:
    1. all maritime SAR incidents;
    2. any situation which may develop into a SAR incident; and
    3. any incident which may involve or lead to danger to life, the environment or to property which may require action from the SAR services and/or other authorities.

Operating guidance for masters of ships in distress or urgency situations [to be considered in conjunction with IMO publication 969 - GMDSS Operating Guidance for Masters of Ships in Distress Situations (COM/Circ.108 of 23 January 1992)]

  1. The following diagram shows standard procedures for distress/urgency message routing. It is for guidance only, and does not preclude the use of any and all available means of distress alerting.

Figure 4-2 - Operating Guidance for Masters of Ships in Distress or Urgency Situations

Operating guidance for masters of ships in distress or urgency situations
 
Text description of Figure 4-2 operating guidance for masters of ships in distress or urgency situations

Flow chart of operating guidance for masters of ships in distress or urgency situations

This diagram is used to guide masters of ships in distress or emergency situations. The diagram is made up of rectangular-shaped boxes in which are described situations and actions. Depending on the vessel's situation (abandonment, immediate assistance required or potential problem), the officer uses the arrows to navigate through the boxes that correspond to the appropriate actions.

First situation: Must vessel be abandoned?

If YES:

  • Send distress call
  • Board survival craft with VHF, EPIRB and/or SART, if possible
  • Activate EPIRB and SART immediately

If NO: we proceed to the next situation

Second situation: Is immediate help required?

If YES:

  • Send distress call

If a response is received:

  • Communicate with JRCC and Search and Rescue Units (SRUs)

If no response is received:

  • Activate EPIRB and SART immediately

If NO, immediate help is not required: we proceed to the next situation.

Third and final situation: A potential problem exists

  • Notify JRCC until a response is received

When a response is received:

  • Communicate with JRCC and SRUs.

Operation guidance for masters of ships observing another vessel apparently in danger

  1. The following diagram shows suggested procedures for reporting concerns about the safety of another vessel (fire, smoke, adrift, navigating towards a danger, etc.).

Figure 4-3 - Operation Guidance for Masters of Ships Observing Another Vessel Apparently in Danger

Operation guidance for masters of ships observing another vessel apparently in danger
 

Note

For local JRCC contact information refer to section SEARCH AND RESCUE IN CANADIAN AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY (Part 4 of this publication)

Text description of Figure 4-3 Operating guidance for masters of ships observing another vessel apparently in danger

Flow chart of operating guidance for masters of ships observing another vessel apparently in danger

This is a diagram used to guide masters of ships observing another vessel apparently in danger. The diagram is made up of rectangular-shaped boxes corresponding to actions. Depending on whether the answer to a situation is YES or NO, the officer uses the arrows to navigate through the boxes corresponding to the appropriate actions to take in order to assist, if necessary.

Try to communicate with the ship that seems in distress.

If a response is received:

Inform the other ship about your concern and try to obtain further information.

Are you satisfied?

If YES: After verifying that assistance is not required, proceed on passage.

Are you not satisfied?

Sometimes the master of a vessel in distress does not immediately contact the JRCC. In such case:

  • Try to obtain the maximum of information about the other vessel (name, C/S, type, position, course, speed and inform the JRCC.

If a response is not received:

  • Try to obtain the maximum of information about the other vessel (name, C/S, type, position, course, speed and inform the JRCC.
  • Try to keep track of the reported vessel (radar, visual and comm's) unless otherwise directed by JRCC.

4.2.5.2 False Distress Alerts and Distress Relay Alerts

The GMDSS has been in force for ships on international voyages since February 1, 1999, following its seven-year phase-in. During this time, considerable experience was gained internationally in the operation of the GMDSS. While the GMDSS has proven its overall effectiveness, the high number of accidental distress alert activations and the inappropriate and unintended Digital Selective Calling (DSC) distress relay alerts have detracted from the efficiency of the system. Excessive false alerts and distress relay alerts can create an unnecessary burden and workload for SAR services. They may also cause confusion and undermine mariner’s confidence in the GMDSS. They could potentially have a serious impact on real distress situations.

With the aim of minimizing the number of false alerts and distress alert relays, the following information is provided:

  1. “Instructions for Mariners and Others on How to Cancel a False Alert” (appendix to IMO Resolution A.814(19) entitled Guidelines for the Avoidance of False Distress Alerts).
  2. “Procedure for Responding to DSC Distress Alerts by Ships” (COMSAR/Cir.25).

4.2.5.3 Instructions for Mariners and Others5 on How to Cancel a False Distress Alert6

[Appendix to IMO Resolution A.814 (19)]

DSC
1 VHF
  1. switch off transmitter immediately7
  2. switch equipment on and set to Channel 16; and
  3. make broadcast to “All Stations” giving the ship’s name, call sign and MMSI number, and cancel the false distress alert.

Example

All Stations, All Stations, All Stations
This is NAME, CALL SIGN
MMSI NUMBER, POSITION

Cancel my distress alert of
DATE, TIME, UTC
= Master NAME, CALL SIGN,
MMSI NUMBER, DATE, TIME UTC

2 MF
  1. switch off equipment immediately8
  2. switch equipment on and tune for radiotelephony transmission on 2182 kHz; and
  3. make broadcast to “All Stations” giving the ship’s name, call sign and MMSI number, and cancel the false distress alert.

Example

All Stations, All Stations, All Stations
This is NAME, CALL SIGN
MMSI NUMBER, POSITION.

Cancel my distress alert of
DATE, TIME, UTC,
= Master NAME, CALL SIGN,
MMSI NUMBER DATE, TIME UTC.

3 HF

As for MF, but the alert must be cancelled on all the frequency bands on which it was transmitted. Hence, in stage 2.2 the transmitter should be tuned consecutively to the radiotelephony distress frequencies in the 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16 MHz bands, as necessary.

4 Inmarsat-C

Notify the appropriate JRCC to cancel the alert by sending a distress priority message via the same CES through which the false distress alert was sent.

NAME, CALL SIGN, IDENTITY NUMBER,
POSITION
Cancel my Inmarsat-C distress
alert of DATE, TIME UTC
= Master +

5 EPIRBs

If for any reason an EPIRB is activated accidentally, the ship should contact the nearest coast station or an appropriate coast earth station or JRCC and cancel the distress alert.

6 General
  1. 6.1 Notwithstanding the above, ships may use any means available to them to inform the appropriate authorities that a false distress alert has been transmitted and should be cancelled.
  2. 6.2 No action will normally be taken against any ship or mariner for reporting and cancelling a false distress alert. However, in view of the serious consequences of false alerts, and the strict ban on their transmission, Governments may prosecute in cases of repeated violations.

4.2.6 Procedure for Responding to DSC Distress Alerts by Ships9

(COMSAR/Circ.25)

1. Introduction

The Sub-Committee on Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue (COMSAR) decided that Digital Selective Calling (DSC) relays of distress alerts on all shipborne DSC equipment should be reduced and prepared a procedure for responding to VHF/MF and HF distress alerts, given in flow diagrams 1 and 2 which follow, recommending that it be displayed on the ship's bridge as A4 size posters. It also prepared the following guidance.

2. Distress relays

  1. Radio personnel serving on ships should be made aware of the consequences of transmitting a distress relay call and of routing a DSC distress relay alert to other than coast stations (CS).
  2. The number of unintended activations of DSC distress alerts and DSC distress relay alerts creates extra work load and confusion to (M) JRCCs and also causing delay in the response-time. The original distress alert from a ship in distress should not be disrupted by other ships, by transmitting a DSC distress relay alert.
  3. Recommendation ITU-R M.541-8 on Operational procedures for the use of DSC equipment in the Maritime Mobile Service identifies only two situations in which a ship would transmit a distress relay call (distress relay alert):
    • on receiving a distress alert on a HF channel, which is not acknowledged by a coast station within 5 minutes. The distress relay call should be addressed to the appropriate coast station (Annex 1, paragraph 3.4.2 and Annex 3, paragraph 6.1.4); and
    • on knowing that another ship in distress is not itself able to transmit the distress alert and the Master of the ship considers that further help is necessary. The distress relay call should be addressed to "all ships" or to the appropriate coast station (Annex 3, paragraph 1.4).
  4. In no case is a ship permitted to transmit a DSC distress relay call on receipt of a DSC distress alert on either VHF or MF channels.
  5. Distress relay calls on HF channels should be initiated manually.
  6. Compliance with operational and technical provisions above would prevent transmissions of inappropriate distress relay calls.

3. All coast stations call

  1. Recommendation ITU-R M.493-9 on DSC systems for use in the Maritime Mobile Service provides for "group calls" an address consisting of the characters corresponding to the station's Maritime Mobile Service identity (MMSI) and a number of administrations have already assigned a "group call" MMSI to their coast stations in addition to the coast station's individual MMSI.
  2. By multilateral agreements, a "group call" MMSI could be assigned to all coast stations of a specific region, e.g., an JRCC area and could comply with IMO's requirement without need of introducing further modifications to GMDSS equipment.
  3. An alternative method to implement an "all coast stations" call without the need to modify Recommendation ITU-R M.493-9 could be to define one MMSI world-wide as an address for all coast stations, in accordance with Nos. S19.100 to S19.126 of the ITU Radio Regulations. However, this solution would also require a modification of the setup at each coast station participating in the GMDSS.

4. Authorization

It should be noted that on ships, distress alerts, distress acknowledgements and distress relay calls can only be transmitted with permission of the Master of the ship.

5. Flow diagrams

  1. The simplified flow diagrams 1 and 2 describe actions to be taken aboard ships upon receipt of distress alerts from other ships. Administrations should give wide distribution of these flow diagrams to ships and training institutions.
  2. Member Governments are invited to bring the above guidance and the attached flow diagrams to the attention of their shipowners, seafarers, coast stations, JRCCs and all others concerned.

Figure 4-4 - Flow Diagram 1 (COMSAR/Cir.25)

FLOW DIAGRAM 1 (COMSAR/Cir.25) ACTIONS BY SHIPS UPON RECEPTION OF VHF/MF DSC DISTRESS ALERT
 
Text description of Figure 4-4 Flow diagram 1 COMSAR/Cir.25

Flow diagram for actions by ships upon reception of VHF/MF DSC Distress Alert

This diagram outlines the actions to be taken by ships upon reception of an HF-DSC Distress Alert. A series of nine blocks connected by arrows, in a rectagular shaped layout, outlines next steps.

(Block 1) advises ‘HF DSC Distress alert’. An arrow leads to the right to the next block (Block 2) which advises ‘Listen on associated RTF or NBDP Channel(s) for 5 minutes. An arrow on the right side of this block points to a diamond shaped block (Block 3) which asks ‘Is the alert acknowledged or relayed by Coast Station (CS) or Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC)?’ If the answer is ‘NO’ an arrow points to another diamond shaped block (Block 4) which asks ‘Is distress communication in progress on associated RTF channels?’ if the answer is ‘NO” an arrow points to a rectangular shaped block (Block 5) which advises ‘Transmit distress relay on HF to coast station and inform JRCC’. If the answer to the question in blocks 3 and 4 was ‘YES’ an arrow directs you to a diamond shaped block directly below (Block 6) which asks ‘Is own vessel able to assist?’ If the answer is ‘YES’ an arrow points to a block to the right (Block 7) which advises ‘Contact JRCC via most efficient medium to offer assistance.’ If the answer to the question in Block 6 ‘Is own vessel able to assist?’ is ‘NO’ an arrow points down then to the left then 90 degrees up to a small square (Block 8) which advises ‘Enter details in log’. An arrow from the top of this block points up to another small block (Block 9) which advises ‘Reset system’.

