Marine Communications and Traffic Services officer career


"I’m the one person in constant contact with the boater in distress who can make the situation better, or make that person feel like things will be okay. Imagine how scary it would be to be on your sailboat, lost in the dark, trying to find your way home in a storm – but when you call for help, a voice answers you right away. The relief I hear, and the thanks I get for being that voice of reason, makes it all worthwhile."
–Shane W., MCTS Officer, British Columbia


What is a Marine Communications and Traffic Services officer?

As a Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Officer, you are the eyes and ears of Canadian marine traffic. You work on behalf of the Canadian Coast Guard to provide one of the first responses to vessels in distress. You also oversee the safety of Canada’s waterways by communicating with vessels, issuing weather bulletins, and monitoring marine traffic to prevent accidents and make sure that vessels are complying with Canadian laws. The services you provide help protect human lives at sea, conserve the marine environment, and efficiently manage ship movements.

This career is perfect if you are looking for fast-paced, exciting work, thrive on excitement, and are capable of multi-tasking with a calm, clear, and focused mind.


Your responsibilities as an MCTS Officer include:

  • providing communications and marine traffic services to the marine transport industry, different federal and provincial departments, recreational boaters, and fishers
  • coordinating traffic on the water at all times to reduce the probability of accidents
  • taking action to prevent collisions, groundings, or strikings
  • providing continuous monitoring of all marine frequencies
  • responding to distress calls
  • acting as a go-between for Search and Rescue and the vessel in danger
  • communicating the needs of ships to those on shore

Where you will work

MCTS Officers work out of three regions:

  • Western Region
  • Central & Arctic Region
  • Atlantic Region

Career opportunities

  • MCTS Centre Shift Supervisor
  • MCTS Officer
  • Canadian Coast Guard College Instructor
  • various positions with the federal public service

Income and benefits

An MCTS Officer position offers a competitive salary and benefits. The average annual salary ranges from roughly $38,000 to $83,000 (based on experience and time worked). Please see the collective agreement for current salary rates.

Hours of work

MCTS Officers work in shifts, because MCTS centres operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. For the most part, you will work 8 to 12 hours shifts, for an average of 37.5 hours a week.

Is this career right for me?

These qualities and interests are essential for this career:

  • interest in the marine field
  • good oral communication skills
  • initiative, judgment, and tolerance to stress
  • ability to multi-task and manage many issues at once
  • teamwork ability
  • interest in using highly advanced equipment
  • bilingual
  • ability to work irregular schedules of 8 or 12 hours (day and night)

Still want to know more? Check out our videos of MCTS Officers at work.

Training and education requirements

The Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney, Nova Scotia is the only institution offering MCTS Officer Training. The 25-week program is offered in both official languages and consists of mixed theory and practical simulator classes. After successfully completing the College program, students will do three to six months of on-the-job training at an MCTS Centre, and then be certified as an MCTS Officer.


To join the Canadian Coast Guard as an MCTS Officer, you must meet all Requirements. You must then apply through GC Jobs (do not apply directly to the Coast Guard).