By Charles D Maginley
ISBN : 1551250756Vanwell Publishing Limited 1 Northrup Crescent PO Box 2131 St Catharines ON L2R 7S2266 Pages
The Canadian Coast toils in relative obscurity, both at home in Canada as well as abroad. Most Canadians imagine their Coast Guard is similar in stature to the US Coast Guard with their military structure, armaments and missions. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Founded in 1962, the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) brought together various government icebreaking, lifesaving and aids to navigation services under one umbrella. The roles and long been the purview of the civil service mariners and it was feared that any new service would impart military customs and discipline. However this never happened and the service ran along a mercantile rank structure with ship officers being Master, Mate and so on.
The CCG had no law enforcement or powers of arrest until the 1995 merger with the Dept of Fisheries fleet.
Under an unwieldy bureaucratic setup, the CCG has always been plagued by lack of centralized control. Each region around the country wields all the power within their district and discourages any cooperation with other regions. This setup lead to the adoption of a number of buoy handling cranes on the Type 1100 icebreaker program, driving up the cost of the ships.
Mr Maginley has done a good job of trying to make sense out of this complex organization and should be commended for his efforts.
Two small errors were noted:
1. Point Atkinson lighthouse is misidentified as Port Atkinson.
2. The civil tug Curb shown in the photo on page 165 was not operating under her former name of USS Curb.
This work is recommended for those wishing a greater understanding of the Canadian Coast Guard.