Remarks:

Note 1: If it is clear the ship or persons in distress are not in the vicinity and/or other crafts are better placed to assist, superfluous communications which could interfere with search and rescue activities are to be avoided. Details should be recorded in the appropriate logbook.

Note 2: The ship should establish communications with the station controlling the distress as directed and render such assistance as required and appropriate.

Note 3: Distress relay calls should be initiated manually.

Figure 4-5 - Flow Diagram 2 (COMSAR/Cir.25)

Flow Diagram 3 (COMSAR/Cir.25)
 
Text description of Figure 4-5 Flow diagram 2 (COMSAR/Cir.25)

This diagram outlines the actions to be taken by ships upon reception of an HF-DSC Distress Alert. A series of nine blocks connected by arrows, in a rectagular shaped layout, outlines next steps.

(Block 1) advises ‘HF DSC Distress alert’. An arrow leads to the right to the next block (Block 2) which advises ‘Listen on associated RTF or NBDP Channel(s) for 5 minutes. An arrow on the right side of this block points to a diamond shaped block (Block 3) which asks ‘Is the alert acknowledged or relayed by Coast Station (CS) or Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC)?’ If the answer is ‘NO’ an arrow points to another diamond shaped block (Block 4) which asks ‘Is distress communication in progress on associated RTF channels?’ if the answer is ‘NO” an arrow points to a rectangular shaped block (Block 5) which advises ‘Transmit distress relay on HF to coast station and inform JRCC’. If the answer to the question in blocks 3 and 4 was ‘YES’ an arrow directs you to a diamond shaped block directly below (Block 6) which asks ‘Is own vessel able to assist?’ If the answer is ‘YES’ an arrow points to a block to the right (Block 7) which advises ‘Contact JRCC via most efficient medium to offer assistance.’ If the answer to the question in Block 6 ‘Is own vessel able to assist?’ is ‘NO’ an arrow points down then to the left then 90 degrees up to a small square (Block 8) which advises ‘Enter details in log’. An arrow from the top of this block points up to another small block (Block 9) which advises ‘Reset system’.

Remarks:

Note 1: If it is clear the ship or persons in distress are not in the vicinity and/or other crafts are better placed to assist, superfluous communications which could interfere with search and rescue activities are to be avoided. Details should be recorded in the appropriate logbook.

Note 2: The ship should establish communications with the station controlling the distress as directed and render such assistance as required and appropriate.

Note 3: Distress relay calls should be initiated manually.

Figure 4-6 - Distress and Safety Radiotelephone Procedures

DISTRES AND SAFETY RADIOTELEPHONE PRECEDURES
 
Text description of Figure 4-6 Distress and safety radiotelephone procedures

DISTRESS PROCEDURES

For use only when in grave and imminent danger and IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE is required.

  1. Send DSC Alert
  2. Send distress call on VHF CH16
  3. Activate EPIRB

1. Send DSC Alert

Ensure radio is switched on. Press and hold the red “distress” button for 5 seconds.

2. Send distress call on VHF CH16

Switch to VHF CH16 and transmit distress call and message:

MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY

THIS IS (Vessel name 3 times)

MAYDAY followed by vessel name and MMSI number

POSITION

NATURE OF DISTRESS

AID REQUIRED

NUMBER OF PERSONS ON BOARD

If outside of VHF coverage, send the distress message on 2182 kHz or use other suitable means of communication.

3. Activate EPIRB

Activate EPIRB (or PLB) by following directions printed on beacon body.

Take EPIRB with you to the survival craft.

Ensure EPIRB is vertical, with antenna pointed upward.

Before Departing

  • Have you left a sail plan with a responsible person ashore?
  • Does your voyage plan take into consideration adverse weather, navigational hazards and fuel requirements?
  • Have you verified that your radio equipment is operational?
  • Have you charged and checked any batteries used to power radio equipment for emergency communications?
  • If equipped with VHF-DSC (Digital Selective Calling), do you have a valid MMSI* number and have you connected the radio to your GPS?
  • If equipped with an EPIRB, have you registered* your EPIRB with the Canadian beacon registry?
  • Do you have suitable visual distress signals onboard? (fl ares, signaling light, etc)

Early Alerting of SAR

Transport Canada strongly recommends you report, without delay, any situation that has the potential to constitute a danger to life. Time lost in the initial stages of a potential distress incident cannot be regained and may be crucial to the outcome. See example for
URGENCY (PAN PAN) message.

Distress, Urgency and Safety Signals

MAYDAY means a mobile unit or person is threatened by grave and imminent danger and requests immediate assistance.

MAYDAY RELAY means the calling station is relaying a distress message on behalf of a mobile unit or person is threatened by grave and imminent danger.

PAN PAN means the calling station has a very urgent message to transmit concerning the safety of a mobile unit or a person.

SÉCURITÉ ÉCURITÉ means the calling station has an important navigational or meteorological warning to transmit.

Canceling a False VHF-DSC Distress Alert

Transmit on VHF CH16: All stations, All stations, All stations, this is (vessel name) MMSI number, position, North, West, Cancel my distress alert of date and time. This is (vessel name) MMSI number , Out.

Phonetic Alphabet

A Alfa I India Q Quebec Y Yankee

B Bravo J Juliet R Romeo Z Zulu

C Charlie K Kilo S Sierra

D Delta L Lima T Tango

E Echo M Mike U Uniform

F Foxtrot N November V Victor

G Golf O Oscar W Whiskey

H Hotel P Papa X X-Ray

EXAMPLE OF DISTRESS PROCEDURE (MAYDAY)

Press distress alert button followed by distress message “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, This is NONSUCH, NONSUCH, NONSUCH. MAYDAY NONSUCH MMSI 316999999, position 49° 04.6’ North 123° 18.8’ West. Ship has taken on water and in danger of capsizing, I require immediate assistance, 4 persons on board, are taking to life raft, Over.”

EXAMPLE OF URGENCY PROCEDURE (PAN PAN)

“PAN PAN, PAN PAN, PAN PAN, St. John’s Coast Guard Radio, St. John’s Coast Guard Radio, St. John’s Coast Guard Radio, This is NONSUCH, NONSUCH, NONSUCH. 

MMSI 316999999, 5 miles East of Cape Bonavista, we have taken on water in lazarette and are presently trying to pump out excess water, Over”.

4.2.7 AMVER - Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System

Note

A 96-hour pre-arrival report to U.S. ports is required under 33 CFR 160.

The Amver System, operated by the United States Coast Guard, is a maritime mutual assistance program that provides important aid to the development and co-ordination of search and rescue (SAR) efforts in the oceans of the world. Merchant vessels of all nations making offshore passages of more than 24 hours are encouraged to send sail plans and periodic position reports to the Amver Centre in Martinsburg, WV. There is no charge for these radio messages when they are sent through MCTS Centres. Information from these messages is entered into a computer that generates and maintains dead reckoning positions for participating vessels throughout their voyages. The predicted locations and SAR characteristics of all vessels known to be within a given area are furnished upon request to recognized SAR agencies of any nation for use during an emergency. Predicted vessels’ locations are disclosed only for reasons related to maritime safety.

Amver is a free and voluntary program. An Amver participant is under no greater obligation to render assistance during an emergency than a vessel that is not participating. Benefits to shipping include:

  1. improved likelihood of rapid aid in emergencies;
  2. reduced number of calls for assistance to vessels not favourably located; and
  3. reduced time lost for vessels responding to calls for assistance. An Amver participant is under no greater obligation to render assistance during an emergency than a vessel that is not participating.

Details of Amver System operations may be obtained from Amver Maritime Relations Office, U.S. Coast Guard, Battery Park Building, 1 South Street, New York, NY 10004-1499 (Telephone: 212-668-7764, Fax 212-668-7684). Amver instructions are also available at Coast Guard Captain of the Port and Marine Safety Offices in major United States coastal ports. The instructions are published in the following languages: Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. Requests for instructions should state the language desired if other than English. Amver Website: http://www.amver.com.

Ship Station (Radio) Technical Regulations, 1999 now specify compulsory participation in Amver for certain ships when departing on an offshore voyage of more than 24 hours duration.

The provisions apply to all Canadian ships and to all non-Canadian ships engaged in the coasting trade of Canada. Of this group, the following are exempted:

  1. fishing vessels engaged in fishing;
  2. ships operated by the Canadian government on law enforcement duties;
  3. vessels whose voyages will be within the waters of an Arctic Shipping Safety Control Zone, Hudson Bay, James Bay or Ungava Bay; and
  4. vessels in other waters provided their voyages are within VHF or MF coverage areas.

It should be noted that the above exemptions do not amount to a prohibition; and that all other ships proceeding on an offshore voyage of more than 24 hours duration are encouraged to participate in Amver.

4.2.7.1 To Participate

Any merchant vessel of one thousand gross tons or more on a voyage of greater than twenty-four hours to anywhere on the globe is to be part of the Amver system. International participation is voluntary regardless of vessel’s or company’s flag, country of origin, or destination.

4.2.7.2 The Information Reported

Information voluntarily provided by vessels to Amver is kept strictly confidential and is protected by the Coast Guard (USA). It will be released only for safety purposes.

4.2.7.3 What and When You Report

  1. Sail plan message should be sent on or before departure.
  2. Position Reports should be sent within twenty-four hours of departure and subsequently no less frequently than every forty-eight hours until arrival.
  3. Arrival Reports should be sent immediately prior to or upon arrival at the Port of Destination.
  4. Reports are to be sent during the Radio Officer’s normal duty hours.
  5. At the discretion of the vessel, reports may be sent more frequently than the above schedule, as, for example, in heavy weather or under other adverse conditions.

4.2.7.4 Report Format

As previous Amver participants will note, the format described below represents a change which serves two purposes: First, the new format will permit the automated data processing system to enter your information into Amver more accurately and efficiently. Second, the new format conforms to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) proposed standard, thus reducing the number of different formats in use. As other systems also adopt the IMO format, we will have moved closer to a single format worldwide.

4.2.7.5 Amver System Communications Network

The following methods are recommended for ships to transmit Amver Sail Plan, Position, Deviation and Arrival reports. Details are available on the Amver Website at http://www.amver.com/ .
Via email: amvermsg@amver.com

AMVER/SEAS “Compressed Message” via Inmarsat-C via TELENOR: Amver address: NOAA telephone number entered in the ADDRESSBOOK. For information, please see the instruction sheet for your brand of Inmarsat-C transceiver. AMVER/SEAS software can be downloaded from the Internet at http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/goos/seas/amverseas_software.php

or requested from:

TELENOR Satellite Services
1101, Wootton Parkway
Rockville, Maryland 20852
1-301-838-7800

Email: customercare@telenor.com

HF Radiotelex Service of U.S. Coast Guard Communications Stations: Full information on how to send Amver messages this way can be found at:
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov

HF Radio at no cost via Coast Guard Contractual Agreements with the following companies:

  1. Mobile Marine Radio (WLO)
  2. Mobile (WCL)
  3. Marina Del Ray (KNN)
  4. Seattle (KLB)

Telex: Amver Address: (0) 230 127594 AMVERNYK

Telefax: To the USCG Operations Systems Centre in Martinsburg: 1-304-264-2505

If messages are relayed through CCG Ships no ship charge will be assessed. All Amver messages forwarded via the stations listed should be addressed to Amver Halifax or Amver Vancouver, rather than COAST GUARD New York, to ensure that no charge is applied in delivery.

4.2.7.6 Amver Voyage Report Types

There are four types of Amver Reports - Sail Plan, Arrival, Position, and Deviation Reports.

