Bulletin No.: 09/1980

Date (Y-M-D): 1980-12-31

Subject: Voyages Plans for Fishing Vessels and Efficient Radio Watches will Assist in Search and Rescue

1 The Government of Canada Search and Rescue organization maintains Rescue Coordination Centres ( RCC ) and Search and Rescue Emergency Centres ( SAREC ) at strategic locations. These centres coordinate assistance to fishing vessels that require help. The centres are listed below.

2 Fishing vessels which are reported overdue present special problems. The unstructured nature of their voyages makes it difficult to determine an accurate position from which to start a search. Before sailing fishermen should complete a voyage plan; this practice would increase the possibility of being rescued should their vessel be involved in a casualty.

3 A sample voyage plan is attached. The information listed in this plan will provide the centres with all the necessary information.

4 The completed voyage plan should be left with someone who will contact the nearest Rescue Coordination Centre or Search and Rescue Emergency Centre should the fishing vessel not maintain its regular radio call schedule or fails to return from its voyage. This person could be a relative of a crew member; or a wharfinger, union official, fish plant manager, local police or fisheries officer.

5 Once the voyage has commenced a fisherman should:

  1. maintain a regular radio call schedule at least once a day with the person holding the original plan;
  2. make a radio call without delay, if the voyage plan needs to be changed; and
  3. cancel the voyage plan when the voyage is completed.

6 Should a fishing vessel be late in making the scheduled regular radio call and cannot be contacted by radio, the person holding the voyage plan should telephone the nearest Rescue Coordination Centre or Search and Rescue Emergency Centre. This telephone call can be made toll free.

7 Should the fishing vessel's radio break-down during the voyage the master should contact the closest vessel and ask that vessel to report the break-down immediately to the person who is looking after the voyage plan.

8 Fishermen can further assist by maintaining a strict radio watch on the appropriate frequencies. On many occasions search and rescue ships and aircraft have been sent to look for a vessel simply because the vessel did not respond to radiocommunications.

SAREC St. John's


Zenith 07021


C.U.R.E.S. Quebec Que.


RCC Vancouver

RCC Halifax

RCC Trenton

Local 3870



RCC Victori

Voyage Plan for Fishing Vessels

A voyage plan can be kept in a school notebook.

Part I

(This part contains permanent details and could be placed on the inside front cover).

Telephone number of nearest RCC or SAREC __________

Vessel Name __________# of Lifeboats (if applicable) __________

Fishing No.__________ # of Liferafts (if, applicable) __________

Length__________and size__________


# of Approuved Pyrotechnics__________

Colour of Hull __________# of Lifejackets__________



Radar Reflector Yes/No (for smaller vessels)

Radio equipment frequencies fitted

VHF __________

MF/HF __________

CB __________



Part 2

(This part changes with every voyage and could be kept in the same school notebook using a different page for each trip).

Departure date & time__________ Vessel endurance in hours and days__________

Intended fishing areas__________

Estimated date and time of return__________ Number of persons onboard__________

Times of regular radio calls with person holding the voyage plan__________

Other information__________

Probable port of refuge__________

Time at which the Search and Rescue organization should be notified if the scheduled regular radio call is not received


Keywords:                                  Questions concerning this bulletin should be addressed to:

1. Fishing vessels
2. Voyage plan   
Transport Canada
Marine Safety
Tower C, Place de Ville
11th Floor, 330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N8

To add or change your address, contact us at: marinesafety@tc.gc.ca

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