Photostory #479A: Patrolling the World's Longest Shoreline: The Canadian Coast Guard
National Film Board of Canada
October 12, 1968
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
As winter's gales loom menacingly close and the grey scud flies across seas turned sombre by lowering clouds, the men and ships of Canada's Coast Guard make ready for their arduous continuing tasks. With the last freighter safely away on the high seas, the long arctic passages are closed down, warning beacons set along barren northern coasts are doused and ice-vulnerable buoys and markers are recovered for depot servicing. One busy season is at an end, another is commencing. Now is the time for the speedy search and rescue launches to double their alertness, and stand ready for the call to dash through vicious seas to help vessels in distress. The ponderous capital ships of the fleet, massive-hulled icebreakers of immense power, repair alongside their home bases after the lonely struggles of the high arctic patrols and prepare for more battles in the winter ice along the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Atlantic seaboard. Today, with nine long-range, helicopter-carrying, major icebreakers and a varied fleet of 135 additional vessels, the Canadian Coast Guard is the world's second largest (after Russia's) fleet capable of operating in heavy ice conditions. And new additions to the Coast Guard, including the use of specially-equipped hovercraft, keep this fleet among the most modern. Red-hulled, with gleaming white super-structures, the craft of the Coast Guard - a 2,000-man strong civilian task force - are seen the length and breadth of the nation's far-reaching coastline - along the Pacific slopes of the Rocky Mountains, in mid-ocean on weather station, in the far corners of the Arctic Archipelago, through the extensive inland waters and along the bounding eastern seaboard. The Canadian Coast Guard is constantly at hand to service the needs of maritime interests.