About the National Ocean Service
Positioning America for the Future
In the U.S., where over half of us live along the coast and more than 78 percent of our overseas trade by volume comes and goes along our marine highways, the health of our coasts is intricately connected to the health of our nation's economy. The National Ocean Service is the nation's ocean and coastal agency. Following are examples of how NOS is helping coastal America face change while building a strong economy.
Strong Economies, Commerce and Transportation
- Ships move $1.4 trillion worth of products in and out of U.S. ports every year. Every ship relies on navigation charts that NOS alone produces.
- Coastal emergency planners and water authorities rely on global positioning accuracy at the centimeter level. NOS is the national authority on global positioning.
- All mapping, charting, and transportation activities are founded in a reliable, accurate national coordinate system. NOS is solely responsible for providing that system.
Safe, Resilient and Sustainable Communities
- Coastal communities need to recover quickly after hurricanes, oil spills, and other emergencies. Immediately after an incident, NOS surveys the ocean floor for dangers to navigation so ports may be reopened; conducts aerial surveys to rapidly assess damage; provides trajectory forecasts for oil/chemical spills and debris fields; and provides the positioning framework needed for rescue, recovery and rebuilding activities.
- Coastal communities are turning to emerging opportunities like alternative energy. NOS provides the science-based information and tools that communities need to manage competing demands for ocean and coastal uses.
- State and local officials need reliable, actionable information to adapt to the impacts of coastal hazards and climate change. NOS provides the scientific foundation and socioeconomic information needed for solid decisions.
Vital and Productive Environments
- Every day, commercial and recreational fishers, divers, and tourists take advantage of America's "underwater national parks," generating $4 billion annually for local communities. NOS is the nation's authority for identifying and managing marine areas that need protection.
- Oil and chemical spills damage environments and disrupt economies. NOS is the authoritative resource for science related to debris, oil, and chemical spills; we provide responders with the information needed to understand the severity of spill and where the spill will travel.
- Ecosystems face complex threats. NOS develops and implements science-based strategies to protect, maintain, and restore the health and resiliency of ecosystems, including in the Arctic region and in response to climate change.