The Canadian and United States Coast Guards – Working Together to Ensure the Great Lakes are Safe and Protected

Julie Gascon, Assistant Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Central and Arctic Region and Rear Adm. June Ryan, the commander of the USCG 9th District met with their employees aboard Coast Guard ships and a CCG helicopter in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie Michigan March 21 2016. Photo credit: USCG

Sault Ste. Marie, ON - Assistant Commissioner Julie Gascon and Captain Signe Gotfredsen of the Canadian Coast Guard, Central and Arctic Region welcomed Rear Admiral June E. Ryan, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley Monday March 21, 2016.

After a relatively mild winter on the Great Lakes escorting ships through ice and preventing ice jams, CCGS Samuel Risley was upbound through the Soo Locks and the St. Mary’s River to Lake Superior for further icebreaking at the Port of Thunder Bay and buoy-tending duties.

"The work of both Coast Guards is world-class," noted Assistant Commissioner Gascon. "Our brave Coast Guard personnel on both sides of the border have a critical role in fostering safe, secure and environmentally-responsible maritime activity here on the Great Lakes, Georgian Bay and connecting waterways.”

"We greatly appreciate our close partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard on our shared waterways," said Rear Adm. June Ryan, U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District commander. "Crews from both countries play a vital role in ensuring the safe movement of cargoes, flood mitigation, and search-and-rescue serving our maritime communities during each ice-season and we look forward to further strengthening this partnership in years to come.”

In addition to icebreaking, the two Coast Guards deliver a multitude of maritime services including Search and Rescue, Environmental Response, Marine Communications and Traffic Services, Aids to Navigation, Maritime Security and Waterways Management.

Following their voyage on board CCGS Samuel Risley, Assistant Commissioner Gascon and Rear Admiral Ryan embarked USCGC Morro Bay to meet Lt. Kenneth Pepper, commanding officer, and crew. The two Coast Guard leaders also inspected the Canadian Coast Guard’s newest helicopter assigned to Great Lakes and Arctic Operations. Based in Parry Sound, Ontario, the new Bell 429 helicopter is a crucial component for delivering Canadian Coast Guard services and maintaining public safety. CCG helicopters are a workhorse of the waterways, flying to remote sites to support construction and maintenance of CCG communication sites, oil pollution response, ice monitoring and support to Government of Canada Science programs.

The day concluded with a tour of the United States Coast Guard’s Vessel Traffic Services St. Mary’s River in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. On average during the past 15 years, VTS St. Mary’s River safely and efficiently moved more than 61,000 commercial vessels through the 77 nautical miles of the St. Mary’s Vessel Traffic Service area.

For more information about the Canadian Coast Guard, visit
For more information about the United States Coast Guard, visit


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