NOAA guidance documents

Executive Order 13891, “Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents,” requires agencies to post guidance documents to a single guidance website. A guidance document is an agency statement of general applicability and future effect, other than a regulatory action, that sets forth a policy on a statutory, regulatory, or technical issue, or an interpretation of a statute or regulation.

Guidance documents do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. They are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

This page provides a portal to guidance documents issued by NOAA and/or any of its line organizations. 

NOAA-wide guidance documents

At this time, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does not have in effect any guidance documents subject to Executive Order 13891 that apply across NOAA.

Guidance documents by line organizations

National Marine Fisheries Service

NMFS Policy Directive System

National Ocean Service

NOS Guidance Documents

Other helpful background documents



If you wish to petition the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to modify or withdraw any of its guidance documents, please use the NOAA guidance petition form offsite link.

Or you may write to us at:

Office of the General Counsel - Guidance documents
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
Herbert C. Hoover Building
14th and Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC. 20230