Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Yellowknife Unit
Yellowknife Coast Guard Auxilliary
Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary


The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA) is a nonprofit organisation and a registered charity made up of volunteer resources throughout Canada. The CCGA has been in existence since 1978 and provides assistance to the Coast Guard and the National Defense with search and rescue and safe boating programs.


The tradition of vessels responding to distress situations is part of the fabric and, in many cases, the law for most maritimes nations.

In Canada, the participation of volunteers in marine rescue pre-dates Confederation. A loose network of unpaid rescue agents reported incidents and organized searches for overdue vessels.

By the nineteen seventies, it became clear that a formal volunteer network was needed to provide a more effective response to marine incidents and implement a wider safety net for mariners.

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary was formed in 1978-79 in an effort to enhance search and rescue coverage and capability, and to better coordinate volunteer efforts. The organization has been saving lives ever since.

Mission Statement

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to Search and Rescue (SAR) and safe boating activities.

Our mission is to provide a permanent day and night search and rescue service to cover marine requirements in Canada and prevent the loss of life and injury.

To fulfill this mission, our objectives are to :

* Save 100% of 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.

For more information, please visit the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary website.

History & Background of the Yellowknife Unit


Yellowknife has always been an active port. Although commercial activity has declined in recent years, recreational boating has become a very popular pastime. The number and size of recreational vessels in Yellowknife has increased substantially in the last ten years. Although there are no official counts, the city’s two yacht clubs reflect sizeable memberships and facilities like the Pier 1 marina support a growing boating community. A simple poll amongst your friends will reveal many active fishermen, sailors, kayakers, canoeists or recreational boaters.

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Yellowknife Unit

Crewed entirely by a growing force of over 40 volunteers, the CCGA operates as first responder to marine search and rescue emergencies on Great Slave Lake and is tasked all water-based search and rescue for the northern half of the lake. During an average summer, for example, the CCGA attends approximately 12 incidents, most without serious casualty.

CCGA (C&A) Yellowknife Unit is a unit of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary - Central and Arctic Region, under District 9, which includes the NWT and Alberta. In the NWT, we are fortunate to have a close relationship with the RCMP through a Memorandum of Understanding. The Yellowknife unit operates one RCMP vessel, the "Nick Martin".

Whenever possible, we also work to promote safe boating to the public at local and regional boat and trade shows. We also provide safety support to a number of “on the water” community events, such as the Abilities Cup sailboat race, the Commissioner's Cup race, and the Float Plane Fly-In.

Yellowknife CCGA is particularly proud of its ongoing volunteer training. We work very hard to prepare our volunteers for their responsibilities and we are fortunate to have a number of members who are active trainers. Almost all of our training is done within the Unit, with volunteers attending weekly “dry land” training From January to May and twice-weekly “on the water” training sessions on the boats in the summer. Considering the commitment required, we continue to retain a substantial number of dedicated members from year to year.

Members of our unit have competed in Central & Arctic's Regional SAR Challenge. Our team achieved 4th place in 2005, 1st place in 2006, and also competed in the last ever ISAR in Portsmouth, VA in 2006.

If you would like to see more of what the Yellowknife Unit does, you can browese the images in our photo gallery.

Photo Gallery

Funding & Partnerships


Like all Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary units across Canada, we are formally recognized and sanctioned by the Canadian Coast Guard. However, our Federal funding provides only for operational costs incurred during actual rescues. This funding does not cover costs related to either training or equipping the CCGA or to maintaining our vessels. In fact, less than 30% of our operational funding comes from government agencies, and the national Auxiliary program is defined as “community supported.”

Although the Auxiliary remains active in its fundraising, with the many responsibilities our volunteers carry, the Unit also relies on direct contributions from the community.

The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Yellowknife unit is fortunate to have excellent working relationships and significant support from local safety authorities. Our activities include operation of three rescue vessels based here in Yellowknife, one on permanent loan from the RCMP and the other two are owned and maintained by the unit. The cost of maintaining and operating these two vessels is the responsibility of the Yellowknife unit. We have a strong partnership relationship with the Yellowknife Fire Department, which provides communications and administrative support to the CCGA, and participates with the auxiliary in joint exercises and training activities.

Contributing to the Unit

Our Auxiliary unit is supported by a dedicated fundraising body, the Yellowknife Marine Rescue Society. The Society provides finances for our training and operating costs for the season, through fundraising efforts.

Be a sponsor
We welcome contributions - both financial and in-kind services & supplies - from businesses and individuals. Your sponsorship helps us stay ready for any marine emergency. Your help will be gratefully acknowledged.

You may donate:

Online here,


Please indicate your donation is for the Yellowknife Unit.

Or by calling us at 867-444-1073

Lend Your Employees
You can also contribute by making it possible for your employees to volunteer. Impact on work time is minimal, but they can make a life-or-death difference to someone on the water.

Current Sponsors

Unit Resources

Unit Resources

Currently, Yellowknife Coast Guard Auxiliary operates three vessels.

Nick Martin

Ranger RIP 2012


Zodiac 1

Zodiac 1



Typically, YKCGA responds with boats on the water within 15-20 minutes of each call. In order to deliver the fastest response times possible, members of the CCGA are issued pagers while on duty watch. Each week, pagers are rotated to members of the oncoming watch. Our members are paged out by the on-duty Watch Leader when a tasking is authorized.

The unit has greatly increased its range and capabilities with the addition of two twin-engined high-speed all-conditions response vessels. The "Ranger," a Zodiac 733 rigid-hull inflatable rescue vessel from the Canadian Coast Guard's Inshore Rescue Service, allows us to offer rapid response to a wider area surrounding Yellowknife and gives us enough range to reach the East Arm of the lake for longer search efforts. In addition to the Ranger we have our smaller RHI, "Zodiac One".


Be a volunteer

Volunteering with the Auxiliary is both challenging and rewarding. You will learn new skills and refine your boating ability as you perform a valuable lifesaving service to your community.

- Radio Licensing
- First Aid & CPR
- Search Techniques
- Navigation
- Advanced Boat Handling
- Rescue Techniques

What does it cost?
Only your time. The Auxiliary covers the costs of training and equipment. What we ask is that you make a serious commitment to the unit. Your crewmates and the boating public will be counting on you.

- Feb - May: 2-3 hours/week training
- June - Oct: 3-4 hours/week training
- June - Sept: Be on call every other week

Please see the Training section for more details on the type of training offered to Unit members.

We respond to 10-16 calls per season, most under 4 hours.
Most calls occur in the evening or on weekends when more recreational boaters are on the water.

If your work doesn't permit you to be on call, you can still join and train, but find another way to contribute. We always welcome any help with logistics, boat maintenance or fundraising.



Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories