YARD CRAFT, TUGS, AUXILIARIES and Other Vessels  - Radio Fit

David Freeman provides a brief introduction for this class. "Yard Auxiliary Gate (YAG) was the eventual designation for the 75 foot wooden passenger ferries built during the Second World War and originally called harbour craft, e.g. HC  326.  After the war they were redesignated as yard craft, YC.  Then they all received other designations depending on function: YFB, YBL, YFL and then YAG. The term YAG stayed in the RCN and they are still called that, although unofficial names were added in the 1980s to those vessels situated on the West coast. YAG was not used in the pendant number. The names and nomenclature of small craft changed every couple of years as a result in the change of NATO designators".

The YMT-11 and YMT-12 are of steel construction and were supposed to be 102 feet in length and twin screws but the Government changed the specifications at the last minute. Instead, the craft were constructed to a length  of 87 feet and with only one screw. They turned out to be difficult to handle.

The other yard craft were of wooden construction (a lot of mahogany), 102 feet in length, twin screw and a real pleasure to handle around a harbour in close quarters.

As of 2006, the new Orca class training/patrol boats is replacing the YAG-300 class boats but only on the West Coast.

yard_craft_ymt 11_painting.jpg
YMT-11: Sam Semple owns this excellent painting of YMT-11. He explains. "When I retired from the navy in 1985, a good diver friend of mine, Paul "Tuffy" Murray had this painting done by a relative of his who was at the time, a 75 year old retired minister.  He brought the finished painting to Tuffy and for some reason Tuffy didn't like it.  So the artist took it back, and two weeks later, the painting now had the Bluenose sailing up the harbour behind the YMT. (Image courtesy Sam Semple)


ATA  Sea going tug
YAC Yacht
YAG Yard Auxiliary General vessel 
YDT Diving Tender.  Was previously named  DT-x. Changed to YDT-x when the NATO hull numbering system was introduced.
YFL Launch
YMG Gate vessel. Gate vessels started as YMG's but ended their careers as a YNG's.
YMT Diving tender. Some YMT's were used for sea cadet training. 
YNG Gate Vessel
YPT Torpedo Retriever
YTB Harbour tug only, large
YTL Harbour tug, small
YTM Harbour tug
YTR Fire/Rescue Boat, Small

Some call signs used by the yard craft


(Click on image to enlarge)

yard_craft_ydt09_s.jpg YDT-9 is fitted with a single type AT-150 UHF antenna. (Photo by Chief Petty Officer D.C. Silvester)
yard_craft_ydt11_s.jpg YDT-11 - Prior to modernization a single type AS-390 UHF antenna can be seen. Another antenna affixed to the top of the foremast is unidentified.  The craft is still called by the same name today. (Photo by Chief Petty Officer D.C. Silvester)
yard_craft_ydt11_modernized_s.jpg YDT-11 Modernized in 2002: Fleet Dive Unit dive tender YDT 11 at the ML floats. Workshops of the Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton are seen in the background. (Photo by Cpl Colin Kelley)
yard_craft_radiorack_s.jpg Radio Rack Aboard YDT-11: Taken in the midst of a refit, the presence of two Channel Amplifier units suggest that two radio circuits were fitted with one being a UHF circuit. The gap in the rack above the CAUs seems just big enough for a AN/URT502 (TED 3) transmitter. The other circuit many have been for the Cdn. Marconi CM-11 transmitter/receiver. (Photo by Chief Petty Officer D.C. Silvester)
uhf_voice_channel_s.jpg UHF Voice Channel: This was the standard RCN three-piece equipment combination which comprised a UHF voice channel in the 50's and 60's. In this photo, from top to bottom, is the AN/URR-35 (200 to 400 MHz) receiver, the Channel Amplifier Unit and the companion TED-3 UHF transmitter running 18 watts. Each transmitter had 4 selectable crystal controlled channels , however the receiver only had one crystal controlled channel.  A Remote Channel Unit (RCU) would be required to operate this arrangement.  (Photo by Jerry Proc)
In earlier days, each of the above vessels was fitted with a CM11 and when they travelled any distance they carried a radio operator. Sam Semple sailed up the St. Lawrence River in YMT-11 as a radioman and that is how he got involved in the diving trade. He switched over to the diver trade and retired a Chief Diver.

Sam used to work CFH on 6 MHz when on the St. Lawrence River and also managed one contact with South Africa on 6 MHz from the vessel in 1964. That's pretty good range for a CM11.