  1. Reporting format. Each line of Amver Report text starts with a line identifier. Line identifiers are “AMVER” or a single letter. The line identifier and the data items on the line are each separated from each other by a single slash (“/”). Lines are terminated by two slashes (“//”).
  2. Reporting data. Amver participants need to be familiar with four types of reports - Sail, Arrival, Position, and Deviation Reports. Note that Amver permits sail plan and departure to be combined into a single report. Amver accepts sail plan information separately - for example, several days prior to departure. Report identifiers are as follows:
    • AMVER/SP// Sail Plan and Departure
    • AMVER/PR// Position Report
    • AMVER/FR// Final Arrival Report.
    • AMVER/DR// Deviation Report.
  3. Details. Paragraph IX includes a discussion of each report type. Each example is followed by an explanation. Note that not all the lines in the example are necessary for each type of report. The required and optional lines are discussed in each section.

4.2.7.7 Other Required Information

Amver also needs other information, which might be useful in an emergency. This includes data such as the ship length, communications equipment, radio watch schedule, speed, rig, and so forth. This information is collected separately once, by completion of the Search and Rescue Questionnaire (SAR-Q) found on the Amver website at http://www.amver.com/ which is then retained in the automatic data processing system, periodically validated, and used only for search-and-rescue purposes.

4.2.7.8 Release of Information

All voluntary information collected under these instructions will be only released to recognized search-and-rescue authorities. Information regarding vessels required to participate in Amver will be forwarded to the U.S. Maritime Administration, via the keyword MAREP on the Y-Line.

4.2.7.9 Description of Voyage Reports

An example and explanation of each of the four types of Amver reports follows. Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes at the end of the section.

Sail Plan and Departure Report. The “L” lines contain routing and “turnpoint” information needed by Amver. Amver needs data about every intended turnpoint, but also accepts information about any points along the intended track, even though they might not be turnpoints. Turnpoint information is needed by Amver to maintain plot accuracy.

Table 4-11 - Sail Plan and Departure Report Example

EXAMPLE

AMVER/SP//
A/SANDY JOAN/ABCD//
B/110935Z//
E/145//
F/126//
G/NORVOROSK/4510N/03820E//
I/GIBRALTERGI/3600N/00600W/140730Z//
L/RL/140/4130N/02910E/112000Z//
L/RL/140/4010N/02620E/112300Z//
L/RL/140/3630N/02330E/120330Z//
L/RL/140/3650N/01520E/121500Z//
L/RL/140/3800N/01000E/130100Z//
L/LR/060//
M/GKA/GKM//
V/MD/NURSE//
X/NEXT/REPORT/120900Z//
Z/SITOR/INSTALLED/SELCALL/NUMBER/IS/99999//
Z//EOR

EXPLANATION
Required

AMVER/SP//
A /vessel name/International Radio Call Sign//
B /intended time of departure or departure time// (1)
G /port of departure/latitude/longitude// (2)
I /port of destination/latitude/longitude/estimated time of arrival// (1) (2) (3)
L/...... route information ...// (1) (3) (4)
Z // end of report.

Optional

E /current course// (5)
F /estimated average speed// (6)
M /current coastal radio station/next coastal radio station, if any//
V /onboard medical resources// (7)
X /up to 65 characters of amplifying comments// (8) (9)

 

Table 4-12 - Final Arrival Report Example

EXAMPLE

AMVER FR//
A/SANDY/JOAN/ABCD//
K/NEW YORK/US/4040N/07420W/180600Z//
X/PROBLEMS WITH MF XMTR AGENT/ADVISED//
Z//EOR

EXPLANATION
Required

AMVER/FR//
A /vessel name/International Radio Call Sign//
K /port name/latitude/longitude/time of arrival// (1) (3)
Z //end of report.

Optional

X /up to 65 characters of amplifying comments// (8) (9)

 

Table 4-13 - Position Report Example

EXAMPLE

AMVER/PR//
A/SANDY/JOAN/ABCD//
B/120300Z//
C/3630N/02330E//
E/145//
F/126//
M/GKM//
X/NEXTREPORT/131800Z//
Z//EOR

EXPLANATION
Required

AMVER/PR//
A /vessel name/International Radio Call Sign//
B /time at position// (1)
C /latitude/longitude// (3)
Z //end of report.

Optional

E /current course// (5)
F /average speed// (6)
M /current coastal radio station/ next coastal radio station, if any//
X /up to 65 characters of amplifying comments// (8) (9)

 

Table 4-14 - Deviation Report Used to Report Sail Plan and Other Changes Example

EXAMPLE

AMVER/DR//
A/SANDY/JOAN/ABCD//
B/120300Z//
E/095//
F/220//
G/NORVOROSK/4470N/03780E//
I/NEW YORK US/4040N/07420W/180800Z//
L/GC/220//
M/GKA/WSL/NMN//
V/MD/NURSE//
X/DIVERTING BEST SPEED TO NEW YORK US//
Z//EOR

EXPLANATION
Required

AMVER/DR//
A /vessel name/International Radio Call Sign//
Z //end of report.
One or more of the following optional items
B /intended time of departure// (1)
E /intended course// (5)
F /intended average speed// (6)
G /port of departure/latitude/longitude// (2)
I /port of destination/latitude/longitude/estimated time of arrival// (1) (2) (3)
L /……route information ....// (1) (3) (4)
M /current coastal radio station/next coastal radio station, if any//
V /onboard medical resources// (7)
X /up to 65 characters of amplifying comments// (8) (9)

 
Footnotes:
  1. All times must be expressed as a six-digit group giving date of month (first two digits), hours and minutes (last four digits). Only Coordinated Universal Time (i.e. Greenwich Mean Time) is to be used. The six-digit date-time-group is to be followed by either Z or GMT. The month is optional, and may be added, if appropriate. The first three digits of the English-language month are used. The following examples are acceptable:
    290900Z
    290900 Z
    290900Z DEC
  2. Port latitude longitude refers to the geographic position of the pilot station. Both port name and geographic position are required from U.S. flag vessels.
  3. Latitude is a four-digit group expressed in degrees and minutes, and suffixed with “N” for north or “S” for south. Longitude is a five-digit group expressed in degrees and minutes, and suffixed with “E” for east or “W” for west.
    For example:
    C/4000N/03500W//
  4. The “L” lines contain most of the sail plan information. As many “L” lines as needed may be used. The “L” lines contain routing data to each of the intermediate points, and to the destination. Data about all turnpoints are required, unless the voyage will follow a great circle with no delays at intermediate points. In addition to turnpoint information, data about other points along each leg are useful. Following, is the information desired for each intermediate point: navigation, method, leg speed, latitude, longitude, port or landmark name ETA estimated time of departure.

    For example:
    L/RL/125/0258N/07710W/ABACO/111200Z//
    L/RL/125/0251N/07910W/NWPROVCHAN/112145Z//
    L/RL/125/0248N/08020W/120255Z//
    L/RL/125//

    NAVIGATION METHOD IS REQUIRED. It is either “GC” for great circle, or “RL” for rhumb line.
    LEG SPEED is useful, but is not required. See footnote (6).
    LATITUDE LONGITUDE IS REQUIRED. See footnote (3).
    PORT OR LANDMARK NAME is useful, but is not required.
    ETA IS REQUIRED. See footnote (1).
    ESTIMATED TIME OF DEPARTURE IS REQUIRED, if the ship will lay over at the intermediate point.
    A final NAVIGATION METHOD is required to route the ship to its destination. A final LEG SPEED is useful, but not required.
  5. True course is a three-digit group.
  6. Speed is a three-digit group in knots and tenths of knots. For example, 20.5 knots would be written as 205, without a period or decimal point.
  7. If the optional “V” line is used, one or more of the following is required:
    /MD/ for physician
    /PA/ for physician’s assistant
    /NURSE/
    /NONE/
    For example: V/DOCTOR/NURSE//
  8. Any information provided in the Remarks line will be stored in the Amver’s automatic data processing system for later review. However, no immediate action will be taken, nor will the information be routinely passed to other organizations. The remarks line cannot be used as a substitute for sending information to other search-and-rescue authorities or organizations. However, Amver will, at the request of other SAR authorities, forward remarks line information to the requesting agencies.
  9. Next report information is not currently used by the Amver System, but is expected to aid in future development.

4.2.8 Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS)

Since May 2000, Full Operational Service (FOS) of the Canadian Coast Guard DGPS service has been available from 19 DGPS stations located on the East and West coasts of Canada and parts of the Great Lakes. DGPS corrections are broadcast from medium frequency (MF) radiobeacon transmitters located to cover selected marine areas and waterways. The broadcasts are in accordance with international standards for radiobeacon DGPS services. DGPS provides continuous precise positioning of better than 10 metres for 95% or better of the time (provided that suitable DGPS receiver equipment is utilized, properly installed and maintained).

Additional information on the use of the DGPS service will be announced through Notices to Mariners. General information is also available from the CCG Website: http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/CCG-DGPS/Marine-Differential-Global-Positioning-System

The corrections from the DGPS service are calculated at the reference station in the NAD 83 coordinates. To process the information properly, DGPS receivers should be adjusted to the WGS 84 setting. Although WGS 84 and NAD 83 are essentially the same (only a few centimetres difference), it is highly recommended that all DGPS receivers be set to WGS 84 to take full advantage of the precision of DGPS. When utilizing charts other than NAD 83, DGPS latitude and longitude positions must be adjusted to the appropriate datum using the information contained in the charts.

The table that follows provides information on existing DGPS broadcasts. A list of United States Coast Guard (USCG) DGPS transmitters providing coverage in Canadian waters may be obtained directly from the USCG. http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/

Figure 4-7, Figure 4-8, Figure 4-9 and Figure 4-10 show the nominal coverage from existing broadcast stations. Users should be aware that coverage is subject to short and long term variations due to environmental and seasonal conditions.

4.2.8.1 Canadian Coast Guard DGPS Broadcasts

Table 4-15 - St. Lawrence River, Atlantic Coast, Great Lakes and Pacific Coast

St. Lawrence River, Atlantic Coast, Great Lakes and Pacific Coast
Station NameLocation
NAD 83
Frequency and Transmission RateIALA Reference Station IDIALA Radio Beacon ID
St-Lawrence River and Atlantic Coast
St.-Jean sur Richelieu, Que. 45º19.28’N
073º18.62’W
296 kHz 200bps 312, 313 929
Lauzon, Que. 46º48.74’N
071º09.56’W
309 kHz 200bps 316, 317 927
Rivière du Loup, Que. 47º45.62’N
069º36.34’W
300 kHz 200bps 318, 319 926
Moisie, Que. 50º11.71’N
066º06.64’W
313 kHz 200bps 320, 321 925
Point Escuminac, N.B. 47º04.40’N
064º47.90’W
319 kHz 200bps 332, 333 936
Partridge Island, N.B. 45º14.39’N
066º03.22’W
295 kHz 200bps 326, 327 939
Western Head, N.S. 43º59.40’N
064º39.72’W
312 kHz 200bps 334, 335 935
Hartlen Point, N.S. 44º35.54’N
063º27.12’W
298 kHz 200bps 330, 331 937
Fox Island, N.S. 45º19.77’N
061º04.76’W
307 kHz 200bps 336, 337 934
Cape Race, N.L. 46º45.70’N
053º10.82’W
315 kHz 200bps 338, 339 940
Cape Ray, N.L. 47º38.07’N
059º14.23’W
288 kHz 200bps 340, 341 942
Rigolet, N.L. 54º10.68’N
058º26.64’W
299 kHz 200bps 344, 345 946
Cape Norman, N.L. 51º29.93’N
055º49.49’W
310 kHz 200bps 342, 343 944
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River
Cardinal, Ont. 44º47.28’N
075º25.28’W
306 kHz 200bps 308, 309 919
Wiarton, Ont. 44º44.84’N
081º06.69’W
286 kHz 200bps 310, 311 918
Pacific Coast
Alert Bay, BC 50º35.19’N
126º55.49’W
309 kHz 200 bps 300, 301 909
Amphitrite Point, BC 48º55.46’N
125º32.53’W
315 kHz 200 bps 302, 303 908
Richmond, BC 49º05.74’N
123º10.61’W
320 kHz 200 bps 304, 305 907
Sandspit, BC 53º14.12’N
131º48.54’W
300 kHz 200 bps 306, 307 906

Figure 4-7 - DGPS Coverage - East Coast

DGPS coverage for the East Coast
 
Text description of Figure 4-7 - DGPS Coverage East Coast

This map displays eastern Canada showing the locations of the differential global positioning system (DGPS) sites on the east coast which are fully operational. Areas of water are shown in varying shades of blue and land masses are green. In Newfoundland and Labrador there are DGPS sites located at Rigolet in Labrador (299kHz), Cape Norman (310kHz) on the western tip of the northern peninsula, Cape Race (315kHz) on the southeastern tip of the Avalon peninsula and at Cape Ray (288kHz) on the southwest coast. In Nova Scotia, DGPS sites are located at Fox Island (307kHz) on the northeast coast, Hartlen Point (298kHz) on the east coast and at Western Head (312kHz) on the south shore. In New Brunswick there are DGPS sites located at Partridge Island (295kHz) on the Bay of Fundy and at Point Escuminac (319kHz) in Miramichi Bay. There is also a site in eastern Quebec at Moisie (313kHz). There is DGPS coverage on the entire coast with overlap in most areas from adjacent sites. Coverage is depicted on this map by varying shapes drawn around the actual DGPS sites. The coverage area is indicated by different colour (either black, white, or alternating black and white) lines. Coverage may be affected by various factors such as time of the day, season or land layout. Coverage shown is approximate due to the varying conditions and the Coast Guard can not be responsible for any inaccuracies.

