Icebreaking Research and Development Projects

The Canadian Coast Guard participates in research and development (R&D) activities relating to the development, testing and evaluation, and application of projects and studies related to safety, marine environment and emergency response, communications and navigation systems, productivity, efficiency and effectiveness in its own operations; and support to other agencies responsible for oceans and marine safety issues. To promote the highest level of achievement, CCG personnel are also encouraged to work with other agencies, governments, clients and institutions to achieve additional "leveraged" funding and partnership or joint-venture arrangements leading to industrial product.

The CCG provides a variety of icebreaking services to ensure that marine shipping moves in a safe, timely and efficient manner through or around ice-covered waters and to minimize the effect of flooding caused by ice jams on the St. Lawrence River – to support “Safe and Accessible Waterways”.

Icebreaking R&D primarily focuses on the development and improvement of Ice Information Systems for:

  • Voyage/route planning: to assess ice conditions that a vessel is likely to encounter along the length of its planned route.
  • Tactical navigation in ice: planning the route to take advantage of optimum ice conditions, including finding open water leads, avoiding glacial and multi year ice, and avoiding ridges, rafting and pressure.
  • Development of Recommended Ice Routes to marine shipping: providing ice routing advice to marine shipping so that they may navigate safely around difficult areas of ice, thereby reducing transit times, delays in ice, fuel consumption and the reliance on icebreaker support.

Ice Hazard Radar Project

  • Marine Radar for Improved Ice Detection

    Abstract: A high-speed marine radar combined with advanced digital processing can produce high resolution images that allow the user to identify hazardous ice features and small icebergs which are nearly impossible to see with a conventional radar. The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is working in partnership with Transport Canada’s Transportation Development Centre (TDC) to develop an “Ice Hazard Radar”. The system was evaluated in three dedicated trials on board the icebreaker CCGS Henry Larsen to fully demonstrate the capability of the radar in a variety of operating environments and ice conditions. This paper presents the results of the trials.

  • Ice Hazard Radar

    Abstract: Ships transiting polar regions would benefit from a marine ice navigation radar that could help them differentiate between dangerous multi-year ice and thick first-year ice. Conventional marine radars are designed for target detection and avoidance. Enhanced marine radars provide a higher definition image of the ice that the vessel is transiting through and may help the user to identify certain ice features, but they cannot distinguish first year ice from old ice. This paper presents one approach for the automated identification of sea ice types by a marine radar using cross-polarization technology.