This ex-RCN YTB337  (now Sea Horse) privately owned by Dale Romagnol.  Dale plans  a radio room restoration  using period equipment. Atop the wheehouse, one can see the the loop antenna of the Canadian Marconi MDF5, an MFDF set.  (Photo by Dale Romagnol)
This is the Canadian Marconi CSR5A receiver destined for the radio room exhibit aboard Sea Horse.  (Photo by Dale Romagnol)


At the right is FIREBIRD YTR-561, call sign CGVX,  leading Nova Scotia's Ambassador BLUENOSE II, call sign CYJZ, out of Halifax Harbour as lead vessels in the Parade of Sail 1984. FIREBIRD was built in 1975. BLUENOSE II was built in 1963. She is a replica of the original BLUENOSE depicted on the Canadian ten cent coin. (Photo by John Rae submitted by Spud Roscoe VE1BC).

Housemaid of the RCN's Pacific fleet in the 1960's: YBZ-61, a most unusual craft,  was effectively a huge vacuum cleaner whose job it was to vent and clean the fuel tanks and bilges of warships. Not only did this craft save time and money, but it made a messy and unpleasant job much easier to tackle. YBZ-61 is shown at work alongside the ocean escort HMCS Stettler. (RCN Photo E-76131) 


Harbour/coastal tanker - Dundurn 502. As the ship appeared on October 13, 2007 in North Vancouver. Due to the perspective and distance at which the photo was taken, Dundurn appears to be berthed at the jetty. However, she is actually being used as a floating breakwater. Her tanks have likely been filled with water in order to weigh her down to provide a more effective breakwater.   (Photo by Rob Blair)


Dimensions: Length 178'9" x Beam 32'2" x Draught 13' 
Speed: 10 knots maximum
Manpower: 10 officers, 14 men 
Displacement: 348.3 tons standard; 722.1 tons full load 
Fuel: 95 tons diesel
Water: 60 tons 
Cargo: Diesel fuel - 700 barrels; Distillate - 6200 barrels max; Furnace Fuel Oil - 3,590 barrels maximum. 
Radar - Kelvin-Hughes 19/12C
Radio Capability: Call sign CZJG.  CW and RT modes  both on  MF/HF; MF Direction Finding 
Radio Navigation: Decca Mk 23 gyro, echo sounder.
Machinery:  2 Vivian diesels at 350 BHP each powering single shaft propellor.
Electrical Supply: Two 60 kw 115 VDC generators ; One 115 VAC alternator.

History: Laid down: 1942; Commissioned: 25/11/43. Second of class, Dundurn was built at Walkerville, Ontario, by Canadian Bridge. She was rushed 
unfinished to Halifax to escape the Great Lakes freeze-up and completed by Halifax Shipyard. 

She sailed in her first convoy to Sydney, N.S., on May 3, 1944, with a cargo of bunker oil for the RCN storage tanks there, a trip she was to repeat many times with relief by smaller trips to Shelburne, Digby, and Liverpool, N.S., Saint John, N.B. and St. John's, Nfld. At war's end, she was used to remove stores and fuel from escort ships that were being paid off. In December, 1945, it was decided to retain both ships of this class so Dundurn was sent to Esquimalt, B.C., on November 10, 1946, with a water ballast. She arrived on December 29,1946. The ship was paid off from the  RCN on January 2, 1947 thus becoming a civilian manned CNAV. 

During her service life,  she plied up and down the west coast, delivering fuel stores to Prince Rupert, Port Alice and Vancouver when MARPAC ships were operating in those areas. Dundalk was disposed of on the east coast on December 18, 1982. Dundurn remained in service until sometime around 1993. She now serves as a floating breakwater in North Vancouver.

Glen Class (YTB) Tugs  - Glenbrook 643.  (Photo by Sandy McClearn)


Ships in Class: Glendyne 640, Glendale 641, Glenevis 642, Glenbrook 643 Glenside 644. 
Dimensions: Length 94'1 "x Beam 30'4" x Draught 14'6"
Speed: Cruise - 10 knots; 11 knots maximum
Range: 1,400 nm at 8 knots 
Manpower: Coastal- 6 officers, 4 men; Harbor - 3 officers, 4 men.
Displacement: 350 tons 
Radar: Sperry Mk.127E; 
Navigation: Sperry Mod. SA 130 gyro compass; Sperry Autopilot; Kelvin-Hughes MS37 F/A echo sounder.
Machinery: 2 diesel Rushton-Paxman, 900 hp each, 2 Voith-Schneider cycloidal props type 165. 
Electrical: Two diesel generators 150 Kw each.
Towing Machinery: Bollard rated at 18.3 tons forward; 15 tons astern; 12 tons abeam. Two Davits, port and starboard, rated at 1,000 lb. each. Towing winch reel filled with 1.5 inch wire, 2,350 feet total length; also fitted with 5/8 in. wire 3,600 feet total; plus bronze poly 1,200 feet total. 

