Canadian Coast Guard investing in new Aids to Navigation System for Sydney Harbour

News release

July 16, 2021

Sydney, Nova Scotia - The safety of mariners and the protection of the marine environment are top priorities of the Canadian Coast Guard. The Coast Guard’s Aids to Navigation Program helps mariners confirm their positions, stay inside navigable channels and avoid marine hazards.

Today, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard announced that the Canadian Coast Guard will be moving forward with the development of a new system of fixed and floating aids to navigation for the Port of Sydney, in Nova Scotia. The estimated investment for the new system design is approximately $4.5 million.

The Canadian Coast Guard currently maintains the navigational aids marking the safe passage into Sydney Harbour. The current navigational aids system does not support the Port and users to maximize full potential for deeper draught vessels.   

In consultation with the Port of Sydney Development Corporation, the Coast Guard is working with key users and stakeholders on requirements and design of a new system of navigational aids for the Port. The new navigational aids system will  provide an increased level of service and allow for the safe use of the deep water channel that was created in a dredging project in 2012.

The conceptual design is nearing completion, and the Canadian Coast Guard will begin pre-project work this year, with the intention of beginning installation work in 2022.  


“The federal government is investing in the Port of Sydney so we can make it safer for mariners arriving in our community. Dependable aids to navigation are critical to managing vessel traffic. Thanks to my colleagues Mike Kelloway and Jaime Battiste for their advocacy on this project. I’m so pleased to see this investment that supports the economic heart of the community.”

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Securing these navigational aids will realize the potential of the dredged and deepened Sydney Harbour, opening our port to large vessels and increases in traffic as our economies reopen and tourism returns, unlocking the economic potential around Sydney Harbour.” 

Jaime Battiste, Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria

“Navigational aids for Sydney Harbour are a key piece of infrastructure for Cape Breton-Canso. This is not only a matter of investing in marine safety and safe passage - the investment ensures that we can begin to welcome larger vessels into our dredged harbour. I’m proud to be part of a federal government that continues to see the value in our local communities and marine industry.”

Mike Kelloway, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso

Quick facts

  • Canadian Coast Guard’s Aids to Navigation Program is responsible for approximately 17,000 short-range aids to navigation, such as buoys, leading marks (ranges), and position confirmation lights; and maintains a network of 19 Differential GPS stations throughout Canada.

  • Canadian Coast Guard employees (including ship and helicopter personnel), and contractors keep the buoys and other aids in working condition.

  • The Canadian Coast Guard regularly issues navigational warnings (NAVWARNs) to ensure mariners are kept informed of any issues affecting aids to navigation, and they help the Canadian Hydrographic Service update charts and sailing directions by issuing Notices to Mariners. 

Associated links



Olivia McMackin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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