NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) administers the NOAA fleet of ships and aircraft, and trains divers to safely facilitate Earth observation.

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About NOAA Marine & Aviation

OMAO's research and survey ships comprise the largest fleet of federal research ships in the nation. Ranging from large oceanographic research vessels capable of exploring the world’s deepest ocean, to smaller ships responsible for charting the shallow bays and inlets of the United States, the fleet supports a wide range of marine activities including fisheries research, nautical charting, and ocean and climate studies. OMAO’s aircraft operate throughout the world providing a wide range of capabilities including hurricane reconnaissance and research, marine mammal and fisheries assessment, and coastal mapping. NOAA aircraft carry scientists and specialized instrument packages to conduct research for NOAA’s missions. Composed of civilians and officers of the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, OMAO also manages the NOAA Diving Program, NOAA Small Boat Program and NOAA Aviation Safety Program.


The number of specialized environmental data-gathering aircraft NOAA's Aircraft Operations Center in Lakeland, Florida, operates, manages and maintains.


The number of missions NOAA’s hurricane hunter aircraft and crews flew (equivalent to more than 430 hours) during the 2019 hurricane season.

A fleet of survey vessels

The Office of Marine and Aviation Operations manages, maintains and operates a fleet of 15 hydrographic, oceanographic research and fisheries survey vessels.


The average dives per year since 2011.


The depth, in feet, NOAA divers collectively descended in 2021 .

Our mission

OMAO's mission is to safely deliver effective Earth observation capabilities, integrate emerging technologies, and provide a specialized, flexible, and reliable team responsive to NOAA and the Nation.


The percentage of dives in 2021 that were conducted off of small boats — a collaborative effort between the NOAA Diving Program and Small Boat Program.


 The percentage of scientific dives performed by OMAO in 2021.