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New Aid to Navigation Lights the Way to Greater Safety in Prince Rupert Harbour


PRINCE RUPERT, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- A new Aid to Navigation (NavAid) in Prince Rupert's harbour is the latest initiative to support the safe transit of vessels within the Port of Prince Rupert.

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that saw the two agencies partner on a project to introduce a new lighted NavAid in the Prince Rupert Harbour.

"As we plan and prepare for growth in the number and size of vessels calling at the Port of Prince Rupert, we're identifying measures to increase the overall safety of vessels, mariners and the surrounding environment of our harbour," said Gary Paulson, Harbour Master and Vice President of Operations with the Prince Rupert Port Authority. "Working with our industry partners like Canadian Coast Guard, the Port Authority is taking a proactive approach to ensuring the Prince Rupert Habour maintains its reputation for safe, secure and sustainable operations now and in the future."

Through regular Port Operations Committee meetings, harbour user groups like the BC Coast Pilots expressed a need for an additional NavAid in Fairview Channel, the deep water channel leading to Prince Rupert's inner harbour. Following a NavAid review, CCG concurred with local users and identified that a fixed light at Philips Point would enhance the safe transit of commercial vessels. The location is ideal as it provides a shore marker visible to mariners from either end of the channel, and is useful to all vessels entering and exiting the Prince Rupert Harbour.

"The Prince Rupert Port Authority has shown leadership in marine safety by initiating this MOU, which will allow this and future NavAid projects to proceed as required," said Roger Girouard, Assistant Commissioner with Canadian Coast Guard Western Region. "This project is demonstrative of the close working relationship that exists between port stakeholders in Prince Rupert, and our ability to effectively collaborate on issues of marine safety."

Under the recently signed MOU, PRPA will fund the cost to have new NavAids like Philips Point built to CCG specifications, ensuring that the aids are built to a robust standard consistent with government owned aids. Today, CCG is responsible for the 15 NavAid sites throughout the Port of Prince Rupert and over 300 in British Columbia’s North Coast area.

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High-res image of Philips Point Nav Aid (JPEG, 9.5MB)

High-res image of Roger Girouard, Assistant Commissioner with Canadian Coast Guard Western Region (left) and Don Krusel, President and CEO, Prince Rupert Port Authority, following signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (JPEG, 295 KB)


Michael Gurney
Manager, Corporate Communications
Prince Rupert Port Authority
Direct: 250 627-2509


Aids to Navigation include all devices and systems that help mariners determine position and course, warn of dangers and obstructions, and mark preferred routes. These include visual aids like buoys and beacons, aural aids like bells and whistles that are triggered under low visibility conditions, and electronic aids that include radar beacons and Differential Global Positioning System. The most familiar of these are the floating port hand (green) and starboard hand (red) buoys, known as lateral buoys, that mark the sides of a channel to safely navigate within. There are in fact over a dozen unique floating NavAids used in Canada's bouyage system, each with their own identifying features that professional mariners must be able to recognize and distinguish. Also highly visible in the Prince Rupert Harbour are several lighted fixed aids, structures equipped with lights and located at prominent sites to assist mariners in fixing their position.