The Role of the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the Canadian Coast Guard in the Discovery of HMS Erebus


Check out this video of HMS Erebus taken with multibeam sonars.

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

The discovery of HMS Erebus, one of Sir John Franklin’s two lost ships, is a significant occasion for Fisheries and Oceans Canada as it showcases the important work of the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG). Along with public and private partners, the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the Canadian Coast Guard joined the Victoria Strait Project with a number of common objectives such as mapping Canada’s Arctic seabed, conducting arctic research and searching for the lost ships of Sir John Franklin’s 1845 voyage to find the Northwest Passage.

The discovery of one of the lost ships provides us with an important opportunity to recognize the work of both the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the Canadian Coast Guard during the Victoria Strait Project and, more importantly, their work in improving navigation safety as well as contributing to scientific advancements.

On the Role of the Canadian Hydrographic Service

During this year’s project, the Canadian Hydrographic Service conducted hydrographic surveys to collect high resolution bathymetric data using multibeam sonar equipment, a cutting-edge technology that transmits hundreds of beams of sound through the water to capture highly detailed images of the seabed. This technology allows the Canadian Hydrographic Service to see 100% of the seabed and to detect all hazards to navigation. The data collected from the Canadian Hydrographic Service multibeam sonars was used to produce three-dimensional images of HMS Erebus, which were used by marine archeologists to confirm the identification of the wreck. The multibeam data is being used by archeologists and researchers as they conduct further analyses of HMS Erebus.   

sonar technology
The relentless march of sonar technology.

sonar technology
From 2,000 soundings per survey using leadline, to 25 times more data using a single beam sonar, to terabytes of data using multibeam sonar.  Today, all CHS survey launches use multibeam sonars.

On the Role of the Canadian Coast Guard

With current technology, assets and maritime expertise, the Canadian Coast Guard is well placed to support other agencies as they conduct Arctic research and work to enhance maritime safety and security. The Canadian Coast Guard’s role in the Victoria Strait Project was to help mariners safely transit our Arctic waters, direct vessel support to the search, protect our northern communities, and better understand our marine ecosystems. The Canadian Coast Guard has a long history of supporting scientific expeditions, leading to advances in marine safety, environmental research and marine archeology.

CCG vessel Sir Wilfrid Laurier
CCG vessel Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Share in the experience aboard the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier by reading the Captain’s Log, where Captain Bill Noon reports on his day-to-day experience during the Victoria Strait Expedition 2014.

Learn about the Work of Captain Bill Noon on the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier during the Victoria Strait Expedition

In February 2015, Captain Bill Noon lectured in Australia on the discovery – Check out these videos to learn more on Canada Down Under events and the Franklin Discovery Lecture Series. (NEW)

For more information:

On the Canadian Hydrographic Service
On the Canadian Coast Guard
Parks Canada Franklin Homepage