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Ocean technologies

Canada's Ocean Technology (OT) sector is a cross cutting advanced technology industry focused on products and services to understand and work in or use the ocean. The OT sector is to the marine industries as the Cleantech sector is to the environmental industries. Technologies may include complex navigation systems aboard a ship; the hybrid electrical power systems on a tugboat; or high-tech acoustics and sonar systems. 

3 metre Metocean buoy from AXYS Technologies, Sidney, British Columbia

3 Metre metocean buoy from AXYS Technologies, Sidney, British Columbia, measures and transmits environmental data, such as wind, waves, temperature, and pressure

The ocean technology sector is:

Market opportunities for Canada's ocean technology and other high-value marine manufacturing and service firms are driven by a variety of sources. Some of the broader ocean industries that provide markets for Ocean Technology companies include offshore oil & gas, defence & security, marine transportation/shipbuilding, ocean science & observation, ocean renewable energy, fisheries & aquaculture, coastal and ocean management and seabed mining. The Government of Canada is also a major customer for these products through its navy, coast guard and other procurements.


Canada is a world leader in a number of areas like engineering products and services that can stand up to extreme harsh ocean environments; marine remote sensing technologies; and, ocean observing systems. Companies in the sector have a broad range of technological competencies including in such areas as radar & acoustics sensors, information systems, seabed mapping & marine geomatics, autonomous/intelligent systems, robotics, underwater vehicles, nanotechnologies/microsystems, simulation & training and communications.

The Unmanned marine vehicles, Manned sub-surface vehicles, Marine robotics, Marine sciences and Ocean technology areas totaled $246.4M in sales; accounting for 14.1% of total marine sales in 2014.

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Long description of Figure 3
Canadian Marine Industry Sales Categories—2014 Sales
Unmanned Marine Vehicles, Manned Sub-Surface Vehicles and Marine Robotics and Components 1.8%   $30.8 M
Ship-borne Software,Sensors, Electronics, Navigation Systems, and Equipment Control Systems and Components 4.7%   $82.2 M
Ship Design, Engineeringand Related Professional Services 5.6%   $99. M
Ship Propulsion Systems,Electrical Power Systems and Related Components 6.5%   $114. M
Shipbuilding, Ship Hulls and Structural Components 7.1%   $124.5 M
Marine Sciences and Ocean Technology (Other Acoustic, Radar, Sonar, Communication, Surveying, Mapping, Imaging and Geomatics Equipment, Components and Services) 12.3%   $215.6 M
Offshore Oil and Gas Structures and Components 13.5%   $236.8 M
Ship Repair and Maintenance Services 20.5%   $360.2 M
Other Commercial and Civil Marine products and services not otherwise captured in the above categories 28.0%   $490.8 M
Total Commercial and Civil 57% $1,754. M
Simulation Systems for Naval Vessels 0.8%   $10.9 M
Naval Ship Fabrication, Structures and Components 21.5%   $289.4 M
Naval Ship-Borne Systems (i.e., Mission Systems) and Components 35.9%   $483.1 M
Naval Ship Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul 41.8%   $562. M
Total Defence 43% $1,345.5 M

Government support

The Ocean Technology sector is supported through a number of federal and provincial programs related to research and development as well as business development.



Technology resources


Canada's Oceans Action Plan (OAP)
The OAP enables government-wide action to develop Canada's ocean resources for the benefit of coastal communities, while protecting fragile marine ecosystems.
A joint United States/Canada venture led by the University of Washington and the University of Victoria. For the next 30 years, NEPTUNE will stream data and images back from the deep ocean in real-time, providing an innovative approach to understanding earthquakes, tsunamis, undersea volcanoes, marine mammals, fish stocks, hydrocarbons and climate change.
A revolutionary approach to oceanography delivering sustained observation of the changing characteristics of the ocean. A cabled observatory located in the shallow waters of coastal British Columbia, Venus will provide real-time, full-time, interactive observation of near shore ocean processes.
Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE)
COVE is a collaborative facility for applied innovation in the ocean sector. The facility will be home to local and global ocean technology businesses, post-secondary institutions, researchers, and marine-based and service businesses that support the ocean sector.

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