Type: Sounding Boat
Launched: 8 July 1954
At: Marine Industries Ltd., Sorel, Québec
Length: 36 feet, 1 inch
Beam: 12 feet, 2 inches
Draft: 3 feet, 7 inches
Displacement: 9 tons
Complement: 6 men (2 officers)
HMCS Labrador was Canada’s first Arctic patrol vessel to maintain a Canadian presence in the North. To assist her work she was provided with a 36-foot auxiliary craft known as the Pogo. Named after the popular comic strip character, the Pogo’s role was to travel independently from the Labrador and, with the assistance of her hydrographic survey equipment, chart the Arctic waters.
Pogo‘s main feature was its all-welded aluminum construction, a first for the Canadian Navy as well as an essential weight-saving measure to allow being carried on davits aboard Labrador. Her 430 nautical mile cruising range gave her a substantial independent reach from the mother ship.
Pogo accompanied HMCS Labrador on each of her four (4) voyages to the Arctic between 1954 and 1958. As the Labrador‘s trailblazer, she was the first RCN vessel to enter the uncharted waters of the Canadian Arctic. The charts produced from her sorties opened the Arctic to the large merchant ships needed to supply the building of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line at the time of the Cold War.
Pogo‘s career in the service of Canada’s armed forces far outlived that of the Labrador which was paid off in 1958. For her part, Pogo was put to various uses (harbor launch, diving boat, safety boat, reservist training vessel) until an unfortunate accident put an end to her career in 1995. She was transferred from the Department of National Defense to the Canadian War Museum in the summer of 1995.
In 2005, Pogo was transferred to the Outaouais Branch of the Navy League of Canada, where a dedicated group of volunteers has been working at refitting her for active duty in the service of Sea cadets and other youth and community organisations.