The Canadian Coast Guard inaugurated its new station in Hartley Bay on June 28, 2024. This initiative, part of the Government of Canada’s expansive $3.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, aims to enhance marine safety and safeguard the nation’s waters for current and future generations.

The grand opening event, which took place last Tuesday, was a collaborative celebration between the Canadian Coast Guard and the Gitga’at First Nation. The highlight of the occasion was the commissioning of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Cadboro Bay.

This project marks an exceptional partnership, with the Canadian Coast Guard and the Gitga’at First Nation working in close coordination during the station’s planning and construction phases. Strategically positioned on Hartley Bay’s southwest shore, the new facility includes a main station building, a residential unit capable of housing six personnel, and an expansive floating concrete breakwater.

Hartley Bay Coast Guard Station. Image source:

“The importance of this new facility in Hartley Bay funded under the Government of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, and the enhanced services the Canadian Coast Guard will provide from the station and the CCGS Cadboro Bay, reflects our close collaboration with the Gitga’at First Nation. The combined effort and partnership with First Nations and coastal communities will help keep mariners safer and protect our marine environment for years to come,” explained the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

The dedication ceremony for the CCGS Cadboro Bay was a momentous event, featuring the traditional christening ritual of breaking a ceremonial bottle on the ship’s bow. In operation since 2019, the CCGS Cadboro Bay is a high-endurance, self-righting lifeboat designed to enhance search and rescue operations along British Columbia’s coastline. This vessel is part of a fleet of 20 advanced search and rescue lifeboats constructed under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, aimed at equipping the Coast Guard with state-of-the-art, Canadian-made resources necessary for executing critical services.

“The opening of this station is another important milestone for Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan. Working together with Indigenous and coastal communities, the OPP continues to make shipping safer, protect our marine ecosystems, and improve how we prevent and respond to marine incidents,” expressed the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Transport.

Uniquely, the CCGS Cadboro Bay is sponsored by three members of the Gitga’at First Nation, representing each of their community’s clans. This is a first in the history of the Canadian Coast Guard, symbolizing a deep-rooted connection and collective commitment to the vessel’s future service and success.

“Since time immemorial, we have been the guardians of our waterways, looking out for the safety of our people and visitors in their time of need while travelling through our territory. This is part of our DNA and one of the cornerstones of our society; it is just who we are and what we do. In modern times, we are partners in search and rescue operations in our region with the Canadian Coast Guard and other Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue stations. This investment by the federal government to establish a Canadian Coast Guard Station in Hartley Bay will address a major gap in Canadian Coast Guard coverage between Prince Rupert and Bella Bella. We are very excited to take this relationship between the Gitga’at First Nation and the Canadian Coast Guard to the next level as we work side-by-side to provide an unparalleled level of protection for mariners and the environment in our region,” confirmed Bruce Reece, Chief Councillor, Gitga’at First Nation.

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The Oceans Protection Plan exemplifies a collaborative Canadian achievement. By uniting Indigenous Peoples, industry, local communities, scientists, and government bodies, this initiative is not only protecting our environment but also fostering economic growth and supporting quality jobs nationwide. The expansion of this plan is set to ensure the continued safety and health of Canada’s oceans and coasts, advance reconciliation, and build a sustainable future for the next generations.

“In partnership with First Nations, the Canadian Coast Guard works hard to protect the safety of mariners and the environment. As we celebrate together the opening of our new station in Hartley Bay, equipped with the CCGS Cadboro Bay, we can be proud in the knowledge of their lasting impact for the on-water safety and security of nearby communities, ” said Mario Pelletier, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard.