The Canadian Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Management System began in 1974. Its goals were to:
There were three traffic centres: Tofino, Seattle, and Vancouver. They were linked by teletype circuits, but regulators also had a direct voice hotline to the other centres.
As a ship approached the Western side of Vancouver Island, radio communications were the first point of contact. Then, radar detected and tracked the ships, which allowed regulators to guide vessels through the area. Depending on location, the vessel could be passed off to the Americans (Seattle traffic centre). In 1979 an agreement was signed between the two countries agreeing to cooperate with vessel traffic management. Next, a pilot boarded the vessel off Victoria. The ship is then taken into Port.
The traffic centres worked with the harbor masters to ensure a safe journey of the vessel. The Vancouver traffic centre was located at the Capilano 100 building in West Vancouver. A closed circuit camera was mounted under the Lions Gate Bridge, with a radar as well. From the building, the regulators also had clear visuals of the area.
It is interesting to note that at the time of this video, there was no radar north of Nanaimo. Regulators used only radio and the route stripping method, similar to air traffic control.
Currently, the same duties are covered by the Coast Guard's Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centres. The Western Region's office is in the Coast Guard station in Victoria. The system, however, has since been upgraded.