Figure 4-8 - DGPS Coverage - St. Lawrence Seaway

DGPS coverage for the St. Lawrence Seaway
 
Text description of Figure 4-8 - DGPS Coverage - St. Lawrence Seaway

This map displays the DGPS coverage in the St. Lawrence Seaway on a satellite map. DGPS stations are indicated by small black dots with the site name, province and transmission frequency. Around each station, a solid black line illustrates the scope and extent of coverage. Each station has its own scope and coverage, which lends each diagram a different shape. Some zones are covered by more than one station. The map illustrates the extent of coverage from the following DGPS stations: Cape Ray, NL, 288 KHZ; Point Escuminac, NB, 319 KHZ; Moisie, QC, 313 KHZ; Rivière-du-Loup, QC, 300 KHZ; Lauzon, QC, 309 KHZ; Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC, 296 KHZ; and Cardinal, QC, 306 KHZ. The title "DGPS coverage - St. Lawrence Seaway" is indicated in a box at the top of the chart. A legend in the lower left indicates that the black dots represent existing DGPS stations. The date the chart was created "November 25, 2005" is indicated in the lower right. A warning appears in the upper left that states: "All possible efforts have been made to verify the data using actual measurements. However, coverage may be affected by time of day, season or land layout. Therefore the coverage shown is approximate and the Canadian Coast Guard cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies.

Figure 4-9 - DGPS Coverage - Central Region

DGPS coverage for the Central Region
 
Text description of Figure 4-9 DGPS Coverage - Central Region

This map shows the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) available to mariners in limited areas on the Great Lakes. The Canadian Coast Guard provides a system of MF radiobeacon transmitters which broadcast corrections to GPS information in order to allow for more precise positioning in areas covered by the DGPS sites, represented by large dots. This map shows a site located at Wiarton on Georgian Bay, which provides coverage for Georgian Bay, most of Lake Huron and also most of Lake Simcoe on the Trent Severn System. Also shown are the DGPS sites at Cardinal Ontario and St-Jean-sur-Richelieu Québec, which combined provide coverage to the extreme east end of Lake Ontario and on the St. Lawrence River. For all sites, areas of coverage are shown as enclosed shapes with the actual site at the approximate centre of the shape. An important note is shown on the map, and it reads ‘All possible efforts have been made to verify the data using actual measurements. However, coverage may be affected by time of the day, season or land layout. Therefore the coverage shown is approximate and the Canadian Coast Guard cannot be responsible for any inaccuracies’.

Figure 4-10 - DGPS coverage - Pacific Region

DGPS Coverage - Pacific Region as described in the previous table titled Canadian coast Guard DGPS Broadcasts – Pacific Coast
 
Text description of Figure 4-10 DGPS Coverage - Pacific Region

This map portrays the minimal coverage from existing broadcast stations as described in Table 4-15 entitled Canadian Coast Guard DGPS Broadcasts – Pacific Coast.

4.2.9 Pre-Arrival Information Report (PAIR)

Note

Pursuant to the Marine Transportation Security Regulations (MTSR), the Security Measures Respecting Designated Tall Ship Events and the Security Measures Respecting Tall Ships and Marine Facilities that Interface with Tall Ships; vessels entering Canadian waters are required to submit pre-arrival information to Transport Canada. However please note that the following pre-arrival information requirement does not apply to fishing vessels, pleasure craft, government vessels, nor to vessels operating solely on the Great Lakes or to the portions of a vessel’s voyage on the Great Lakes after pre-arrival information has been given prior to its entrance into the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Requirement:

The master of the following vessels (including tall ships), engaged on an international voyage:

  1. SOLAS vessels of 500 tons gross tonnage or more;
  2. SOLAS and NON-SOLAS vessels carrying 12 passengers or more;
  3. NON-SOLAS vessels that are more than 100 tons, gross tonnage; and
  4. NON-SOLAS vessels that are a towing vessel engaged in towing a barge astern or alongside or pushing ahead, if the barge is carrying certain dangerous cargoes,

cannot enter Canadian waters until they submit their pre-arrival information to Transport Canada:

  1. at least 96 hours prior to entering Canadian Waters
  2. if the duration of the segment of the voyage before entering Canadian waters is less than 96 hours but more than 24 hours, at least 24 hours before entering Canadian waters; or
  3. if the duration of the segment of the voyage before entering Canadian waters is less than 24 hours, as soon as practicable before entering Canadian waters but no later than the time of departure from the last port of call.

The preferred method of receiving Pre-Arrival Information is via the 96-Hour PAIR PDF form. Forms can be obtained by emailing:

TC.PAIR-NPA.TC@tc.gc.ca – to receive an English PAIR Form
TC.NPA-PAIR.TC@tc.gc.ca – to receive a French PAIR Form

Once an email is sent, an attached .PDF form will automatically be forwarded to the requestor. Forms can be saved and emailed to Transport Canada according to one of the following:

Vessels entering WESTERN CANADA
Transport Canada Marine Security Operations Centre West
MARSECW@tc.gc.ca
1-250-363-4850

Vessels entering EASTERN CANADA, the ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY or the CANADIAN ARCTIC
Transport Canada Marine Security Operations Centre East
MARSECW@tc.gc.ca
1-902-427-8003

It is the responsibility of the Master of the vessel to ensure that all information provided to the Government of Canada (Transport Canada) in the PAIR is complete and accurate. Masters of vessels subject to the Marine Transportation Security Regulations (as described above) failing to submit, or submitting incomplete or inaccurate pre-arrival information, risk subjecting their vessel to control actions such as, but not limited to: inspection, detention, redirection or expulsion from Canadian waters.

All reasonable measures shall be taken whenever a change occurs in the information previously provided in any pre-arrival information made pursuant to the Marine Transportation Security Regulations, to the Security Measures Respecting Designated Tall Ship Events and to the Security Measures Respecting Tall Ships and Marine Facilities that Interface with Tall Ships, to Transport Canada. It should be noted that:

  1. that the vessel does not enter Canadian waters unless the changed has been reported; and
  2. in the case of a change that has occurred after the vessel has entered Canadian waters, that the change is reported before the vessel’s first interface with a marine facility in Canada.

If, for any reason, vessels are unable to send the PAIR via the above preferred methods, the following contingencies should be considered:

  1. if unable to get a digital .PDF form, see the section below for the required information
  2. if the email system is unserviceable, the ship may send the required information (see section below) via any Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) centre. Contact information for MCTS Centres may be found in Part 2 of this publication.

The vessel’s pre-arrival information shall include the following:

  1. its name;
  2. its country of registry;
  3. the name of its registered owner;
  4. the name of its operator;
  5. the name of its classification society (not applicable to tall ships);
  6. its international radio call sign;
  7. its International Ship Security Certificate, Canadian Vessel Security Certificate or ship security compliance document number;
  8. its International Maritime Organization number, if it is a SOLAS ship;
    • the IMO Unique Company Identification Number of its company and the IMO Unique Registered Owner Identification Number of its owner
  9. the date of issuance, date of expiry and name of the issuing body of its International Ship Security Certificate, Canadian Vessel Security Certificate, or ship security document;
  10. confirmation that the vessel has an approved vessel security plan;
  11. the current MARSEC level;
  12. a statement of when its last 10 declarations of security were completed;
  13. details of any security breaches, security incidents or security threats involving the vessel during the last ten calls at marine facilities and during the time spent at sea between those calls;
  14. details of any deficiencies in its security equipment and systems, including the communication systems, and the way in which the master of the vessel intends to correct them;
  15. if applicable, the name of its agent and contact person and their 24-hour telephone and facsimile numbers (not applicable to tall ships);
  16. if applicable, the name of the vessel's charterer;
  17. its position and the date and time at which it reached that position;
  18. its course and speed;
  19. its first port of call in Canada, with the estimated time of arrival at that port of call, and, if applicable, its final destination with the estimated time of arrival at that destination;
  20. the name of a contact person at the marine facility that it will visit and their 24-hour telephone and facsimile numbers;
  21. the following information in respect of its last ten marine facilities visited:
    • the receiving facility;
    • the marine facility visited;
    • the city and country;
    • the date and time of arrival, and
    • the date and time of departure;
  22. a general description of the cargo, including cargo amount (not applicable to tall ships);
  23. if applicable, the presence and description of any dangerous substances or devices on board; and
  24. the following contact information:
    • the name of the master
    • an email address, if applicable, and
    • a satellite or cellular telephone number, if applicable.

For any additional questions or queries regarding pre-arrival information, please contact the appropriate Marine Security Operations Centre (East or West) via email or telephone as provided earlier in this section.

Footnotes 4

Reference: SOR/2010-227

4

Footnotes 5

Appropriate signals should precede these messages in accordance with the ITU Radio Regulations Chapter N1X. This applies when the false alert is detected during transmission.

5

Footnotes 6

Appendix to IMO Resolution A.814 (19)

6

Footnotes 7

This applies when the false alert is detected during transmission.

7

Footnotes 8

This applies when the false alert is detected during transmission.

8

Footnotes 9

COMSAR/Circ.25

9

 

4.3 Services

4.3.1 Notices to Shipping

Notices to Shipping (NOTSHIPs) issued based on unique regional areas and are assigned an alphanumeric designator. The alphanumeric designator consists of an alpha character which identifies the Canadian Coast Guard NOTSHIPs issuing authority. The alpha character is followed by a number commencing with the number “1” for the first NOTSHIP issued each year and subsequently increasing with each new notice until years end. Alpha designators utilized in Canadian NOTSHIPs are as follows:

A – Arctic
C – Central
H – Athabasca-Mackenzie Watershed
M – Maritimes
N – Newfoundland
P – Western
Q – Quebec

4.3.1.1 Broadcast NOTSHIPs

Broadcast times and radio frequencies for NOTSHIP broadcasts by CCG MCTS Centres are listed in Part 2.

4.3.1.2 Written NOTSHIPs

A Written NOTSHIP contains information which is anticipated to remain in effect for an extended period of time. These notices have previously been broadcast in full for an initial period of 48 hours and then placed, for an additional period of 5 days, on the Active NOTSHIP List which lists the NOTSHIP number and provides a brief description. Written NOTSHIPs bear the same number as the corresponding broadcast NOTSHIP.

Written NOTSHIPs are available as listed below:

Table 4-16 - Distribution of Written Notices to Shipping

Distribution of Written Notices to Shipping
DesignatorNOTSHIP AuthorityEmailInternet
A and H C&A Region, Arctic Sector X http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/Notship
C C&A Region, Great Lakes Sector X
Q C&A Region, St-Lawrence Sector X http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/Notship
M Maritimes Region   http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/Notship
N Newfoundland and Labrador Region   http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/Notship
P Western Region   http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/Marine-Communications/Home

Masters are reminded of the regulatory requirement to report any danger, potential danger or hazard to navigation which they may encounter. Reports should be forwarded to the appropriate MCTS Centre as soon as possible to ensure the widest distribution to mariners through broadcast NOTSHIPs.

4.3.1.3 Information Updates

Notices to Mariners contain information which serves to correct charts and related publications. Up-to-date information is available to vessels inbound for Canadian waters on any changes which have occurred between the date of issue of the most recent monthly edition of Canadian Notices to Mariners held on board. Vessels wishing to avail themselves of this service should send their request directly to ECAREG Canada, NORDREG Canada or vts.rupert@innav.gc.ca. Requests may also be routed via any MCTS Centre as listed in Part 2 of this document.

When making this request the following information shall be included:

  1. ship's name and call sign;
  2. present position, destination and intended route;
  3. most recent monthly edition of Canadian Notices to Mariners held on board; and
  4. list of recent Notices to Shipping held on board.

Ice information, ice routing and icebreaker assistance may be obtained through the Eastern Canada Traffic System (ECAREG CANADA) or the Northern Canada Vessel Traffic Services (NORDREG CANADA). Refer to Notice Number 6 of the Annual Edition, Notices to Mariners or the publication "Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters" for additional information.

4.3.2 NAVTEX Services in Canada

Under GMDSS, the NAVTEX is part of the mandatory equipment carriage requirement for SOLAS vessels. Canada provides the International NAVTEX Service in English on 518 kHz from eight strategically located MCTS Centres. Additionally, Canada provides the National NAVTEX Service in French on 490 kHz from four bilingual MCTS Centres.

Table 4-17 - Transmitting sites where NAVTEX Service is available

Transmitting sites where NAVTEX Service is available
Controlled bySitePositionRange (NM)ID
518 kHz (English)
ID
490 kHz
(French)
Placentia MCTS Robin Hood Bay 47º36.65’N 052º40.18’W 300 O  
Labrador MCTS Cartwright 53º42.52’N 057º01.35’W 300 X  
Sydney MCTS Port Caledonia 46º11.15’N 059º53.77’W 300 Q J
Halifax MCTS Chebogue 43º44.65’N 066º07.32’W 300 U V
Les Escoumins MCTS Moisie 50º11.75’N 066º06.74’W 300 C D
Sarnia MCTS Pass Lake 48º33.80’N 088º39.37’W 300 P  
Prescott MCTS Ferndale 44º56.22’N 081º14.00’W 300 H  
Iqaluit MCTS Iqaluit 63º43.82’N 068º32.70’W 300 T S
Prince Rupert MCTS Amphitrite Point 48º55.28’N 125º32.38’W 300 H  
Prince Rupert MCTS Digby Island 54º18.05’N 130º24.17’W 300 D  

The above noted NAVTEX services are provided on a time-shared basis for the broadcast of the following subject indicator content:

(A) Navigational Warnings
(B) Meteorological Warnings
(C) Ice Reports
(D) Search and Rescue Information/Tsunami
(E) Meteorological Forecasts
(G) AIS Service Messages
(J) GPS Messages

Broadcast time and content is shown in individual MCTS Centre listings.

Figure 4-11 - NAVTEX Coverage - 300 NM - Atlantic and Central & Arctic Regions

While the indicated coverage footprint of NAVTEX transmitters located at Pass Lake and Ferndale intersect over Lake Michigan, information specifically pertaining to Lake Michigan waters is not included on Navtex broadcasts.

NAVTEX Coverage - 300 NM - Atlantic and Central & Arctic Regions
 
Text Description of Figure 4-11 NAVTEX Coverage - 300 NM - Atlantic and Central & Arctic Regions

This map of eastern Canada shows the coverage area of the Canadian Navtex Service. The east coast of Canada has eight sites which transmit information using the NAVTEX service. Each site has a letter assigned as their NAVTEX identifier. This letter is included in brackets after the geographic name. The sites are indicated by a white circle. A large dark circle is shown around each centre to a scale representing 300 nautical miles. Where the dark circles overlap, the area is shown in a lighter colour with grid lines. These are areas of over-lapping NAVTEX coverage. In southern Nova Scotia at Yarmouth, a Navtex site is remotely controlled from MCTS Saint John, NB. The NAVTEX identifier for Yarmouth is the letter U. This site overlaps with the site to the northeast operated by MCTS Sydney. The NAVTEX identifier for Sydney is the letter Q. The site at Sydney overlaps with a site on the east coast of Newfoundland at St. John’s. The NAVTEX identifier for St. John’s is the letter O. The site at Sydney also overlaps coverage area with a site located at Sept-Iles, QC to the northwest. The NAVTEX identifier for Sept-Iles is the letter C. To the northwest of St. John’s is another site located at Labrador, controlled by Labrador MCTS. The NAVTEX identifier for Labrador is the letter X. Some coastal areas of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have NAVTEX coverage from the three sites at Yarmouth, Sydney and Sept-Iles. A portion of the west coast of Newfoundland also has triple coverage from the transmitter sites at St. John’s, Sept-Iles and Labrador.

Figure 4-12 NAVTEX Coverage Western Region

 
Text description of Figure 4-12 NAVTEX Coverage Western Region

This black and white map portrays the NAVTEX coverage including overlap that is described in the text located in the previous section titled NAVTEX Services in Canada.

Figure 4-13 - Canadian A3/A4 GMDSS Sea Areas Theoretical Coverage

Sea area A3 is that sea area of the world not being part of any sea area A1 or A2 within which the elevation angle of an Inmarsat satellite is 5 degrees or more.

Canadian A3/A4 GMDSS Sea Areas - Theoretical Coverage - details described below
 
Text description of Figure 4-13 Canadian A3/A4 GMDSS Sea Areas Theoretical Coverage

This map shows the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System – or GMDSS – Sea Areas A3 and A4 as they are considered in Canada. By definition, GMDSS Sea Area A3 is an area within the coverage of an INMARSAT geostationary satellite, between approximate latitudes of 70ºN and 70ºS and not within range of either a shore-based VHF/DSC (digital selective calling) coast station (Sea Area A1) or a shore-based MF/DSC coast station (Sea Area A2). By definition, GMDSS Sea Area A4 includes all the areas outside of sea areas A1, A2 and A3, and this results in Sea Area A4 being the polar regions.

Figure 4-14 - Radio Coverage Prediction - Atlantic Ocean

VHR DSC System Radio Coverage Prediction - Atlantic Ocean (chart)
 
Text description of Figure 4-14 Radio Coverage Prediction Atlantic Ocean

This map illustrates eastern Canada which has been identified as Sea Area A1. Sea Area 1 is an area within the radiotelephone coverage of at least one very high frequency (VHF) coast station in which Digital Selective Calling (DSC) alerting is available. This map shows the radio coverage prediction of the VHF DSC system. It encompasses those waters within 40 nautical miles of the East Coast of Canada, as far north as Nain (Labrador – 57N), and as far west on the St. Lawrence River as a straight line from Cap-des-Rosiers through Pointe de l’Ouest, Anticosti Island extending along the north shore, the south shore and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, including those bays, coves and inlets that have unobstructed signal paths from VHF radio facilities, with the exception of the following areas of Newfoundland and Labrador: Rigolet, the eastern end of Lake Melville (54N to 55N), Black Tickle (52 30N to 53 30N) and White Bay (50N to 50 30N).

The map shows every communication site equipped with VHF DSC for the following MCTS centres Saint John, Halifax, Sydney, Port aux Basques, Placentia, St. John’s, St. Anthony, and Rivière-au-Renard. Each communication site is identified by a coloured dot corresponding to the controlling MCTS centre. Saint John MCTS sites are represented by pink dots. Halifax MCTS sites are represented by orange dots. Sydney MCTS sites are represented by yellow dots. Port-aux-Basques MCTS sites are represented by white dots. Placentia MCTS sites are represented by purple dots. St. John’s MCTS sites are represented by black circles. St. Anthony MCTS sites are represented by yellow dots circled in black and Rivière-au-Renard MCTS sites are represented by green dots circled in black. Areas of reception probability are indicated by three colours. Light green indicates reception probability of 50 to 90 percent. A darker green indicates reception probability of above 90 percent. Reception probability is at 90% or above for an area of up to approximately 35 nautical miles from each site indicated. For up to another 15 nautical miles from there reception probability is indicated at between 50 to 90%. There are areas of overlap indicated around Port-aux-Basques on the southwest coast of Newfoundland and an area to the east of les Iles-de-la- Madeleine and covering les Iles-de-la-Madeleine. There is also an area of overlap off of Miscou, NB and another between Pointe Riche, NL and Harrington Harbour, QC. There is a small area of no DSC coverage midway between Anticosti Island and les Iles-de-la-Madeleine.

Figure 4-15 - Radio Coverage Prediction – St. Lawrence

VHR DSC System Radio Coverage Prediction - St. Lawrence River (chart)
 
Text description of Figure 4-15 Radio Coverage Prediction - St. Lawrence

This map displays the radio coverage prediction of the VHF DSC System on a map that extends from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, including the coasts of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, to Lake Ontario. It represents the A1 area under the responsibility of the Atlantic regions as defined in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. Two shades of green are used to represent the VHF DSC coverage. Light green represents 50-90% reception probability of the VHF DSC signal, whereas dark green represents a 90+% reception probability of the VHF DSC signal, as specified in the legend in the white rectangle on the left-hand side of the map. The Les Escoumins (in black), Québec (in green), Longueuil (in yellow) and Prescott (in red) MCTS Centres and remotely controlled VHF DSC-equipped sites are indicated on the map in colours that correspond to their respective centres. The Les Escoumins MCTS Centre is the centre for the Mont-Louis, Grosses-Roches, Sainte-Flavie, Sacré-Cœur and Cap de l’Est sites; the Québec MCTS Centre is the centre for the Rivières-du-Loup, Montmagny, Lauzon, Bélair and Sainte-Marthe sites; the Longueuil MCTS Centre is the centre for the Saint-Bruno, l’Acadie and Rigaud sites, and the Prescott MCTS Centre is the centre for the Cornwall, Cardinal, Kingston and Cobourg sites, which are indicated. The title of the map in English and French, as well as the Canadian Coast Guard logo are found in the white rectangle in the upper left-hand corner. The scale is also indicated. The next chart is adjacent to this one and represents the Great Lakes.

