Our Mission icon Our Mission

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

NOAA Ocean Exploration is dedicated to exploring the unknown ocean, unlocking its potential through scientific discovery, technological advancements, and data delivery. By working closely with partners across public, private, and academic sectors, we are filling gaps in our basic understanding of the marine environment. This allows us, collectively, to protect ocean health, sustainably manage our marine resources, accelerate our national economy, better understand our changing environment, and enhance appreciation of the importance of the ocean in our everyday lives.

We execute our mission to explore the ocean for national benefit 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 NOAA Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute .

With priority placed on exploration of deep waters and the waters of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, 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 Ocean Mapping, Exploration, and Characterization and the strategy’s Implementation Plan.

The spirit of curiosity has propelled the human desire to explore and better understand our natural world throughout time. To successfully address the modern-day challenges our ocean planet faces, contemporary ocean exploration continues to build on the knowledge of our predecessors while encompassing and empowering a broad range of perspectives and stakeholders. Video courtesy of NOAA Ocean Exploration.
Download largest version (mp4, 210 MB).