Search and Rescue

Description:

  • The national Search and Rescue (SAR) Program, led by the Minister of National Defense, is a co-operative effort by federal, provincial, municipal governments, and volunteers. The program makes use of both private and public resources.
  • The CCG leads the maritime component of the federal SAR system, as mandated to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in the Oceans Act. Services are provided to coordinate SAR operations on the water, communicate with ships at sea, and provide vessels and crew to respond to SAR incidents.
  • The CCG relies on the cooperation of other entities such as the Canadian Forces, all other vessels on the water (private and public), and, particularly the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA). The CCGA is a volunteer organization of approximately 4000 members and 1100 vessels that assists with SAR response and awareness activities. The CCG maintains contribution agreements with each of the five CCGA regional corporations.
  • In coordinating the delivery of the maritime component of the federal SAR program CCG provides the following:
    • CCG personnel in the three Joint Rescue Coordination Centres operated by the CCG and DND; and,
    • A Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in Quebec operated by the CCG to provide additional communications, local knowledge and coordination services;
    • CCG vessels that carry qualified rescue specialists capable of providing pre-hospital medical care and equipped to respond to SAR taskings;
    • Vessels specifically designed and equipped with specially trained crew stationed in areas that have a high risk of SAR incidents;
    • An Inshore Rescue Boat service strategically placed throughout all regions in Canada during peak seasons of activity on the water.

Objective:

  • To minimize loss of life, injury, property damage and risk to the environment

Service:

  • Provision of search and rescue services to mariners and to others in need of humanitarian aid

Service: Provision of search and rescue services to mariners and to others in need of humanitarian aid

Service

  • Co-ordination of search and rescue missions in Canadian and International waters. Rescue Coordination Centres investigate and assess all maritime SAR alerts and coordinate the response of vessels on the water to SAR incidents.
  • SAR Mission Co-ordination is conducted in the three internationally designated SAR Regions that cover Canadian waters and in international waters under agreement with international SAR partners as part of the global SAR system.
  • Provision of search and rescue preparedness and response servicesFootnote 1. This service includes:
    • Search and Rescue Units (SRUs) capacity
    • Supporting the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary in the provision of SAR response
  • The areas of CCG SAR responsibility include the following:
    • Part of the surrounding Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific oceans as defined in international conventions and agreements
    • Lake Melville, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the St. Lawrence River, and the Canadian area of the Great Lakes and their connecting waterways. Specific limits to clarify this area of responsibility are:
    • the Saint John River, New Brunswick from seaward to the bridge in Fredericton at position 45° 58.1’N 066° 38.6’W
    • the Miramichi River from seaward to the bridge at position 46° 57.93’N 065° 35.81’W
    • the Ottawa River from Montréal northwesterly to longitude 074° 24’W
    • the Fraser River from seaward to longitude 122° 44’W and
    • the Skeena River from seaward to longitude 129° 55’W
    • the Saguenay River up to longitude 071º05’W (Chicoutimi)
    • the Richelieu River up to the Canada/US boundary
  • The area generally does not include adjoining tributaries, waters, and rivers to this area and does not include any other internal waters of Canada.
  • Services are provided on an as-available basis and in accordance with various Memoranda of Understanding in support of SAR missions in foreign SAR regions, usually adjacent to the Canadian area (i.e. U.S. areas of the Great Lakes).

Service Standard

  • Internationally and nationally established standards are adopted in whole or in part as appropriate (i.e. the CCG uses the International Aeronautical and Maritime SAR manual).
  • Search and rescue mission co-ordination services are provided on a 24/7 basis.
  • All reported maritime SAR alerts/incidents will be investigated and assessed.
  • Search and rescue preparedness and response services are provided on a risk basis during the normal local navigation season:
    • Designated Search and Rescue Units, with specially trained crews are operational on a 24/7 basis;
    • SRUs will depart on a SAR tasking within 30 minutes or less 99% of the time;
    • All SRUs carry a trained Rescue Specialist capable of providing pre-hospital medical care;
    • Inshore Rescue Boat units will depart on SAR taskings within 30 minutes or less, 99% of the time, during their on-duty time;
    • When in operational status all other CCG vessels will depart on SAR taskings within one hour of notification.
Footnote 1

The federal government and its agents will not compete with commercial or private interests to provide assistance to vessels disabled and not in distress

Return to footnote 1 referrer