Figure 4-16 - Radio Coverage Prediction - Great Lakes

VHR DSC System Radio Coverage Prediction - Great Lakes (chart) - 2
 
Text description of Figure 4-16 Radio Coverage Prediction Great Lakes

This map is an extension of the previous map. It illustrates the radio coverage prediction of the VHF DSC System on a map that covers the Great Lakes. It represents the A1 area, as defined in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. Two shades of green are used to represent the VHF DSC coverage. Light green represents 50-90% reception probability of the VHF DSC signal, whereas dark green represents over a 90% reception probability of the VHF DSC signal, as specified in the legend in the white rectangle in the lower left-hand corner of the map. The Prescott (in red) and Sarnia (in blue) MCTS Centres and remotely controlled VHF DSC-equipped sites are indicated on the map in colours corresponding to their respective centres. The Prescott MCTS Centre is the centre for the Cornwall, Cardinal, Kingston, Cobourg, Trafalgar, Fonthill and Orillia sites; the Sarnia MCTS Centre is the centre for the Sarnia, Kincardine, Leamington, Port Burwell, Grande Pointe, Rondeau, Thunder Bay, Horn, Bald Head, Sault Ste. Marie, Silver Water, Wiarton, Meaford, Tobermory, Killarney, and Pointe au Baril sites. The titles of the map in English and French, as well as the Canadian Coast Guard logo, are found in the white rectangle in the upper righthand corner. It also indicates the scale of the map. A compass card indicates North on the map. Canada and the Unites States are indicated in their respective territories.

Figure 4-17 - VHF DSC System Radio Coverage Prediction - Pacific Ocean

VHF DSC System Radio Coverage Prediction - details described below
 
Test description of Figure 4-17 VHF DSC System Radio Coverage Prediction Pacific Ocean

This map of eastern Canada shows the coverage area of the Canadian Navtex Service and includes a table providing details in tabular format, such as: the Controlling Station name, Location of NAVTEX transmitter, Latitude and Longitude of the NAVTEX transmitter, Range of Transmission, and Identification assigned to the Transmitter. The east coast of Canada has eight sites which transmit information using the NAVTEX service. Each NAVTEX site has a letter assigned as their NAVTEX identifier, one identification for the English language broadcasts on 518 kHz and one for French language broadcasts on 490 kHz, if provided. This letter is included in brackets after the geographic name. The sites are indicated by a “star” symbol. A large circle with grey lines is shown around each Centre to a scale representing 300 nautical miles. Where the circles overlap, the area is shown in a lighter blue color with double lines. In southern Nova Scotia at Chebogue, a Navtex site is remotely controlled from Halifax MCTS. The NAVTEX identifiers for Chebogue are the letter U (English) and V (French). This site overlaps with the NAVTEX site to the northeast at Port Caledonia and operated by Sydney MCTS. The NAVTEX identifiers for Port Caledonia are the letters Q (English) and J (French). The site at Sydney overlaps with a site on the east coast of Newfoundland with a NAVTEX site at Robin Hood Bay. The NAVTEX identifier for Robin Hood Bay is the letter O. The site at Port Caledonia also overlaps coverage area with a site located at Moisie, QC to the northwest. The NAVTEX identifiers for Moisie are the letters C (English) and D (French). To the northwest of Robin Hood Bay is another site located at Cartwright and controlled by Labrador MCTS. The NAVTEX identifier for Cartwright is the letter X. A NAVTEX site is also located at Iqaluit and controlled by Iqaluit MCTS. The NAVTEX identifiers are T (English) and S (French).

4.3.3 World-Wide Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS)

4.3.3.1 NAVAREAS XVII and XVIII: Navigational Warnings

The Canadian Coast Guard has assumed responsibility of NAVAREA coordination for NAVAREAs XVII and XVIII as part of the World-Wide Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS).

Under the WWNWS, navigational warnings containing urgent information relevant to safe navigation that are broadcast in accordance with the Chapter IV of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS).

NAVAREA warnings, which contain information specific to ocean going mariners, remain in force until cancelled or promulgated by other means.

NAVAREA XVII and XVIII warnings that are less than 42 days old are promulgated via SafetyNET.

The complete text of all In-Force NAVAREA warnings is available from the Canadian Coast Guard website: www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/ccg/notship-home.

Alternatively, these may be requested by forwarding an email to the NAVAREA Operations desk at: navarea17.18@innav.gc.ca.

NAVAREAs XVII and XVIII warnings are broadcast in the English language using the following rectangular areas until SafetyNET Inmarsat-C or mini-C Maritime terminals operating in the arctic waters have been updated:

  • NAVAREA XVII NAVAREA XVIII
  • 82°00N 175°00E 82°00N 120°00W
  • 82°00N 120°00W 82°00N 035°00W
  • 62°00N 120°00W 62°00N 035°00W
  • 62°00N 175°00E 62°00N 120°00W

Figure 4-18 - Canadian Navarea Zones and Broadcast Areas

RAMN Figure 4-18 (43526)
 
Text description of Figure 4-18 Canadian Navarea Zones and Broadcast Areas

The map portrayed in figure 4-18 is of Northern Canada. Shown are the zones for Navarea XVII in red and Navarea XVIII in green. These position limits are detailed above the map. Also, Broadcast Zone XVII is outlined in purple and Broadcast Zone XVIII in pink.

Reception of rectangular addressed messages should be automatic providing the ship’s position is inside the addressed area. However, mariners should check their manufacture’s operation manuals to obtain information on the setting of their EGC equipment to receive relevant SafetyNET messages.

During the Arctic navigational season, NAVAREA XVII and XVIII warnings applicable to the Canadian Search and Rescue boundaries for waters North of 70 degrees latitude are broadcast (with limits to coverage area and reliability) using High Frequency Narrow Band Direct Printing (HF-NBDP) on 8416.5 kHz at 03:30 UTC and 15:30 UTC. Refer to Iqaluit MCTS, Part 2, for details about the broadcast content.

Table 4-18 - Broadcast Schedule

Broadcast Schedule
Hour UTCServiceFrequency or satellite
0330 HF-NBDP 8416.5 kHz*
1100 NAV XVIII AOR-W
1130 NAV XVII POR
1530 HF-NBDP 8416.5 kHz*
2300 NAV XVIII AOR-W
2330 NAV XII POR

Note

*available during Arctic navigational season

Comments concerning the reception of NAVAREA XVII and XVIII broadcasts, especially above 75°N, would be appreciated and should be sent to:

NAVAREA XVII and XVIII
Prescott MCTS Centre
Telephone: 613-925-0666
Facsimile: 613-925-4519
E-mail: navarea17.18@innav.gc.ca

4.3.3.2 NAVAREAS IV and XII

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) of the United States of America is responsible for NAVAREAs IV and XII coordination.

NAVAREA IV covers the North Atlantic Ocean West of 35°W and north of 7°N. NAVAREA IV warnings are broadcasts over the AOR-W satellite at 10:00 UTC and 22:00 UTC. Ice reports for the North Atlantic are broadcast at 12:00 UTC. NAVAREA IV warnings are broadcast over
HF-NBDP from: Boston (NMF) at 01:40 UTC on 6314 kHz, 8416.5 kHz, and 12579 kHz and at 16:30 UTC on 8416.5 kHz, 12579 kHz, and 16806.5 kHz.

NAVAREA XII covers the North Pacific Ocean east of 180° and north of the equator, plus the area north of 3°25’S and east of 120°W. NAVAREA XII warnings are broadcasts over the POR satellite at 10:30 UTC and 22:30 UTC. These messages are broadcast over HF-NBDP by Honolulu (NMO) at 03:30 and 17:30 UTC daily, on 8416.5 kHz, 12579 kHz, and 22376 kHz.

Consult the publication NP283 (2) Admiralty List of Radio Signals, Volume 3, Part 2, for the listing of all NAVAREA Coordinators and broadcast schedules.

Mariners may also consult the International Maritime Organization circular, COMSAR.1/Circ.51, for an updated list of all NAVAREA Coordinators.

NAVAREA broadcast schedules can be found in Annex 8 of the IMO circular, GMDSS.1/Circ.19 (as amended) GMDSS Master Plan of Shore-Based Facilities for GMDSS.

4.3.3.3 Subject Matter for NAVAREA Warnings Messages

The following subjects are considered suitable for broadcast as NAVAREA warnings. This list is not exhaustive and should be regarded only as a guideline. Furthermore, it presupposes that sufficiently precise information about the item has not previously been disseminated in a Notice to Mariners:

  1. casualties to lights, fog signals and buoys and other aids to navigation affecting main shipping lanes;
  2. the presence of dangerous wrecks in or near main shipping lanes and if relevant, their marking;
  3. establishment of major new aids to navigation or significant changes to existing ones when such establishment or change might be misleading to shipping;
  4. the presence of large unwieldy tows in congested waters;
  5. drifting hazards including derelict ships, ice, mines, containers and other large items;
  6. areas where search and rescue (SAR) and anti-pollution operations are being carried out (for avoidance of such areas);
  7. the presence of newly-discovered rocks, shoals, reefs and wrecks likely to constitute a danger to navigation, and, if relevant, their marking;
  8. unexpected alteration or suspension of established routes;
  9. cable or pipe-laying activities, the towing of large submerged objects for research or exploration purposes, the employment of manned or unmanned submersibles, or other underwater operations constituting potential danger in or near shipping lanes;
  10. the establishment of research or scientific instruments in or near shipping lanes;
  11. the establishment of offshore structures in or near shipping lanes;
  12. significant malfunction of radio-navigation services and shore-based maritime safety information and radio services;
  13. information concerning special operations which might affect the safety of shipping, sometimes over wide areas, e.g. naval exercises, missile firings, space missions, nuclear tests, ordnance dumping zones, etc. It is important that where the degree of hazard is known, this information is included in the relevant warning. Whenever possible, such warnings should be originated not less than five days in advance of the scheduled event and reference may be made to relevant national publications in the warning;
  14. acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships;
  15. tsunamis and other natural phenomena, such as abnormal changes to sea level;
  16. World Health Organization (WHO) health advisory information; and
  17. security-related requirements, in accordance with the requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code only.

Figure 4-19 - World-Wide Navigational Warning Service - NAVAREAS

WORLD WIDE NAVIGATIONAL WARNING SERVICE - NAVAREAS
 
Text description of Figure 4-19 World-Wide Navigation Warning Service NAVAREAS

This map illustrates the NAVAREAS which form the World-wide Navigational Warning Service. It is divided into 21 areas each shown on the map in a different colour and labeled with its applicable number and a geographic name. On the northern section of the map are NAVAREAS XIX (Norway), XX (Russian Federation), XXI (Russian Federation), XVII and XVIII (Canada). In the centre section starting from the left, IV (United States), V (Brazil), I (United Kingdom), Baltic Sea (Sub-Area), II (France), III (Spain), IX (Pakistan), VIII (India), XIII (Russian Federation), XI (Japan) XII (United States), XVI (Peru), IV (United States). On the southern portion of the map starting from the left, VI (Argentina), VII (South Africa), X (Australia), XIV (New Zealand), XV (Chile) and VI (Argentina). Geographic descriptions for the areas involving Canada (Navareas XVII, XVIII, IV and XII) can be found previously under the headline World-wide navigational warning service (WWNWS).

4.3.4 Cellular Phone (*16) Service - Marine Emergencies

MCTS Centres in certain parts of Canada are connected to the cellular telephone network system where cellular telephone users can, in an emergency situation only, dial *16 on their cellular telephone to access a MCTS Centre in order to obtain assistance.

Mariners are cautioned that a cellular telephone is not a good substitute for a marine radio because the maritime mobile radio safety system in the southern waters of Canada is based principally on VHF communications. Furthermore, VHF has the advantage that a call can be heard by the closest MCTS Centre(s) and by ships in the vicinity which could provide immediate assistance. On the other hand, the telephone cellular network is a party-to-party system and the benefit of the broadcast mode in an emergency situation cannot be obtained.

Mariners are reminded that the use of marine radio distress frequencies to obtain assistance in an emergency situation is the best option and that cellular telephone should be used only as an alternative should the VHF radiotelephone set not be available. Standard distress alerting equipment, such as marine radio and EPIRBs should never be replaced by cellular phone alone.

Note

Details of this service may be obtained by contacting local cellular telephone companies; however, mariners are cautioned that not all cellular telephone companies provide this service.

4.3.5 Direction Finding (VHF/DF) Service

MCTS Centres in certain parts of Canada are provided with VHF/DF equipment, primarily to determine or confirm the bearing, from a DF facility, of a vessel requiring assistance in a distress or other emergency situation. In addition, an estimated line of position from a DF facility can be provided to vessels that are uncertain of their locations. Location of VHF/DF facilities will be found in the appropriate centre listings in Part 2 of this publication. The intent of this service is not to provide a navigation service. Positions must be regarded as estimates only. Mariners are cautioned that any information provided shall be used at their own discretion.

4.3.5.1 Direction Finding Bearings

Any MCTS Centre will, on request, transmit signals that will enable a ship to take a radio bearing with its own direction finder. It is pointed out to masters of ships fitted with direction finding equipment employing DF loops that serious error may result in bearings taken if metallic material or equipment (poles, wires, winches, etc.) are erected in proximity to the DF antenna equipment after calibration.

Masters of ships are urged to exercise caution in the use of commercial radio broadcasting stations as radio beacons. Bearings taken on such stations may be very inaccurate owing to errors caused by coastal refraction and the calibration of the Direction Finder employed may vary considerably due to the wide difference in frequencies used, (i.e. the standard broadcast band spreads over approximately 1060 kHz). In addition, it is advisable to make certain that the position of the broadcast transmitter (not the studio) is accurately known before using it as a navigation aid.

4.3.6 Sail Plan Service

All small craft operators, including those making day trips, are encouraged to file a Sail Plan with a responsible person. This person should be instructed to call the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) or Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) if the vessel becomes overdue. The telephone number can be found at the front of most telephone books and should be included with the Sail Plan. In circumstances where it is not possible to file a Sail Plan with a responsible person, a Sail Plan may be filed by telephone, radio or in person, with any CCG MCTS Centre. While at sea, masters/operators who have filed a sail plan with a MCTS Centre are encouraged to file a daily position report during long trips. Upon your return, be sure to close (or deactivate) the sail plan you filed earlier. Forgetting to do so can result in an unwarranted search for you.

The information to be provided should be in accordance with the listing below.

  1. vessel identification (boat’s name and licence number);
  2. sail or power;
  3. vessel size and type;
  4. colour of hull, deck, and cabin;
  5. type of engines;
  6. other distinguishing features;
  7. radios and channels monitored (MF/HF/VHF);
  8. Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI);
  9. satellite and/or cellular telephone number;
  10. description of life rafts or small boats available;
  11. number and type of flares;
  12. number of lifejackets PFDs and/or survival suits;
  13. other safety equipment;
  14. name, address, and telephone number of vessel owner;
  15. other information;
  16. date and time of departure;
  17. number of people on board;
  18. departure point;
  19. route and stop-over points;
  20. destination;
  21. estimated date and time of arrival at destination; and,
  22. telephone number of an emergency contact person.

4.3.7 Search and Rescue in Canadian Areas of Responsibility

The Canadian Forces (CF) in co-operation with the Canadian Coast Guard has overall responsibility for coordination of federal aeronautical and maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) activities in Canada, including Canadian waters and the high seas off the coasts of Canada. The CF provides dedicated SAR aircraft in support to marine SAR incidents. The CCG coordinates maritime SAR activities within this area and provides dedicated maritime SAR vessels in strategic locations. Joint Rescue Coordination Centres (JRCC) are maintained at Victoria, B.C., Trenton, Ont. and Halifax, N.S. These centres are staffed 24 hours a day by Canadian Forces and CCG personnel. Each JRCC is responsible for an internationally agreed upon designated area known as a Search and Rescue Region (SRR). In addition, a Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC), staffed by CCG personnel is maintained at Québec, QC to coordinate local marine SAR operations.

Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC)/Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC)

JRCC Halifax, NS

Telephone: 1-800-565-1582 Maritimes Region
1-800-563-2444 Newfoundland and Labrador Region
902-427-8200 Satellite, Local or out of area

Facsimile: 902-427-2114

Email: jrcchalifax@sarnet.dnd.ca

MRSC Québec, QC

Telephone: 1-800-463-4393 Québec Region
418-648-3599 Satellite, Local or out of area

Facsimile: 418-648-3614

Email: mrscqbc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

JRCC Trenton, ON

Telephone: 1-800-267-7270 In Canada
613-965-3870 Satellite, Local or out of area

Facsimile: 613-965-7279

Email: jrcctrenton@sarnet.dnd.ca

JRCC Victoria, British Columbia

Telephone: 1-800-567-5111 British Columbia and Yukon
250-413-8933 Satellite, Local or out of area
# 727 Cellular

Email: jrccvictoria@sarnet.dnd.ca

4.3.7.1 Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary or Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue in British Columbia

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA) or Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM-SAR) is an association of approximately 4500 dedicated volunteers operating close to 1300 vessels to support the CCG in Marine Search and Rescue.

For more information on maritime SAR services in Canada, refer to Section 28 of the Annual Edition of Notices to Mariners, published by the CCG, Marine Navigation Services.

4.3.8 Marine Communications and Traffic Services Message Service

4.3.8.1 Messages Handled Without Charge by MCTS Centres

  1. messages pertaining to weather or ice information and ice routing;
  2. messages concerning aids to navigation;
  3. Amver Messages, addressed AMVER HALIFAX;
  4. radiomedical messages;
  5. messages reporting pollution;
  6. messages addressed to a port or a member of the CCG that involve a report of a ship movement, position or condition;
  7. messages addressed to a Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) or Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC);
  8. pilotage messages;
  9. official Naval messages;
  10. quarantine messages addressed to “Quarantine”; and
  11. messages requesting a doctor to meet a ship on arrival.

4.3.8.2 Weather Messages

Weather reports in the international meteorological code, made at the standard synoptic hours of 00:00, 06:00, 12:00 and 18:00 UTC, are solicited from ships of all nationalities which have been recruited by their own national weather service, or other weather services, to make weather reports on a regular basis. These reports should be made and transmitted to the nearest MCTS Centre, irrespective of the ship’s position. In fact, reports made close to, or even within sight of land, are equally important to reports made offshore, due to the greater variability of weather conditions in proximity to a coastline.

4.3.8.3 Pollution Messages

All vessels plying Canadian and adjacent waters are requested to report oil slicks or pollution of any type to the nearest MCTS Centre.

4.3.8.4 Medical Advice Messages

Masters of ships may obtain medical advice by addressing a radiotelegram to “Radiomedical” and routing it via the nearest MCTS Centre which will refer the message to the nearest medical authority and transmit the reply to the ship.

4.3.8.5 Quarantine Messages

  1. In the following circumstances only, the person in charge of a vessel shall, by radio (via the nearest MCTS Centre), telephone or email, at least 24 hours prior to the vessel’s estimated time of arrival at its port of destination, notify or cause the notification of a quarantine officer at the quarantine station designated in paragraph (3) for that port of the occurrence:
    Where, in the course of a voyage of a vessel,
    1. a member of the crew or a passenger on board the vessel exhibits one or more of these signs or symptoms:
      1. appears obviously unwell;
      2. cough with blood;
      3. fever or chills (profuse sweating, unusually flushed or pale skin, shivering);
      4. shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
      5. repeated coughing;
      6. diarrhea;
      7. headache;
      8. recent confusion;
      9. skin rash;
      10. bruising or bleeding without injury; and
      11. death.
      That person(s) should be isolated in order to minimize the exposure of crew and passengers.
    2. the person in charge of the vessel is, during the period:
      1. of four weeks preceding the estimated time of arrival of the vessel; or
      2. since he last submitted a declaration of health as required by section 16, whichever is the lesser, aware of any instance of illness among the crew or passengers that he suspects is of a communicable nature and may lead to the spread of disease.
    3. a certificate establishing that the vessel has been de-ratted or exempted from de-ratting procedures has expired or is about to expire.
  2. At the same time, the person in charge of a vessel shall, by radio, provide the quarantine officer with the following information:
    1. the name and nationality of the vessel;
    2. the ports called at during the voyage of the vessel;
    3. the nature of the cargo on board the vessel;
    4. the number of persons comprising the crew of the vessel;
    5. the number of passengers on board the vessel;
    6. the port of destination of the vessel and the name of the vessel’s owner or, if the owner is not in Canada, the name of the vessel’s agent in Canada;
    7. the condition of all persons on board the vessel and details of any death or illness occurring during the voyage;
    8. whether the body of any person is being carried on the vessel;
    9. the estimated time of arrival of the vessel at the port of destination; and
    10. the date and place of issuance of any de-ratting certificate or de-ratting exemption certificate applicable to the vessel.
  3. For the purposes of paragraph (1), the quarantine station for vessels bound for
    1. a port in the Province of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland is the Halifax Nova Scotia Quarantine Station at 902-873-7659 (24 hour phone line) or by email at quarantineeast@phac-aspc.gc.ca if notification is 48 hours or greater prior to arrival;
    2. a port in the Province of Québec or any Canadian port via the St. Lawrence River, is the Montréal Québec Quarantine Station at 514-229-2561(24 hour phone line) or by email at quarantineeast@phac-aspc.gc.ca if notification is 48 hours or greater prior to arrival;
    3. a port in the Province of Ontario or a port in the Nunavut Territories, is the Toronto, Ontario Quarantine Station at 416-315-5039 (24 hour phone line) or by email at quarantineeast@phac-aspc.gc.ca if notification is 48 hours or greater prior to arrival;
    4. a port on Hudson Bay is the Calgary Alberta Quarantine Station at 403-221-3067 (24 hour phone line) or by email at quarantinewest@phac-aspc.gc.ca if notification is 48 hours or greater prior to arrival.
    5. a port in the province of British Columbia, a port in the Yukon Territories or a port in the Northwest Territories, is the Vancouver British Columbia Quarantine Station at 604-317-1720 (24 hour phone line) or by email at quarantinewest@phac-aspc.gc.ca if notification is 48 hours or greater prior to arrival.

When circumstances outlined in paragraph (1) require vessels bound for any St. Lawrence River or Great Lakes port to notify the quarantine officer, this should be done preferably 48 hours prior to arrival at Québec City or, if not preceding past Québec City, 48 hours prior to arrival at destination. To ensure prompt and efficient service, messages should be sent through an east coast MCTS Centre.

  1. The person in charge of a vessel who wishes to change his port of destination after receiving instructions from the quarantine officer shall notify him of such change and request new instructions.

4.3.8.6 Pilotage Messages

For detailed information on Notices to Obtain Pilot, Notices of Departure, Notices of Movage, Optional Notices and Required Information, please refer to Section 23 of the latest Annual Edition of Notices to Mariners, published by the CCG, Marine Navigation Services.

4.3.8.7 Official Naval Messages

For detailed information on Naval Messages to Canadian and Commonwealth ships in Canadian areas, please refer to Section 39 of the latest Annual Edition of Notices to Mariners, published by the CCG, Marine Navigation Services.

4.3.9 Icebreaking and Ice Routing Services

4.3.9.1 Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters

The nautical publication “Ice Navigation in Canadian Waters” is published by the CCG in collaboration with Transport Canada, Canadian Ice Service, and the Canadian Hydrographic Service. The Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations require this publication to be carried on board if the vessel is making a voyage during which ice may be encountered. The publication is available to download, free-of-charge, from http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/Ice_home/Ice_Publications/Ice-Navigation-in-Canadian-Waters

There are a variety of icebreaking and support services available to ships transiting Canadian ice-covered waters. Ice Operations Centres are in operation seasonally as ice conditions dictate. These centres work in conjunction with MCTS Centres to provide up-to-date ice information, to suggest routes for ships to follow through or around ice, and to co-ordinate icebreaker assistance to shipping.

