Get involved icon Opportunities to Get Involved

NOAA Ocean Exploration is the only federal program dedicated to exploring our deep ocean, closing the prominent gaps in our basic understanding of U.S. deep waters and seafloor and delivering the ocean information needed to strengthen the economy, health, and security of our nation.

But the ocean is a big place and we can’t possibly explore it alone. We rely on input and participation from a range of communities. Some of the opportunities to get engaged and involved in our efforts are highlighted below. We hope you’ll join us.

For Members of the Science and Technology Communities

Below are a few of the opportunities for members of the science and technology communities, including representatives from government entities, academia, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to become engaged with NOAA Ocean Exploration.

Okeanos Explorer Opportunities

NOAA Ocean Exploration conducts remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and mapping expeditions on NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to collect data and information that provide a multidisciplinary "first look" or initial assessment of an area’s physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. These community-driven expeditions support broader scientific and management issues and generate new questions and hypotheses to catalyze further deep-ocean research and discovery.

NOAA Ocean Exploration invites ocean scientists and resource managers from around the world to participate in our expeditions throughout their lifecycle.

Ocean Exploration Funding Opportunity

NOAA Ocean Exploration’s competitive grant program funds projects that advance ocean exploration. The funding opportunity typically opens in the spring with a call for pre-proposals that meet a set of defined themes. For Fiscal Year 2025, projects were solicited under the themes of ocean exploration and maritime heritage.

Data Availability and Access

NOAA Ocean Exploration ensures open access to the scientific data and information collected during expeditions that we support and that adheres to national and international data principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability (FAIR).

Data collections vary by expedition. Data collections from expeditions on Okeanos Explorer typically include oceanographic and geophysical parameters, video, images, documents, and more.

Some of NOAA Ocean Exploration’s digital data are also available through larger data collections, specifically those managed and hosted by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, which also hosts the IHO Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry and serves as the long-term archive for Seabed 2030 data.

Partnership Opportunities

At NOAA Ocean Exploration, partnerships play a crucial role in all that we do. By working with institutions with a wide range of experience, expertise, and creativity, we enhance the potential for significant new advances in discovery, understanding, action, and inspiration. To grow our network of partners, NOAA Ocean Exploration seeks partnerships with private-sector, academic, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations and federal, state, tribal, and territorial agencies.

For Members of the General Public

Digital technology has made it possible for anyone with an internet connection to experience the excitement of exploration online. While we do not currently have the capability to generally allow direct interaction between the public and members of our science teams online, there are many opportunities for members of the public to follow along.

NOAA Ocean Exploration Website

The NOAA Ocean Exploration website is designed to be engaging and educational for all who wish to learn about, discover, and virtually explore the ocean realm. Dive summaries, stories, images, and videos are added to our website during or after expeditions, allowing visitors to learn about activities and findings. Our website also offers resources to help anyone increase their understanding of the science and technology behind ocean exploration.

Live Video

During expeditions on Okeanos Explorer, live video is streamed from the ship to shore, allowing site visitors to follow mapping operations and ROV dives live and watch discoveries happen along with the science team.

Social Media

NOAA Ocean Exploration uses social media to share updates from the field, images and videos, stories, educational information, and more. During expeditions, we also post updates about timing, location, and purpose of dives and alert followers of major findings.

For Educators

An important part of the mission of NOAA Ocean Exploration is inspiring young people and building the next generation of ocean explorers. One way to do this is by arming educators with the tools and information they need to bring the wonder, excitement, and importance of ocean exploration to students. Below are a few ways that educators can get engaged with NOAA Ocean Exploration.

Professional Development Workshops

NOAA Ocean Exploration has developed Alliance Partnerships with aquariums and science centers to offer ocean science and exploration professional development opportunities to educators nationwide. These professional development offerings help build regional cadres of ocean exploration teacher leaders.

Ocean Odyssey Grants

NOAA Ocean Exploration and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation offer grants to educators and education programs leading workforce development initiatives that advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility within ocean science and/or exploration career pathways.

Educational Materials

NOAA Ocean Exploration has developed a range of standards-based education materials to bring entire classrooms "on board" for deep-ocean exploration and discovery.

Deep Ocean Education Project

The Deep Ocean Education Project website is a one-stop-shop for ocean exploration education resources, combining materials and exploration opportunities from NOAA Ocean Exploration, Ocean Exploration Trust, and Schmidt Ocean Institute.

NOAA Teacher at Sea

On occasion, educators may join Okeanos Explorer mapping expeditions through the NOAA Teacher at Sea Program, which aims to provide teachers, kindergarten through college level, with hands-on, real-world research experience working at sea.

For Students

As part of its goal to inspire and train the next generation of ocean explorers, scientists, engineers, and communicators, NOAA Ocean Exploration supports a range of opportunities for current or recent students.

Explorer-in-Training Program

NOAA Ocean Exploration sponsors the Explorer-in-Training Program, enabling students to increase their competitiveness for educational and career opportunities in ocean-related fields. Explorer-in-training interns gain valuable, interdisciplinary experience in ocean exploration while collaborating on office projects and expeditions, both at sea and on shore.

Other Internships and Fellowships

NOAA Ocean Exploration also hosts interns and fellows through other programs such as the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program, EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship Program, Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program, the William M. Lapenta Student Internship Program, and Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship.

For Indigenous Community Members

NOAA Ocean Exploration is committed to working with Tribal communities to explore ways to partner with these communities and incorporate Indigenous traditional knowledge into Western science operations, resulting in a more holistic understanding of areas being explored.

For Members of the Media

For expeditions led or supported by NOAA Ocean Exploration, including those on Okeanos Explorer, resources are available to members of the media, including broadcast, print, and web-quality imagery and video. NOAA Ocean Exploration can also provide additional information about exploration tools and technologies and connect members of the media with science experts on ocean exploration topics.