NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research Explorer-in-Training Program

Diamond Icon Explorer-in-Training Program
Diamond Icon Past Explorer Trainees
Diamond Icon Currently Open Opportunities



Explorer-in-Training Program

The 2000 President’s Panel on Ocean Exploration Report, Discovering Earth’s Final Frontier: A U.S. Strategy for Ocean Exploration, calls for a national ocean exploration program to “train the next generation of ocean explorers." One of the many ways the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) addresses this goal is through a partnership with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) to provide early career explorers hands-on experience in ocean exploration on board NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, “America’s Ship for Ocean Exploration”.

Apart from working with UCAR, NOAA OER has worked with academic, industry, and government institutions to create opportunities for students, faculty, and professionals to gain first-hand, at-sea and shore-based experiences with Okeanos Explorer expeditions. Partners include the NOAA Office of Education, NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship Program, NOAA Educational Partnership Program, Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the Five College Consortium, and regional NOAA Sea Grant offices.

Since 2009, UCAR and OER have hosted over 100 mapping explorers in training. For many, this first at-sea experience was invaluable in subsequent academic and career pursuits. OER continues to seek opportunities to work with external groups to train the next generation of explorers.

Interested to get involved with NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer field activities? Check out this page:



Past Explorer Trainees

Past participants in the NOAA Explorer-in-Training program have come from a variety of places across teh country.

The more than 100 past participants in the NOAA Explorer-in-Training program have come from a variety of places across the country. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Download high-resolution version (2.7 Mb).


Meet past "Explorers-in-Training" to learn more about their experiences:

Read mission logs from past trainees:



Explorer-in-Training Opportunities

The application period for 2016 opportunities is now closed. Please check back again for additional opportunities.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) places Mapping trainees to participate in the Okeanos Explorer-in-Training program. This program is open to enrolled undergraduate and graduate students as well as individuals who have recently graduated from a higher education program. The Explorer-in-Training program will provide the opportunity to gain experience using an advanced multibeam bathymetric sonar mapping system, while contributing in a significant way to the Okeanos Explorer ocean exploration mission.

A typical placement will consist of one (1) 15 to 30-day offshore expedition during the late winter, spring, or summer of 2016. Trainees will stand an eight-hour mapping watch each day while onboard. The duties of mapping watch standers typically include the acquisition and processing of multibeam data and associated sound velocity profile data, as well as precise record keeping. Each trainee will also complete an onboard project of their own interest, with approval and support from experienced mapping team personnel.




For additional information about the Okeanos Explorer and the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, please visit: and



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