HMCS Saskatchewan was a destroyer of the Mackenzie class that served in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and then in the Canadian Forces. She was the second naval unit in Canada to bear the name of HMCS Saskatchewan. The vessel is named after the Saskatchewan River in Canada, which runs from Saskatchewan to Manitoba.
She was mostly utilized as a training ship on the west coast after entering service in 1963. In 1994, she was decommissioned and sold as an artificial reef. She was sunk off the coast of British Columbia in June 1997.
The Mackenzie-class ships had a length of 366 feet (112 meters), a beam of 42 feet (13 meters), and a draught of 13 feet 6 inches (4.11 m). The Mackenzie’s had a complement of 290 and displaced 2,880 tons (2,830 long tons) when fully loaded.
HMCS Saskatchewan was initially stationed on the east coast, in Halifax. She was stationed off Haiti as part of an international force monitoring an insurgency against the sitting president, François Duvalier, in April 1963, while sailing to the Pacific. She was assigned to the Pacific in October 1963 and ran aground in the Gulf of Georgia on September 8, 1968. A court-martial later found the captain guilty of carelessness in the case. The destroyer returned to the east coast in February 1970, when she took over as the flagship of NATO’s standing fleet, STANAVFORLANT, from HMCS Nipigon.
Saskatchewan returned to the west coast in 1973 and spent the rest of her service there, mostly as a training ship with the Royal Canadian Navy and later the Canadian Forces’ Maritime Forces Pacific. The destroyer was dispatched in July 1982 to pursue the Soviet spy ship Aavril Sarychev, which had been spying on the west coast of North America. From May 27 to June 17, 1986, she was undergoing a DELEX overhaul at the Burrard Yarrow Shipyard in Esquimalt. She was one of the Canadian warships dispatched to Australia in the fall of 1986 to take part in the Royal Australian Navy’s 75th anniversary festivities. The ship remained a training ship with Training Group Pacific until 1 April, when she was paid off.