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.
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.
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
The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Yellowknife
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.
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.
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 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
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
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:
DONATE NOW ONLINE...
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.
Currently, Yellowknife Coast Guard Auxiliary operates
Ranger RIP 2012
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
- 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
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
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