Royal Canadian Navy Patrol Vessels (Bird Class), Gate Vessels (Porte Class), Training Vessels (YAG 300 Series) and (Orca Class)

RCN 1950–1989, Patrol Vessels (Bird Class), Gate Vessels (Porte Class), Training Vessels (YAG 300 Series) and (Orca Class)

Patrol Boat

(Author Photo)

HMCS Fort Steele (PB 140), with IP 86 Detector, HMCS Cataraqui’s tender alongside, and the stern of HMCS Protecteur (509) in the background in Halifax harbour, May 1976

HMCS Fort Steele served as an RCMP Vessel until 1973 when she was transferred to the Naval Reserve and commissioned as HMCS Fort Steele 140. She was paid off in 1993 and then sold in 1996 and re-named Marie T. Sprinter.

Bird-class patrol vessels

HMCS Blue Heron (PCS 782); HMCS Cormorant (PCS 781) (I); HMCS Loon (PCS 780); HMCS Mallard (PCS 783)

HMCS Blue Heron (PCS 782)

(CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum Photo)

HMCS Blue Heron (PCS 782).  This “Bird” Class vessel, was built by the Hunter Boat Works of Orillia, on Lake Simcoe, Ontario.  She was launched on 7 May 1956 and commissioned on the 30th of the following July.  The vessel was one of four constructed to take the place of the Fairmile motor launches, which had served notably in the Second World War, but which were obsolescent.  These vessels were a little smaller than the Fairmiles, displacing 66 tons at full load and measuring 92 by 17 feet.  They were armed with one 20-mm Oerlikon gun, depth charges and a hedgehog.

HMCS Blue Heron sailed for Hamilton, Ontario, on 7 August 1956.  There she came under the orders of the Commanding Officer, Naval Divisions, and, with her sister ships, HMCS Cormorant, and HMCS Mallard, cruised on the Great Lakes during the rest of the summer as part of the Reserve Training Squadron.  On 11 September, the three ships started down the St. Lawrence River, bound for Halifax.  At Quebec, they formed the escort for the “Algerine” Coastal Escort, HMCS Wallaceburg, with the Right Honourable Vincent Massey, Governor-General of Canada, embarked for a cruise to Tadoussac and up the Saguenay River to Port Alfred.  After accompanying him back to Quebec, the “Birds” were free to carry on to Halifax, where they arrived on 24 September.  There, on 19 November, HMCS Blue Heron was paid off and towed to Sydney, NS, to be laid up.

The vessel never again commissioned in the Navy.  From 28 February 1957 to 6 May 1968, she was on loan to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who used her for patrol duties off Halifax and, during the navigable season, in the St. Lawrence River.  The police relinquished her in 1968 in favour of a new, more modern vessel.  HMCS Blue Heron was then placed in reserve, where she remained until 1970, when she was sold to J. Thomas Porter of Montreal.

HMCS Cormorant (PCS 781) (I)

(DND Photo)

HMCS Cormorant (PCS 781) (I).  Built in 1956 by Midland Boat Works, Midland, Ontario, Cormorant was launched on 15 May 1956.  The Navy turned HMCS Loon, HMCS Mallard, and HMCS Cormorant over to the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation in the 1960s.  Her specifications on completion were: Displacement: 66 tons, Length: 92 Ft, Beam: 17 ft, Draught: 5.3 ft, Speed: 14 kts, Complement: 2 officers, 19 men, Armament: 1-20 mm, hedgehog.

HMCS Loon (PCS 780)

(DND Photo)

HMCS Loon (PCS 780).  Launched on 4 Oct 1954.  On 15 May 1963, HMCS Loon was placed in reserve status.  Sold to a private owner it sank off the Eastern shore of Nova Scotia

HMCS Mallard (PCS 783)

(DND Photo)

HMCS Mallard (PCS 783).  HMCS Mallard was built by Grew Boat Works, Penetanguishene, Ontario, and launched on 30 Apr 1956.  She was turned over to the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation in the 1960s.  Last reported  in St. Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia.

Gate Vessels (Porte Class)

HMCS Porte Dauphine (YMG 186); HMCS Porte de la Reine (YMG 184); HMCS Porte Quebec (YMG 185); HMCS Porte St. Jean (YMG 180); HMCS Porte St. Louis (YMG 183)

(DND Photo)

HMCS Porte Dauphine (YMG 186)

(Author Photo)

HMCS Porte Dauphine (YMG 186), HMCS Porte St. Jean (YMG 180), and HMCS Porte St. Louis (YMG 183), Halifax harbour, gate vessels, May 1976.

YAG 300 (Yard Auxiliary, General) Training Vessels

CFAV Grizzly (YAG 306); CFAV Wolf (YAG 308); CFAV Otter (YAG 312); CFAV Caribou (YAG 314); CFAV Badger (YAG 319); CFAV Lynx (YAG 320)

YAG 300 vessels were a series of ten wooden boats built between 1954 and 1955 that throughout their service acted as yard ferries (Blue Boats), training platforms and test beds for route survey equipment with the RCN.  Unofficially known as Canadian Forces Auxiliary Vessels (CFAV), the 75-foot boats primarily served as at-sea training platforms for junior naval officers, boatswains, reserve personnel and Sea Cadets at CFB Esquimalt until they were taken out of service in 2007. According to the DND, "in 2000, a total of 1830 personnel were deployed on the YAGs for a total of 585 days and steamed over 25,000 nautical miles (46,000 km) in support of training."

(Lest69 Photo)

CFAV Caribou (YAG 314), Yard Auxiliary General, 2006, Victoria, British Columbia.

(FireforEffect Photo)

Yard Auxiliary General (YAG) 319 flies Bravo Zulu, while supporting Marine Engineering training for HMCS Quadram, 1 Jan 2007.

Orca-class patrol vessels.  These are a class of eight steel-hulled training and surveillance vessels in service with the RCN atg the Patrol Craft Training Unit (PCTU), CFB Esquimalt, British Columbia.,  Based on the Australian Pacific-class patrol boat design, all of the Orca vessels were constructed by Victoria Shipyards between November 2004 and November 2008.  In addition to carrying the RCN designation of patrol craft training (PCT), the Orca-class are not formally commissioned in the RCN and as such do not possess the HMCS prefix.

(HamOnt Photo)

PCT 59 Wolf, 10 Feb 2019.

(~riley Photo)

PCT 56 Raven, 15 Aug 2002.

(Webber Photo)

PCT 55 Orca, 1 Jan 2007.

(S24415 Photo)

PCT 55 Orca, 4 Aug 2007.

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