ARCHIVED - 1  What Fleet Does Every Day

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Through its service to Canada's commercial fishing, maritime transportation, shipping and tourism industries as well as to Canada's recreational boaters, the Canadian Coast Guard's fleet of red and white ships, helicopters and air cushion vehicles is an iconic symbol of maritime safety and of the sovereignty of Canadian waters. Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, Coast Guard is ready to serve across Canada's three oceans, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Great Lakes and other inland waterways, and under some of the harshest weather conditions.

On an average day, Fleet delivers services on behalf of Coast Guard and many other government departments and agencies.

On any given day, Fleet provides the vessels and crews that:

  • save 10 lives;
  • assist 58 people in 26 search and rescue cases;
  • service 55 aids to navigation;
  • assist with the management of 2,325 commercial ship movements;
  • escort four commercial ships through ice during the ice season;
  • carry out 11 fisheries patrols;
  • support three hydrographic missions;
  • support eight scientific surveys;
  • deal with three reported pollution events; and
  • survey five kilometres of navigation channel bottom.

Mandate and Governance

Canada is a maritime nation whose economic prosperity relies heavily on marine transportation and resource-based industries. It has the longest coastline of any country in the world. Its ocean and inland waterways, including the Arctic, St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes as well as the Saguenay and Mackenzie rivers, are critical to the transportation of its goods.

SAR officers on a Fast Rescue Craft
SAR officers on a Fast Rescue Craft

The Constitution Act, 1867, ss. 91 (9, 10) confers on the federal government the exclusive jurisdiction to govern all matters related to navigation, navigational aids (such as beacons, buoys and lighthouses) and shipping on the country's oceans and inland waterways.

Under Fisheries and Oceans Canada's (DFO) program activity architecture, the Fleet directorate falls under the Fleet Operational Readiness program activity. As the department's largest program, Fleet Operational Readiness is divided into three subprograms: Fleet Opera­tional Capability, Fleet Maintenance and Fleet Procurement. Fleet's responsibilities and mandate are directed by the Fleet Operational Capability subprogram.

Fleet itself is not the governmental authority for any on-water programs. Rather, it serves as a mechanism for the delivery of Coast Guard and Government of Canada's on-water mandate. Its operations are therefore 100-percent "client focused" and are directly linked to their requirements

Fleet's main responsibilities include:

  • coordinating, monitoring and reporting on national Fleet service delivery and budget;
  • identifying mission and operational requirements for current and future vessels, and establishing the associated directives, policies and activities in support of Fleet operations, including monitoring;
  • auditing vessels, establishing policies, ensuring continuous improvement, monitoring performance and managing the Fleet Safety and Security Management System; and
  • human resources planning and professional development for seagoing personnel, certification, recruitment, retention, collective bargaining, union and operational human resources management issues.

Figure 1 illustrates how Fleet serves as a mechanism for the delivery of its clients' programs.

Figure 1: Fleet as Enabler

Fleet as enabler