Presentation of the Canadian Coast Guard Commissioner’s Commendation Award to the crew from the Société des traversiers du Québec

News release

November 24, 2022

Québec City, Quebec - The Canadian Coast Guard is proud to announce the presentation of the Commissioner’s Commendation Award to the crew of the MV Joseph-Savard ferry, from the Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ), composed of Captain Hugues Bergeron and his crew Lieutenant Jean-Sébastien Mailloux and the sailors Benoit Boudreault-Dufour, Olivier Mailloux-Castonguay, Jean Fortin and Martin Turcotte. In August 2020, they acted quickly and heroically to successfully rescue two kayakers in distress in the Baie-Saint-Paul area.

The Canadian Coast Guard Commissioner’s Commendation is one of the highest recognitions granted to our employees and our partners. The award honours meritorious behaviours and results including a display of conspicuous courage and bravery in circumstances of peril.

On August 9, 2020, in severe weather conditions that included high winds and waves over one metre high, two kayakers in distress called for assistance. The Canadian Coast Guard Marine Rescue Sub-Centre tasked the CCGS Cap Rosier and relayed a distress call to all mariners in the area.

The crew on board MV Joseph-Savard, the ferry that connects Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive and l’île aux Coudres, did not hesitate to change course and head to the rescue of the two kayakers. Despite the wind and waves that slowed their path, the crew was able to locate and recover the kayakers who were conscious but showing signs of hypothermia. The crew then led the ferry to shore, where paramedics were able to attend to them.

Without the MV Joseph-Savard crew’s initiative, teamwork and dedication, the kayakers’ chances of survival were slim.

This heroic rescue didn’t receive the merit it deserved at the time because of the safety measures required the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the Canadian Coast Guard 60th anniversary, and with the return to normal operations, we take the opportunity to present this highly deserved award.

As a reminder, any marine emergency can be reported to the Canadian Coast Guard at all times at 1-800-463-4393 or through channel 16 on VHF radios.


“An effective search and rescue system depends greatly on the initial and timely action of local citizens, in partnership with governments. I am pleased to award the crew of the MV Joseph-Savard this well-deserved recognition for their decisive action in rescuing the two kayakers.”

Mario Pelletier, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard

“This event demonstrates very well the importance of the collaboration between various partners during a search and rescue mission in Canadian waters. Our first mandate is to save human life at sea, but it can only be fulfilled with joint work of all the Seaway’s users.”

Marc-André Meunier, Assistant Commissioner, Canadian Coast Guard, Central region

“The STQ counts on dedicated crews who are committed in their work, and also in the safety of our clients and the whole population who navigate on the St-Lawrence River. It is with great pride that I want to congratulate, in the name of all STQ’s employees, the crew from MV Joseph-Savard for this heroic rescue.”

Stéphane Lafaut, Chief Executive Officer, Société des traversiers du Québec

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Coast Guard leads the maritime component of the federal Search and Rescue system through distress monitoring, coordination of maritime incidents, and by providing assistance to disabled vessels and those in distress on the water.

  • Canadians rely on the Canadian Coast Guard to keep waterways safe for mariners, protect the marine environment and respond to calls for assistance 365 days a year. On an average day, the Canadian Coast Guard coordinates the response to 19 search and rescue incidents, responds to 13 search and rescue incidents, assisting 43 people and saving 13 lives. This is why providing Canadian Coast Guard personnel with the vessels they need to continue to deliver these critical services to Canadians is a priority for the Government of Canada.

Associated links


Communications Branch
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Quebec Region  

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