Bridles: 2 x 50 foot x 1.5" with hard eye thimble and soil eye splice; 2 x 100' x 1.5" with hard eye thimble and bolt eye splice. 
Shackles: 4 Crosby (35-ton SWL) screw pin with cotter key. 

Fire monitors are fitted on all vessels. They each have fuel capacity of 54 tons, and a water capacity of 20 tons. All are fitted with the Voith-Schneider omni-directional  propulsion units. The configuration of these tugs allows this class class to turn about within their own length. They are very quick in reaction and manoeuverable.

All members of the Glen class mount one fire monitor and are intended as harbor tugs. They handle all Navy Ships and have been made available for emergency civilian tug duties, such as the rescue of a runaway drill rig in Halifax Harbor in the spring of 1982.


Glendyne and Glendale were built at Yarrows Ltd, Esquimalt in 1975. Glenevis (1976), Glenbrook (1976) and Glenside (1977) were built in Georgetown Shipyards, P.E.I.. They were all classed as ATA (Sea Going tug) at the beginning then reclassified to YTB (Harbour Tug , large).  As of 2007, YTB 640and YTB   641are based in Esquimalt. The remainder are in Halifax.

yard_craft_ stcharles.jpg
Saint Class Deep Sea Tugs - St. Charles ATA 533   (DND photo via Wings Magazine 1998)


Ships in Class: St. Anthony ATA 531 CGND; St. Charles ATA 533 CZFT
Dimensions: Length 151'5" x Beam 33'3" x Draught 14'6" 
Speed: 13 knots maximum 
Range: 5,040 nm at 13 knots 
Manpower: 9 officers, 13 men 
Displacement: 700 tons standard; 857 full load; 5200 gallons water. 
Fuel: Distillate - 80,290 gallons
Radar: Kelvin Hughes 19/12; Decca 202
Echo Sounder: Bludworth CR-2/CUQN-1
Radio: Sealand 66 VHF transceiver, Two AN/URC505(v) general purpose 2-24 MHz HF transmitter/receiver, One EB-400 MF emergency beacon; One AN/WRC-501 UHF 200-400 MHz transceiver.
Navigation: Loran-C, MF/DF, Gyro Compass Mk EV-3, Chernikeef Log. 
Machinery: GM diesel-electric 1,900 hp, 1 shaft (St. Anthony); 1 Fairbanks Morse opposed bank  diesel, 1,920 hp (St. Charles); 1 Schedule variable-pitch propeller (St. Charles). 
Electrical: Two 100 Kw, 440 VAC diesel alternators, One 20 Kw AC alternator. 


St. Anthony was stationed at Esquimalt, B.C. and St. Charles in Halifax. They were built at Saint John Dry Dock, Saint John, N.B. St. Anthony commissioned on February 22, 1957. St. Charles commissioned on June 7, 1957. Both were authorized under a 1951 program. Each has a bollard pull rating of 22 tons. Each is fitted with a variable-pitch propeller. Largely used in ocean-going towing of naval 
vessels and some target towing. They have four derricks rated at 3 tons, a Progressive Engineering, constant tension towing machine. Both ships are fitted with a towing hawser of 6-1/2-in. circular wire, 300 fathoms long. One cargo boom is fitted, with 3 tons SWL and two fire monitors contribute to fire fighting capability. 

In the early 1960s, while still undergoing trials, St. Charles was utilized by the RCAF in retrieving Mk.43 ASW torpedoes. She is used extensively in towing ships to refit ports in Montreal or St. John, or assisting the YTB tugs with the larger ships, or towing high speed targets for fleet gunnery practice. St. Anthony is used much the same way on the west coast.  ATA 532 St. John CGZL, was stricken off strength in 1972 as part of the Defence cuts. Today, St. Charles is now named Chebucto Sea, and is operated by Secunda Marine to support oil exploration and recovery on the East Coast of Canada.

