Our Mission icon Our Mission

The mission of NOAA Ocean Exploration is to explore the ocean for national benefit.

With the mission to explore the ocean for national benefit, NOAA Ocean Exploration is the only U.S. federal organization dedicated to exploring the deep ocean. We are filling gaps in the basic understanding of U.S. deep waters and the seafloor and delivering the ocean information needed to strengthen the economy, health, and security of the United States.

We execute our mission by leading expeditions on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and other research vessels; establishing public, private, and academic partnerships; providing funding and other support for ocean exploration expeditions and technology development, including via a competitive grants program; and guiding and supporting the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute.

NOAA Ocean Exploration works with partners to explore previously unknown areas of our deep ocean, making discoveries of scientific, economic, and cultural value and supporting innovations in exploration tools and capabilities. Through live video streams, online expedition coverage, training opportunities, and other outreach, we allow scientists, resource managers, students, members of the general public, and others to actively experience ocean exploration, allowing broader scientific participation, cultivating the next generation of ocean explorers, and engaging the public in exploration activities. The data and information collected during expeditions and research supported by NOAA Ocean Exploration are publicly available, giving resource managers, the academic community, and the private sector the information they need to identify, understand, and manage ocean resources for this and future generations of Americans.

Our office is also actively working with partners to expand a national ocean exploration program and is playing a key role in the development and execution of the National Strategy for Mapping, Exploring, and Characterizing the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone and the strategy’s Implementation Plan.

Key Documents