Answering the Call of the Sea at the Canadian Coast Guard College

Two Coast Guard ships

Answering the Call of the Sea at the Canadian Coast Guard College

A group of officer cadets poses for a photo aboard a small vessel at the College

Campus Life


An aerial view of the College

Located on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, the Canadian Coast Guard College is considered to be one of the most modern and well-equipped marine colleges in the world. The campus is conveniently situated on Sydney harbour and provides an all-inclusive, comfortable home for our Officer Cadets and other residents.

The campus’s major amenities consist of:

Daily life as an Officer Cadet



An officer cadet in her room preparing for the day ahead

Life on campus simulates life aboard a ship. Officer Cadets are housed in clusters that consist of eight private rooms with a shared common room and washroom. The Canadian Coast Guard College Campus offers pleasant accommodations that provide everything needed for residents’ comfort and enjoyment. Amenities found on campus include a large media room, a music room, a cozy pub with a games room, and access to all College facilities such as the Galley (dining hall), Wellness Centre, laundry facilities, and Business Center.

The Galley (cafeteria)

A few officer cadets enjoying a meal outside

Experienced chefs present a daily variety of expertly prepared meals. A pastry chef complements the menu with fresh-baked breads and desserts. Vegetarian choices and pre-arranged special dietary alternatives are also available. During the summer, students, staff, and guests may choose outdoor seating and enjoy an occasional barbecue menu.


Wellness Centre and Sports Complex

The pool at the wellness center and sports complex of the Coast Guard College

To ensure the health and vitality of Officer Cadets, instructors, staff and other professionals at the College, a multi-functional Wellness Centre is located in the D'Iberville Building. This facility includes a 25-metre swimming pool, double gymnasium, modern equipped fitness rooms, squash court, and lunch-time classes such as crossfit and yoga. The campus property also has a hiking trail, soccer field, and baseball field and is situated next to Petersfield Provincial Park. Sports teams and clubs may include hockey, swimming, soccer, diving, triathlon and running.


John Adams Library

The John Adams library at the Coast Guard College

The John Adams Library is one of the largest nautical libraries in Canada. Its bilingual collection is focused on nautical science and technology, and supports the academic programs at the Canadian Coast Guard College. It provides access to a wide variety of print and electronic resources such as periodicals, reference materials, databases and government documents in English and French. The library is part of a larger network of DFO libraries, which are searchable through the department’s online catalogue, Federal Science Library. The library provides all of the textbooks required for studying at the Canadian Coast Guard College.


Marine Engineering Training Facility

The machine shop at the Coast Guard College

The Marine Engineering Training Facility, commonly referred to as the Machine Shop, is housed in the Louis S. St. Laurent Building and provides hands-on training for Officer Cadets following the engineering stream.

The Machine Shop provides practical training to ensure the Officer Cadets acquire the engineering skills necessary for the CCG Fleet. These skills include welding and machining, electronics, engine repair and rebuilding, and refrigeration and hydraulics. The Officer Cadets perform the actual refitting and repairs of the College's training vessels as part of the program. Once the boats are repaired they are returned to the on-site waterfront training facility. Proper safety measures are emphasized during all aspects of training in the machine shop.


Waterfront Training Facility

Inside the boat shed

The Waterfront Training Facility, also known as the Boatshed, is home to various vessels that are used for instruction and recreation at the Canadian Coast Guard College. Officer Cadets learn how to navigate sailboats, rescue crafts, and various power vessels during their time at campus. Officer Cadets learn valuable on-water activities including environmental response, aids to navigation, and search and rescue procedures during a six-week summer program.



The engineering simulator

A marine navigation simulator in action

The Canadian Coast Guard College has several specialized simulators on campus. Simulators replicate conditions at sea and present possible scenarios that require response from the Officer Cadets. Working with simulators enables Officer Cadets to practice their new specialized skills in a safe and controlled environment.

Marine Propulsion Plant Simulator – The marine engineering simulator replicates a typical engine room and control room that would be found on board any Canadian Coast Guard vessel. Officer Cadets experience watchkeeping routines and must monitor the performance of various pumps, engines, and other systems on board ship.

Navigation Simulator – The marine navigation simulator recreates conditions found on eight full ships’ bridges and is fitted with the latest navigation equipment. It can portray any port or body of water in the world. Officer Cadets learn how to practice manoeuvering in various conditions and how to successfully navigate in every kind of weather. The simulator’s realistic environment teaches Officer Cadets how to respond to various real-life scenarios when operating on a ship’s bridge.

Planetarium – The Canadian Coast Guard College also has a planetarium that simulates the night sky. The instructor is able to lecture on constellations, teach star identification, and show Officer Cadets the night sky from any point on earth, in any season. Celestial navigation is a highly specialized skill that could be life-saving in case of a power outage while at sea.