The nation's ocean and coastal agency: Supporting coastal communities, promoting a robust economy, and protecting coastal and marine ecosystems
a survey mark collection of infographics GIS image of projected sea level rise school of spadefish
map of Pacific Ocean
Ocean Fact
Ocean or Sea?

Many people use the terms "ocean" and "sea" interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two terms when speaking of geography (the study of the Earth's surface).

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About NOS

The National Ocean Service (NOS) translates science, tools and services into action, to address threats to coastal areas such as climate change, population growth, port congestion, and contaminants in the environment, all working towards healthy coasts and healthy economies.

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Miami coastline


Supporting healthy, resilient coastal communities.


Midway Atoll


Protecting the health, productivity, and diversity of our ocean.


NOAA Coast Survey vessel


Navigation, tides, currents, and geodesy.