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Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary

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Title: Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Canadian Coast Guard, International Search and Rescue Competition, CMRA (disambiguation), Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, Sea rescue organisations
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary or CCGA (French: Garde côtière auxiliaire canadienne or GCAC) is a Canada-wide volunteer marine association dedicated to marine search and rescue (SAR) and the promotion of boating safety, through association with the Canadian Coast Guard under the auspices of Canada's National Search and Rescue Program.


  • Mandate 1
  • History 2
  • Current operations 3
    • Regions 3.1
      • CCGA Detachment 535 - Toronto Search and Rescue 3.1.1
  • Uniforms 4
  • Plaques 5
  • See also 6
  • External links 7
  • References 8


Members of the CCGA are usually recreational boaters and commercial fishermen who use their vessels to assist the Canadian Coast Guard with search and rescue (SAR) as well as boating safety education. CCGA members who assist in SAR operations have their vessel insurance covered by CCG, as well as any fuel and operating costs associated with a particular tasking.

The CCGA enables the CCG to provide maritime SAR coverage in many isolated areas of Canada's coastlines without having to maintain an active base and/or vessels in those areas. The auxiliary is dedicated to providing a permanent day and night search and rescue service to cover marine requirements in Canada and prevent the loss of life and injury.

  • Save lives at risk
  • Reduce the number and severity of SAR incidents
  • Promote marine safety
  • Support the Canadian Coast Guard
  • Provide a humanitarian service
  • Maintain the highest professional standards
  • Promote dedication and pride of membership


Coastal lifesaving stations manned by volunteers pre-dates Canadian Confederation (1867), with some coastal services in what is now Atlantic Canada dating to the early 1800s. The country's first motorized lifeboat was established in 1907 by volunteers at Bamfield, British Columbia.

Formal responsibility for organizing and overseeing search and rescue in Canada was given to the rescue coordination centres (RCCs) that would manage SAR response activities.

Changes to the Canada Shipping Act in 1961 and the formation of the Canadian Coast Guard in 1962 saw the Department of Transport, which had responsibility for the CCG from 1962-1995, given responsibility for maritime search and rescue in support of the Minister of National Defence's mandate. As a result, the Minister of Transport designated "marine rescue controllers" who were CCG personnel that would work within the RCAF's rescue co-ordination centres. The RCCs were renamed joint rescue coordination centres (JRCCs) to denote the dual role of air and maritime search and rescue as well as their joint operation by RCAF and CCG personnel.

CCG search and rescue officials first formally recognized volunteer rescuers in 1963. Volunteer "search masters" were individuals with access to seaworthy boats equipped with radios and volunteer "rescue agents" were individuals who served as local points of communication with CCG maritime rescue controllers operating in JRCCs. A special metal sign was provided to identify an individual who volunteered with maritime search and rescue. A distinctive pennant based on the design of the CCG jack was also issued: white hoist, blue fly, single red maple leaf with the letters S and R on either side of the leaf.

By the mid 1970s, it became clear that a formal organization for training volunteer search and rescuers was necessary in order to improve the CCG's response to maritime search and rescue incidents, particularly in remote locations. This was confirmed in a 1975 study commissioned by CCG and led to the Canadian Marine Rescue Auxiliary or CMRA being formed in late 1978 as a non-profit organization in an effort to enhance search and rescue coverage and capability, and to better coordinate volunteer efforts. The CMRA was renamed the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary or CCGA in 1997.

Current operations

Similar to its predecessor, the CMRA, the CCGA is a non-profit organization of volunteers who provide maritime search and rescue services for the federal government upon request from one of Canada's three Joint Rescue Coordination Centres (JRCCs) and two MRSC's.

CCGA units may respond on their own or may be asked to respond with regular CCG search and rescue vessels or Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft, as determined by the JRCC in charge of coordinating the response.

Some CCGA units on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as well as the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River actually have dedicated rescue vessels such as British Columbia and CCG Station Sambro in Nova Scotia.


The CCGA operations are divided into five regions which reflect the way that the Canada Revenue Agency with the ability to issue charitable donation receipts.

Newfoundland and Labrador

CCGA operations in Newfoundland and Labrador are grouped under Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (Newfoundland and Labrador) Incorporated. (see:


CCGA operations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island are grouped under Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (Maritimes) Incorporated. (see:


CCGA operations in Quebec are grouped under Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (Quebec) Incorporated. (see:

Central and Arctic

CCGA operations in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut are grouped under Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (Central and Arctic) Incorporated. (see:

CCGA Detachment 535 - Toronto Search and Rescue

Formed in 2011, T-SAR is a volunteer unit of the Auxiliary since 2015 operating in Toronto along in Lake Ontarioto provide additional resources for Toronto Police Marine Unit and Toronto Fire.[1] It operates in single 30' Pursuit 2870 SAR vessel and based at Bluffer's Park.[2]


CCGA operations in British Columbia and Yukon are grouped under the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (Pacific) Incorporated,[3] which has been re-branded as Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue or RCM-SAR.

Although the legal incorporated name remains CCGA (Pacific) Inc., this service re-branded itself in 2012 as RCM-SAR to reflect the service's distinct geographic identity. It is also hoped that the change will assist the public in British Columbia and Yukon to better understand the community-based nature of the service and the importance of local support in maintaining rescue vessels, recruiting and training volunteers, and equipping them with the tools they need to save lives on the water. The title "Royal" was granted by Her Majesty

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^  


  • Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary - National
  • Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary - Central and Arctic Region
  • Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary - Pacific Region
  • RCM-SAR - (Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Pacific Region)
  • International Maritime Rescue Federation

External links

See also


These CCGA uniforms are based on Canadian Coast Guard uniforms, however, they differ by having unique CCGA badges and insignia that are silver in colour whereas regular CCG fleet personnel have gold insignia.

Although the majority of CCGA volunteers across Canada respond to incidents upon being tasked by a JRCC in civilian clothes, the service does have a uniform that can be worn on formal occasions and occasionally on operations.

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