Canadian Forces Auxiliary Vessels (CFAV's) like Quest CZDO, carry tactical pubs all the time but crypto equipment only when needed. The ship is "fitted for" but not "equipped with" crypto. Crypto gear is installed only when a certain deployment needs it. Today (2007), communications are normally carried out on VHF channels using plain language.

During harbour movements, tugs are in R/T communication on either Channel 9 and/or Channel 10. HMC Ships being moved by tugs are to guard either Channel 9 and/or Channel 10 as applicable, commencing one-half hour prior to the move.  Ships’ names are to be used with QHM (Queen's Harbour Master) OPS.  Normal tug control is conducted on Channel 9.

Radio communications in Esquimalt Harbour consist of:

a.  VHF IMM CH 10 - Guarded during normal working hours/days by QHM and after hours by MOC ESQUIMALT.  Guarded continuously by ships in Esquimalt Harbour and Port Security Section.

b.  CELTEL/INMARSAT - Monitored 30 minutes prior to harbour movements /departure, upon loss of landline telephone connection.

c.  283.4Mhz – plain voice (secure voice is available upon request). Guarded by NRS Esquimalt (Ops Comm Cen).  Ships are to set watch and guard in the event of a catastrophic emergency or when directed.

d.  2716 Khz – USB(V) plain voice. Guarded by NRS Esquimalt (Ops Comm Cen). Ships are to set watch and guard (cover if RADHAZ restricted): upon loss of landline telephone service; in the event of a catastrophic emergency; when directed; and 30 minutes prior to sailing/arrival Duntze Head (provided Celtel and INMARSAT phones are operational IAW para 2 above, this requirement may be suspended).

QHM Pilots normally use VHF Channel 9 (156.45 MHZ) for controlling DND tugs. When two tug moves are taking place simultaneously, VHF Channel 8 (156.400 MHZ) may also be used.

The Docking Master at the Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) Graving Dock (E-Jetty) uses VHF Channel 6 extensively. CF Ships will be advised to switch to another channel during dry-docking operations at the PWGSC.

In the event of a catastrophic emergency (i.e.. earthquake, tsunami) there will be an increased requirement for communications.  2716 KHz and 283.4 MHz will be required to augment VHF IMM CH10 and a watch will be established at the earliest opportunity.

YDT10, while in service, assigned as a Sea Cadet Training Vessel in Desolation Sound. (Photo by Lt(N) Tim SilvesterRCIS(Pac))
YTD-9 as seen in Victoria BC in January 2008. Except for the colours and a 10 inch searchlight which has been removed, the vessel is in the same configuration as she was when in service with the Canadian Navy. She is now renamed as Passagemaker I and registered in Vancouver. (Photo via Dave Shirlaw) 

All photos of YAG 312 in this table courtesy E-bay.


For reasons unknown, Bluethroat’s decks were painted red. (Photo courtesy RCN)
BLUETHROAT entered service in 1955 as a loop/controlled minelayer but she was never a commissioned warship, only an auxiliary. She was a one-of-a-kind vessel, similar to, but not identical to WHITETHROAT.  The ship was (apparently) purpose built for the RCN at Davie Shipyards - 156 ft length, 33 ft beam, a 10 ft draught and displacing 785 tons.

WHITETHROAT, (AGH113) by comparison, was an Isles class Trawler built for the RN in Beverley, UK.  She was 167 ft long , 27.6 ft beam , 12.6 ft draught  and 580 tons displacement. STONECHAT was a sister ship. Bluethroat's  known pendants were NPC114 (in 1955)  and AGOR 114 later. The file on Bluethroat in Library and Archives Canada also shows her as CMC114 but the meaning of the CMC prefix is unknown at this time.

Bluethroat's radio and radar fit in 1955 was as follows:

LN-27 ( 3 cm) radar built by Canadian Marconi. Used with 8 foot wide slotted waveguide antenna. Service manual was BRCN #5468. Power consumption was 675 watts.
SRE 456 (Sound Reproducing Equipment)
Two speaker amps RCN #3AU/46
MDF5 MF/DF receiver
RCK VHF AM receiver, four xtal controlled channels in the 110 to 160 MHz band
TDQ  VHF AM transmitter; four xtal controlled channels in the 115 to 156 MHz band
CM11 HF receiver/transmitter 375 to 515 KHz on low frequency and 1.5 to 13.5 MHz ; CW (100 watts), MCW (70 watts) and phone (30 watts).
MSL 15 KHz to 1550/1775 KHz low frequency receiver.
CSR5 receiver.  80 KHz to 30 MHz with the exception of the broadcast band.

