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The Fleet is responsible for providing appropriate, cost-effective vessels and aircraft to help our clients carry out their responsibilities in keeping with their operational mandates, business plan commitments, and funding. The Fleet’s assets include ships, with range in size from large icebreakers to small lifeboats, as well as aircushion vehicles (ACVs) and helicopters. In 2008–2009, the Fleet operated 114 vessels and 22 helicopters (see Table 3 for class breakdown). Many of these assets are equipped to “multitask,” or support two or more simultaneous operations, allowing them to more efficiently meet the needs of multiple clients during a single mission. Other assets have specialized capabilities to satisfy a particular client or a specific program requirement, such as FAM’s armed boarding fisheries enforcement requirements.

Table 3: Number of Operational Vessels and Helicopters by Class 2007-2008
Vessel and Helicopter TypesNumber
Polar icebreakers 0
Heavy Icebreakers 2
Medium icebreakers 4
High-endurance multitasked vessel / Light icebreakers 7
Medium-endurance multitasked vessel 5
Offshore patrol vessel 4
Midshore patrol vessel 7
Offshore oceanographic science vessel 2
Offshore fishery science vessel 4
Special navigational aids vessel 4
SAR lifeboat 38
Hydrographic survey vessel 5
Channel survey and sounding vessel 2
Near-shore fishery research vessel 6
Specialty vessel 20
Vessel Total 114
Helicopter Total 22

What Is in a Name?

CCG’s ship-naming policy presents a nationally consistent and logical approach to naming CCG vessels. Our new vessels are named using set criteria that promote Canadian sovereignty, culture, geography, and history. Selected names should also raise the profile of vessels and the work that they do by honouring people and places of regional and national significance.


CCG prides itself on having an adaptable fleet that can deliver a variety of services in a safe, secure, effective, and efficient manner. As we continue our transformation to a more flexible and mission-ready fleet, CCG has developed the Fleet Renewal Plan to address urgent investment requirements stemming from a chronically low reinvestment rate. The plan takes into account the government’s evolving priorities and service demands, and allows for flexibility in responding to clients’ needs in a complex and changing environment. The Fleet Renewal Plan will help ensure the CCG has the vessel capacity to deliver cost-effective and reliable on-water services to Canadians well into the future. Given the scope of the investment necessary, a renewed fleet requires funding external to CCG as internal departmental funding is insufficient to make this a reality. Table 4 shows the age of vessels by size in 2008–2009.

Table 4: Age of Vessels, 2008-2009
VesselsNumberVessels Over 25 Years OldVessels 15 to 24 Years OldVessels Under 14 Years Old
Large Ships (over 88m)
Design Life - 30 years
6 5 1 0
Medium Ships (48 to 87m)
Design Life – 30 years
28 13 15 0
Smaller Ships (33 to 47m)
Design Life – 15 to 20 years
6 5 1 0
TOTAL Large Fleet 40 23 17 0
Small Vessels and ACVs (up to 33m)
Design Life – 15 to 20 years
36 15 14 7
SAR Lifeboats (14 m)
Design Life – 15 years
38 0 2 36
TOTAL Small Fleet 74 15 16 43
TOTAL FLEET 114 38 33 43

Deployment of the CCGS Cap Percé to Kegaska on Quebec’s Lower North Shore

On January 19th, 2009, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea announced that Kegaska, on Quebec’s Lower North Shore, would be the site of a new lifeboat station that will include the CCGS Cap Percé, a state-of-the-art vessel.

This additional resource on the Lower North Shore will enable CCG to continue consolidating its SAR coverage in this critical sector of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which is characterized by intensive commercial fishing activity and significant pleasure boat and ship traffic.

CCGS Cap Percé, a SAR Lifeboat
CCGS Cap Percé, a SAR Lifeboat
Photo: MA Region

CCGS Cap Breton, a SAR Lifeboat
CCGS Cap Breton, a SAR Lifeboat
Photo: MA Region

Opening of CCG Station Shippagan, Home of the CCGS Cap Breton

On July 9, 2008, we opened the new CCG Station Shippagan in New Brunswick, and its assigned lifeboat CCGS Cap Breton is at the ready. These important maritime SAR resources will help crews support local recreational boaters, fishing vessels, commercial traffic, and marine tourists. CCG Station Shippagan is one of nine stations in Maritimes Region and will provide logistics, crew, maintenance, and accommodations support to the CCGS Cap Breton.


The Fleet’s Long-Term Capital Plan is the only means of internal funding available for investment in our vessels, hovercraft, and helicopters, and other Fleet-managed capital assets. The plan is updated every year to ensure its relevancy and allocates funds across a five-year window based on such factors as the condition of the asset and the results of regulatory inspections. The Fleet is maximizing the use of these annual nominal capital funds (currently $91.5 million/year) that are used to replace smaller vessels and refit larger ones, over half of which are in the second half of their lifespan. During fiscal year 2008–2009, the Fleet was able to replace an old ACV, the CCG Wabanaki, with a new one, the CCG Mamilossa using its own internal capital funds.

New CCG Mamilossa for Quebec Region

On Friday, March 6, 2009, in Bécancour, Quebec, CCG welcomed a new ACV to its fleet, the CCG Mamilossa. In Abenaki, mamilossa means “he who walks from the shore onto the water.”

Equipped with an extra-strong crane that will enable it to load and unload heavy buoys, the Mamilossa was designed to meet CCG’s operational needs in a multitasked environment. This amphibious craft will play a critical role for SAR operations and in preventing floods by breaking up river and foreshore ice on the St. Lawrence River in areas where conventional icebreakers cannot go.

This ACV will also transport wheeled vehicles and load them directly on deck with a bow ramp. This feature makes it particularly effective for ER operations.

CCG Mamilossa, New Air Cushion Vehicle
CCG Mamilossa, New Air Cushion Vehicle
Photo: Benoît Filion, QC Region

In addition, internal capital funds from the Long-Term Capital Plan will be used to refit older, larger vessels, as well as to build small vessels, as indicated in Table 5.

Table 5: Small Vessel Replacement
DescriptionQuantitySizeLocationExpected Delivery
Near-shore fishery research vessel 2 18 m ON and NB 2011
Specialty vessel 2 18 m BC and PEI 2012

The total capital funding envelope, however, remains below what is needed to ensure continued operation of aging assets. Three key strategies have been employed by CCG to mitigate this below-average reinvestment rate.

The first strategy was implemented in 2007, when CCG received Treasury Board approval to establish a separate refit program for vessels and helicopters under the major capital allotment. By combining the refit and capital budgets, the decision process for the maintenance and refit of the fleet became integrated and provided additional oversight, transparency, and consistency of funding to be used for refit and maintenance only. Secondly, we integrated the refit planning into the Fleet operational planning process. This step improved the planned execution of refits within the vessels’ program activity and ensured that time was set aside in the Fleet Operations Plan for necessary maintenance and refurbishment. Thirdly, responsibility for vessel life extension (VLE) funding was assumed by the Government freeing up CCG internal funding needed for critical maintenance and the construction of small vessels.

CCGS Calanus II - Near-shore Fishery Research Vessel
CCGS Calanus II - Near-shore Fishery Research Vessel
Photo: Provincial Airlines

These three key strategies have resulted in more effective use of funding. The Long-Term Capital Plan, recent Government investments, and the phased implementation of the 30-year Fleet Renewal Plan are enabling the CCG to maintain Fleet assets in an improved operational condition as compared to previous years, and are assisting in the much needed replacement of aging assets.

2008–2009 Results
Delivered the ACV CCG Mamilossa
Developed an enhanced Fleet planning process that integrates operational, technical, and major capital planning, so as to ensure a better alignment with the business planning cycle
Integrated capital-intensive VLE funding into the Fleet Renewal Plan

CCGS John G. Diefenbaker A Strong Arctic Presence

On August 27, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada’s new symbol of Arctic sovereignty – a new polar icebreaker – would be named after former Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker, one of Canada’s champions of developing and protecting the Canadian North. This ship will replace CCG’s most capable icebreaker, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, and is expected to be in service in 2017, at a construction cost of $720 million.

This Polar Icebreaker, the first of its kind for the Fleet, will be approximately 140 m in length and capable of sustained operations in the Arctic Archipelago to break ice for commercial vessels and provide a stable platform for scientific research in the high Arctic. This new vessel will operate up North for extended periods (over nine months per year) in very difficult ice conditions. It will have the ability to continuously break ice up to 2.5 m thick and will carry a crew of approximately 60 with accommodations for an additional 50 people. The icebreaker will be multitaskable, have a large cargo carrying capacity, and also be able to accommodate two helicopters.

