Maritime Security

Maritime Security Fact Sheet [PDF - 966 KB]


  • Initiatives deliver dedicated capacities and collateral benefits to the Department as a whole
  • By leveraging capacities, program is both cost-effective and efficient
  • Provide both contingency-based and on-going operational support to other government departments with security and enforcement mandates
  • Maritime Security Branch is the departmental lead with support from CCG and departmental experts
  • Enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness


The role of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) Maritime Security Branch is to meet government expectations for a departmental contribution to national security through proactive leadership and management of the maritime security file within Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). CCG involvement in maritime security is based on its obligation under the Oceans Act to provide ships, aircraft and other maritime services in support of federal maritime priorities.

How It Works

In support of national security, CCG uses its vessel fleet, on-water expertise and extensive vessel monitoring systems to:

  • Enhance awareness of possible maritime security threats;
  • Support on-water law enforcement and responsiveness; and
  • Enhance collaboration with departments and agencies throughout the maritime security community.

To support an enhanced awareness of possible maritime security threats, CCG provides valuable vessel identification and tracking information to partner agencies using its traffic monitoring systems. This information is analysed by the maritime security community in order to identify possible security threats. The use of data from CCG’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) systems is integral to this process. AIS involves the surveillance and identification of vessels approaching and operating within the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway and up to 40 nautical miles from Canada’s coasts. The LRIT system provides positional data on Canadian flag vessels, international vessels destined for Canadian ports, and vessels transiting within 1,000 nautical miles of Canada’s shores.

The CCGS Martha L. Black alongside a Canadian Navy ship

As the owner and operator of Canada’s federal civilian fleet, CCG supports on-water law enforcement and responsiveness by providing CCG vessels, equipment, personnel and expertise to Canada’s federal policing and security agencies to allow for more effective policing and protection of Canada’s waterways. For example, CCG provides this support on a routine basis through the joint Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)-CCG Marine Security Enforcement Team (MSET) Program. MSET provides a dedicated security enforcement capacity on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway, where CCG is responsible for vessel operation and RCMP is responsible for all law enforcement-related activities. CCG also supports law enforcement and responsiveness in the maritime domain on an as-needed, contingency basis to federal security partners.

Since 2001, Canada has utilized a cooperative, multi-agency approach to securing Canadian waters. CCG is recognized as a core federal maritime security partner that provides essential information and services to support this collaborative approach. CCG’s Maritime Security Branch is an active member in the interdepartmental maritime security community and is responsible for working with partners to develop and implement strategies that support Canada’s national security priorities. CCG’s significant contribution to the two coastal and St. Lawrence Seaway – Great Lakes Marine Security Operations Centres (MSOC) is a notable example of this. The MSOCs are designed to generate maritime situational awareness by combining the knowledge and skill sets of the government agencies engaged in, or in support of, maritime security.