Our Mission icon Our Mission

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

With the mission to explore the ocean for national benefit, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) is the only U.S. federal program dedicated to exploring the deep ocean. OER is 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.

OER executes its 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.

OER 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, OER allows 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 OER 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.

OER 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