Victoria, BC: For 60 years, the Canadian Coast Guard has been helping mariners in need, responding to environmental threats on the water, and maintaining vital shipping corridors 24/7, 365 days a year.
On Saturday, Mario Pelletier, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, officially opened “Coast Guard Day” as part of the Canadian Coast Guard’s 60th anniversary celebration in Victoria, and announced the start of operations on the west coast for the CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell.
Coast Guard Day is a one-day open house that provides the community of Greater Victoria with a glimpse into the many roles and services the Canadian Coast Guard plays in the marine community, and an opportunity to learn more about the wide range of exciting careers available.
The open house also provided an opportunity for the public to tour the CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell as the ship begins operations on the west coast of British Columbia. Originally from the east coast, CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell is a 67.68m high endurance, all-weather patrol vessel capable of carrying cargo, buoy handling, and longline helicopter slinging off the aft deck.
After arriving on the west coast, CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell underwent a $17.3M refit under the repair, refit, and maintenance pillar of the National Shipbuilding Strategy as an important part of the Canadian Coast Guard’s fleet management plan.
Ensuring that the Canadian Coast Guard has the equipment needed to protect British Columbia’s waters and all who travel on those waters is a key priority for the Government of Canada. CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell will support Canadian Coast Guard programs including light station re-supply, aids to navigation, search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, and other Fisheries and Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard requirements.
Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said: “I wish everybody attending the Canadian Coast Guard’s 60th anniversary celebration open house and marking the start of service for CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell in Victoria a great day! Under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Government of Canada is ensuring that the Canadian Coast Guard has the equipment they need to protect our coasts. Crewed and supported by the many skilled Canadian Coast Guard personnel, the CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell will provide many years of service in British Columbia.”
Commissioner Mario Pelletier said: “It is with great pleasure that I welcome everyone to Coast Guard Day in Victoria. This day is one more opportunity to celebrate in a year full of celebrations marking the Canadian Coast Guard’s 60 years of service to Canadians. I invite members of the public to join us, take a tour of the CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell, and learn more about the amazing work our employees do every day.”
• This year’s inaugural Coast Guard Day welcomed community members to visit the Canadian Coast Guard Base in Victoria from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to see demonstrations, tour the CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell, and talk with personnel about the wide variety of careers the Canadian Coast Guard offers, including Marine Communications and Traffic Services, engineering, carpentry, marine spill response, technology, light keeping, search and rescue, response planning, and of course, sailing on our ships!
• The Canadian Coast Guard theme for this anniversary was “Celebrate the past. Navigate the future.” Throughout 2022, we are looking back on all of our accomplishments in the last 60 years, and focussing on our future as a progressive, innovative organization.
• This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Inshore Rescue Boat stations operations in British Columbia. Since 1972, the Inshore Rescue Boat program has been providing search and rescue coverage on important parts of the coast, while developing the next generation of leaders.
• 2022 is the 30th anniversary of the Rescue Specialist Program, which has elevated the level of care that the Canadian Coast Guard is able to provide mariners in distress. Canadian Coast Guard Rescue Specialists are trained at level similar to Emergency Medical Responders (EMR) with additional adjuncts designed to meet the marine and coastal incidents that we regularly respond to. There are over 100 Rescue Specialists onboard Canadian Coast Guard ships and lifeboats in the Western Region.
• The CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell is based in Victoria, British Columbia, serving the Canadian Coast Guard’s Western Region.
• CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell was constructed in 1985 by Marystown Shipyard in Newfoundland. Originally built as an offshore support vessel, it was converted into a search and rescue vessel by the Canadian Coast Guard, and entered service in December 1987.
• After joining the Western Region’s fleet, the CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell underwent Vessel Life Extension work under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Work was undertaken by Allied Shipbuilders in North Vancouver and included painting the hull and deck, updating navigation equipment and networks, installing a new cargo hold and hatch, replacing propulsion thrusters, modifying the ballast system and installing new machinery.