Concept of the new Polar Icebreaker, CCGS John G. Diefenbaker
Concept of the new Polar Icebreaker, CCGS John G. Diefenbaker
Photo: NCC


Recognizing CCG’s capital funding challenge, combined with its aging fleet of vessels and helicopters, the Government of Canada approved the first wave of the Fleet Renewal Plan that allows for a number of larger vessels to be built for service-critical programs. The total initiative recapitalization now stands at $1.4 billion for the building of:

  • Nine mid-shore patrol vessels;
  • Three offshore fishery science vessels;
  • One offshore oceanographic vessel; and
  • One polar icebreaker

Table 6 describes the new builds related to the Fleet Renewal Plan initiative:

Table 6: Large Vessel Replacement
DescriptionQuantitySizeLocationExpected Delivery
Mid-shore patrol vessel 9 43 m Nationally 2011 – 2013
Offshore fishery science vessel 3 67 m MA, NL, PA 2013 – 2016
Offshore oceanographic science vessel 1 90 m MA 2016
Polar icebreaker 1 140 m TBD1 2017

1 TBD, to be determined.

While these replacement vessels are being built, CCG still faces significant challenges stemming from the advanced age of many of its current operating vessels, particularly those for which funding for replacement has yet to be addressed. For example, our icebreakers, which were constructed decades ago, will soon reach the end of their useful lives. These vessels are expensive to maintain due to maintenance and repair requirements that make them at times unavailable for service, in turn reducing the Fleet’s overall capacity.

In addition, marine regulations have become more stringent in areas such as sewage treatment, asbestos handling, and pollution prevention. TC regularly examines and certifies the compliance of vessels to the highest degree to ensure that equipment is safe and safely operated. At times, these mandatory inspections result in repairs and delays to programs while vessels undergo 32 maintenance.

CCGS Teleost, Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel
CCGS Teleost, Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel
Photo: NL Region

CCGS Terry Fox, Heavy Icebreaker
CCGS Terry Fox, Heavy Icebreaker
Photo: MA Region


On January 27, 2009, the Government of Canada released Budget 2009, entitled Canada’s Economic Action Plan. The federal budget included $175 million in stimulus funding for CCG, to be allocated over a two-year period beginning in fiscal year 2009–2010. This funding will enable the implementation of previously unaffordable projects and will result in a more sustainable fleet, while also directly benefiting local economies. This brings the amount provided in federal budgets since 2005 to the Coast Guard for vessel construction and maintenance to $1.7 billion.

The funds allocated to CCG in the January 2009 federal budget provides for VLEs of five key vessels, much needed refit funds to fix larger vessels, and for the procurement of 98 new small vessels, lifeboats, barges, and small craft (see Table 7). Procurement of these new small boats and small vessels will enable CCG to continue to provide services such as SAR, ER and Aids to Navigation.

Table 7: Budget 2009 Economic Action Plan for CCG (Stimulus Budget)
VLE CCGS Bartlett 1 64 m PA
CCGS Tracy 1 55 m QC
CCGS Limnos 1 45 m C&A
CCGS Cape Roger 1 63 m NL
CCGS Tanu 1 45 m PA
Refit Targeted vessels 35 Various All regions
Acquisition Near-shore fisheries research vessel 3 18 to 24 m MA and QC
SAR lifeboat 5 14 m PA, C&A, QC, MA
ER barge 30 Various National
Small craft 60 Various National


Combining Environmental Performance with Vessel Life Extensions and Refits

Each VLE or refit presents an opportunity to increase vessel fuel efficiency, improve how we meet new environmental regulations, or make changes that will improve the environmental performance of vessels. For example, we are replacing Halon–an ozone-depleting substance–with more environmentally friendly fire suppression systems onboard CCG vessels.

The age and condition of a vessel’s main engine may make total engine and generator replacement more cost-effective than a minor refurbishment. New engines with modern technologies, control and fuel management systems are more fuel-efficient and less polluting. Even when engines are not replaced, a major overhaul of the original machinery combined with a renewed and cleaned hull coating can significantly reduce fuel consumption.

Black and grey water (sewage and used wash water) management, ballast water control, and noise reduction strategies also offer opportunities to improve the environmental performance of our vessels.

CCGS Cape Roger, an Offshore Patrol Vessel, showing the effects of sustained at-sea operations during heavy weather.
CCGS Cape Roger, an Offshore Patrol Vessel, showing the effects of sustained at-sea operations during heavy weather.
Photo: NL Region