In addition to the above,  a document dated July 13.1954 in the Bluethroat file indicates  that the AN/UPX-5B IFF unit was to be fitted to the LN-27 radar along with the AN/UPA-38 coder group but there is no confirmation that it actually happened.


CFAV QUEST, call sign CZDO, underwent a mid-life refit from 1997 to 1999. During that refit, her radio gear was completely revamped. Paul Du Mesnil was QUEST's last official Radio Officer. He offers some recollections about the radio equipment.

"Radio-wise,  CZDO had to operate with both commercial ships and naval units. The ability to communicate with commercial ships was lost after the the refit.  The new configuration needed at least three people but only one was provided (myself). As a result, some reconfiguration  of the radio setup  occurred in order to accommodate a one person operation.  A properly staffed radio department  would have consisted of one Chief R/O (Civilian.), a 2nd R/O (civilian) who acted more like a technician and two naval ratings. That is what CZDO should have had if the Navy wanted her to be operated exactly like the warships in the rest of the fleet. As a result of of this personnel shortage, RATT broadcasts were never copied. To add to the workload, there were other duties associated with the radio officer's role with 52 civilians aboard.

In general, I remember having eight (yes 8!) general purpose receivers capable of operating in the VLF, LF, MF, IF and HF bands and five Harris 1 kW HF transmitters coupled to four whip antennae and one long-wire. These transmitters were capable of operating on CW, MCW, USB voice and data transmissions and on radioteletype. There was lots of ancillary equipment also and a couple of systems in the secure room which I never used. In a word, this radio room was loaded far too much gear for the service which was expected of QUEST and unable to be used fully because of the shortage of manpower. I was the only person operating all that gear".

Canadian Forces Auxiliary Vessels (CFAV's) like Quest CZDO, carried tactical pubs all the time but crypto equipment only when needed. The ship was  "fitted for" but not "equipped with" crypto. Crypto gear is installed only when a certain deployment needed it. Today (2007), voice communications were normally carried out on VHF channels using plain language.
CFAV QUEST was a naval research vessel. (Photo  #838582 courtesy VesselTracker.com)

- Select this link to view an MS Word document which list the radar types fitted to auxiliary vessels. The list was  complied in 1999 by LCdr RW Burch.

- Barge Seaspan 391 being used in Esquimalt as submarine project office.

-The following ex-Navy, 75 ft. wooden auxiliary vessels were put up for sale at Victoria, BC in May 2011: YAG 308, YAG 314, YAG 306, YAG 312, YAG 319, YAG 320, YDT 10.

Contributors and Credits:

1) Ships of Canada's Naval Forces (1910-1993) by Ken Macpherson and John Burgess. Vanwell Publishing, St. Catharines, Ont.
2) Spud Roscoe <spudroscoe(at)eastlink.ca>
3) Dave Freeman <djfreeman(at)shaw.ca>
4) Chief Petty Officer Sam Semple VE1YVN <betty.semple(at)ns.sympatico.ca>
5) Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class, Dale Silvester  <Silvester.DC(at)forces.gc.ca>  FDU(A) Diving Services Chief
6) Ships of Canada's Naval Forces (1910-2002) by Ken Macpherson and Ron Barrie. Vanwell Publishing, St. Catharines, Ont.
7) David Cain <dcain0024(at)rogers.com>
8) Decca 202 photo: http://pierre.painset.free.fr/menu3/Collection/IR.htm
9) Tug Movements http://www.navy.forces.gc.ca/marpac/harbour/marpac_harbour_e.asp?category=95&title=904
10) Haze Gray http://www.hazegray.org/navhist/canada/photarch2/
11) Rob Blair <blairr98(at)yahoo.com>
12) Dave Shirlaw <djshirlaw(at)shaw.ca>
13) Silvester.Lt(N).TD RCIS(Pac) <silvester.td(at)cadets.net>
14) Library and Archives Canada file 7500-AGOR114 (incorrectly titled HMCS Bluethroat instead of CNAV Bluethroat)
15) Paul Du Mesnil <alco(at)glinx.com>
16) Dale Romagnol  <seahorsetug(at)yahoo.com>

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Jan 8/19