Ice Operations Centres are in contact with icebreakers at all times and monitor progress of shipping within their area of responsibility. In addition, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Canadian Ice Service (CIS) has fully qualified Ice Service Specialists and ice reconnaissance aircraft who are involved with Ice Operations Centres on a full-time basis throughout the ice navigation season. The Coast Guard Icebreaking Superintendents have a complete and current picture of the prevailing ice conditions in their area and the anticipated trend of conditions and are therefore well equipped to provide reasoned advice on the best routes to pursue.

To obtain the maximum benefit from the service, it is essential that Masters report to the CCG Guard before their ships enter waters where ice may be encountered. These initial reports and subsequent position reports from ships will ensure a continuing watch on the ship's progress by the CCG Ice Operations Centres and, in the event icebreaker support becomes necessary, this can be provided with a minimum of delay. There are a limited number of icebreakers available to support shipping. Masters are encouraged to follow the recommended route with which they are provided. They may also assist and support this service by providing reports on the ice they encounter.

4.3.9.2 Joint Industry-Government Guidelines

Recognizing that special risks of ice damage may exist in certain waters off the East Coast of Canada during winter and spring months and that these may affect safety and contribute to marine pollution, the Joint Industry-Government Guidelines for the Control of Oil Tankers and Bulk Chemical Carriers in Ice Control Zones of Eastern Canada (JIG) – TP15163 were developed and have been in effect since November 1979.

These Guidelines apply to all laden oil tankers and to tankers carrying liquid chemicals in bulk when proceeding through an active Ice Control Zone in Eastern Canadian waters and fishing zones south of 60° North. The CCG may declare any ice control zone to be an active Ice Control Zone and promulgate this information via Notice to Shipping and Notices to Mariners. When proceeding through an active Ice Control Zone, all ships to which the Guidelines apply should have on board a copy of the guidelines and at least one "Ice Advisor", who meets the requirements as prescribed in JIGs.

The following may be contacted for information on ice control zones:

Ice Atlantic

Canadian Coast Guard Ice Operations Centre
P.O. Box 5667
St. John’s NL A1C 5X1
Telephone: 709-772-2078/1-800-565-1633
Iceatl@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

For ice routing contact ECAREG at:
Telephone: 902-426-4956
hlxecareg1@innav.gc.ca

Ice Montreal

Canadian Coast Guard Ice Operations Centre
Telephone: 1-855-201-0086/US-Canada line: 1-844-672-8037
Facsimile: 514-283-1752
Ice-Montreal.XLAU@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

MARINFO Website: http://www.marinfo.gc.ca/en/glaces/index.asp
Icebreaking Website: http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/Icebreaking/home
General Information Email: ice-glace@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

The complete version of JIG TP 15163 B (2011) is available at: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/tp-tp15163-menu-4025.htm

4.3.10 Canadian Hydrographic Service

4.3.10.1 Conversion of Charts to North American Datum 1983 (NAD 83)

The Canadian Hydrographic Service is converting navigational charts to the North American Datum 1983 (NAD 83).

NAD 83 is considered equivalent to the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS 84) recently adopted as the horizontal datum for world-wide use. The advantage of the new datum is its compatibility with the NAVSTAR (GPS) satellite positioning system.

The difference in the position of the same point when quoted on the former NAD 27 and the new NAD 83 is up to 60 metres on the Atlantic coast, about 110 metres on the Pacific coast and almost zero near Chicago although there can be local discrepancies from these approximations.

Horizontal positions obtained from satellite receivers are based on NAD 83 (WGS 84) and must be converted to the horizontal chart datum (if not NAD 83) before being used.

A note has been added to nearly all existing charts indicating the datum on which the chart is based, and providing the increase or decrease required to convert the latitude and longitude from NAD 83 to the chart datum.

New Charts and New Editions being produced are now almost always based on NAD 83.

Note

Latitude and longitude positions given in this publication are in NAD 83 unless otherwise indicated.

4.3.11 Inspection of Radio Apparatus

The Canadian Coast Guard, on behalf of Transport Canada, is responsible for the conduct of ship radio inspections pursuant to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. Queries concerning the standards governing inspections of radio apparatus fitted in ships for safety purposes may be sent to:

Program Manager, Ship Radio Inspection
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
200 Kent Street, 7th Floor, Station 7S022
Ottawa ON K1A 0E6
Inquiries: InfoPol@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Owners and masters of Canadian ships, that are required to be fitted with a radio installation under the provisions of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 are reminded that:

The master of a ship, other than a Safety Convention ship, shall ensure that the ship station is inspected by a radio inspector:

  1. within the 30 days before the ship puts to sea for the first time, if the ship is:
    • 20 m or more in length,
    • a tow-boat, or
    • carrying more than 12 passengers on a voyage any part of which is in a VHF coverage area or more than five miles from shore;
  2. at least once every 48 months, in the case of a ship referred to in paragraph (a) that is certified for home-trade voyages, Class IV, or minor waters voyages, Class II; and
  3. at least once every 12 months, in the case of a ship referred to in paragraph (a) that is certified for voyages other than a home-trade voyage, Class IV, or a minor waters voyage, Class II.

The master of a ship that is required to be inspected under the Agreement between Canada and the United States of America for Promotion of Safety on the Great Lakes by Means of Radio, 1973 need not comply with paragraphs (1)(b) or (c), but shall ensure that the ship station is inspected by a radio inspector before the ship enters the Great Lakes Basin for the first time and at least once every 13 months thereafter while continuing to navigate in the Great Lakes Basin.

A non-Canadian ship which does not have a valid Radio Safety Certificate on board may be detained by a port Customs Officer until a valid certificate has been obtained.

A fee for the conduct of ship radio inspections is levied in accordance with the Ship Radio Inspection Fees Regulations. The fee is payable upon completion of the inspection.

Applications for radio inspections of Canadian ships should be filed with the Canadian Coast Guard. The form entitled: Application for Radio Inspection, Compulsory Fitted Ships (FP-5286-E) should be used for this purpose. Such request by owners, agents or masters should be received by the Canadian Coast Guard at least three working days in advance of the date requested for inspection.

The owners, agents or masters of Canadian ships requiring radio inspection while outside of Canada should make application by fax or letter to:

Transport Canada
Director General
Marine Safety Directorate
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0N

Telephone: 613-998-0610
Facsimile: 613-954-1032

Non-Canadian ships (except Liberian ships) may obtain a cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate (GMDSS) in Canada. Applications should originate with the owners, ship agents or masters of the ships concerned and be supported by confirmation from the Consul or other official representative of the country in which the ship is registered. Confirmation shall be in writing. It is the responsibility of the owner, agent or master to contact the Consul or official representative and arrange to submit the necessary confirmation to the local Canadian Coast Guard inspection office. Where time is limited, a verbal request for an inspection may be accepted from the Consul or official representative (a person who has a document from an Administration giving him the official power to act on their behalf), provided that the confirmation is submitted later.

Applications for radio inspections of Canadian ships wintering in US Great Lakes ports should be made by the owners, agents or masters on FCC form 809 and filed directly with the FCC Field Engineering office nearest to the port of which the inspections are desired. Copies of form 809 are available from any of the FCC offices serving the Great Lakes.

4.3.11.1 Ship Radio Inspection Contacts

CCG Newfoundland and Labrador

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Telephone and Fax: 1-888-454-3177
Outside Canada Telephone Facsimile: 709-772-3467
Email: xnfltsc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Senior Technologist
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
P.O. Box 1236
Charlottetown PE C1A 7M8

Telephone: 902-407-7521
Facsimile: 902-407-7435
Email: xmartsc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Saint John, New Brunswick

Senior Technologist
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
P.O. Box 700, Water Street
Saint-John NB E2L 4B3

Telephone: 506-636-4743
Facsimile: 506-636-5000

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B2Y 4A2

Senior Technologist
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
P.O. Box 1006
Dartmouth NS B2Y 4A2

Telephone: 902-407-7521
Facsimile: 902-407-7435
Email: xmartsc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Sydney, Nova Scotia

Senior Technologist
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard Ships
1190 Westmount Road
Sydney NS B1R 2J6

Telephone: 902-407-7521
Facsimile: 902-407-7435
Email: xmartsc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

Senior Technologist
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
P.O. Box 37
Yarmouth NS B5A 4B1

Telephone: 902-407-7521
Facsimile: 902-407-7435
Email: xmartsc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

CCG Central and Arctic Region (Québec and Ontario)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Telephone: 514-283-5684
Facsimile: 514-283-2129

Hay River, Northwest Territories

Supervisor of Technical Maintenance
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard Ships Electronics Workshop
42037 MacKenzie Highway
Hay River NT X0E 0R9

Telephone: 867-874-5530
Facsimile: 867-874-5532

Richmond, British Columbia

Supervisor of Technical Maintenance
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard Ships Electronic Workshop
4270 Inglis Drive
Richmond BC V7B 1L7

Telephone: 604-666-2311
Facsimile: 604-666-1786

Victoria, British Columbia

Supervisor of Technical Maintenance
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard Ships Electronic Workshop
25 Huron Street
Victoria BC V8V 4V9

Telephone: 250-480-2644
Facsimile: 250-480-2666

Lazo, British Columbia

Supervisor of Technical Maintenance
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard Ships Electronic Workshop
299 Wireless Road
P.O. Box 220
Lazo BC V0R 2K0

Telephone: 250-339-5211
Facsimile: 250-339-7922

Prince Rupert, British Columbia

Supervisor of Technical Maintenance
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Canadian Coast Guard Ships Electronic Workshop
P.O. Box 906
Prince Rupert BC V8J 4B7

Telephone: 250-627-3073
Facsimile: 250-624-6518

 

4.3.12 Radio Station Licensing and MMSI Numbers

To obtain further information on radio station licensing and Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) numbers contact Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf01742.html or locate the nearest Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada office through the local telephone directory.

4.3.13 Marine Telephone Service

4.3.13.1 General

This service enables a person aboard a ship to speak directly to any person ashore, or vice versa. The service is an extension of the public telephone system to ships at sea through MCTS Centres. Long distance ship-to-shore calls may only be made as collect calls or charged to a telephone company calling card/pre-paid card. Refer to Part 2 to find MCTS Centres that provide the marine telephone call service.

4.3.13.2 Placing a Marine Telephone Call

Ship to Shore

  1. Listen to make sure that the MCTS Centre is not busy with another ship.
  2. Call the MCTS Centre and when communication has been established give the following:
    • name of the city being called;
    • name and/or telephone number of the person being called;
    • name of the caller or the number of the caller’s telephone company credit calling card (if applicable).
  3. When the call is completed, sign off, using the name and call sign of the ship.

Shore to Ship

  1. Dial the appropriate MCTS Centre.
  2. Give the MCTS Officer the name of the person and ship being called.

Receiving a Marine Telephone Call

  1. When you hear your ship being called, reply, giving your ship’s name and call sign.
  2. At the end of the conversation, sign off by announcing the name and call sign of your vessel.

4.3.13.3 Radiomedical Calls

Mariners may obtain medical advice by calling a MCTS Centre and requesting to be connected to a medical professional. The CCG will connect the vessel to an appropriate medical professional via the Marine Telephone System.

For mariners who wish to make their own arrangements for medical advice, radiomedical services are available in numerous languages to vessels flying any flag at any location through the International Radio-medical Centre (CIRM) in Rome, Italy. This centre is staffed 24/7/365 by specially trained physicians and radio operators who also have access to specialists in all medical branches. The CIRM can be contacted via the following means:

Telephone: 39 6 54223045
Mobile GSM: 39 348 3984229
Facsimile: 39 6 5923333
Telex: 043 612068 CIRM I
Email: telesoccorso@cirm.it
Web: http://www.cirm.it/