Issued 1/3/2017; Effective 1/3/2017; Reviewed Last: 07/29/2020
SECTION 1. PURPOSE.
This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrative Order (NAO) prescribes the policy and procedures for transporting nongovernment passengers and privately owned property on NOAA vessels, aircraft, and motor vehicles.
SECTION 2. SCOPE.
.01 This NAO shall apply to all NOAA entities.
SECTION 3. DEFINITIONS.
.01 Throughout this NAO, the terms “vessels,” “aircraft,” and “motor vehicles” refer to NOAA-owned or long-term leased conveyances that are operated by NOAA personnel.
.02 Throughout this NAO, the term “relatives” refers to individuals related by birth, adoption, or legal marriage to a sponsoring NOAA employee, and the term “guests” refers to any other individuals not related to the sponsor. Both refer to individuals whose conveyance aboard NOAA vessels, aircraft, and motor vehicles is not intended to support the official NOAA purpose(s) being served by that conveyance.
SECTION 4. POLICY.
.01 General Provisions.
- Transportation of nongovernment personnel on NOAA vessels, aircraft, and motor vehicles is considered in the best interest of the government if it heightens the continuing public awareness of the NOAA mission and its programs.
- When in the best interest of the government, and when arrangements and approval are given in advance, NOAA entities shall provide transportation to nongovernment employees including accredited scientific observers, students, scientists, foreign government officials, special groups, and representatives. NOAA contract employees and NOAA interns who are not considered guests or relatives are to be treated in the same manner as NOAA employees for the requirements of this order.
- Approvals shall be granted only in those instances where it is in the best interest of the government, when conveyances are used to conduct government business, and when the transportation of nongovernment passengers does not interfere with NOAA operations.
- The commanding officer or officer in charge, aircraft commander, or motor vehicle operator may authorize passage in emergencies involving the protection of life and property.
- Privately owned property transported in NOAA conveyances shall be limited to small items authorized by the commanding officer or officer in charge, aircraft commander, motor vehicle operator, or the chief of a field party.
.02 Requirements for NOAA vessels.
Relatives and guests of sponsoring NOAA personnel may be authorized to embark on NOAA vessels departing on cruises/missions of a short duration as long as:
- The relative or guest is accompanied by the sponsoring NOAA personnel.
- The relative or guest is at least 13 years old and fits properly into the approved personal flotation devices normally provided by the vessel and required by the U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection, NOAA fleet inspection standards, or NOAA’s “Small Boat Standards and Procedures Manual,” as appropriate.
- The vessel is properly manned and equipped with sufficient safety and lifesaving equipment as required by the U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection, NOAA fleet inspection standards, or NOAA’s “Small Boat Standards and Procedures Manual,” as appropriate.
- The cruise/mission is a day cruise/mission only. The overnight accommodation of relatives and guests aboard vessels is not authorized.
- The vessel departs from and returns to the same originating port. An exception will be made in those cases when the vessel cannot return to the originating port within the same day. If the return cruise/mission to the originating facility must be made on a subsequent day, all accommodations and other personal expenses incurred at an intermediate facility shall be the responsibility of the sponsoring NOAA personnel and their relatives or guests. If a return cruise/mission is not scheduled, travel of relatives and guests back to the originating port shall be paid for by the sponsoring NOAA personnel and their relatives and guests.
- The sponsoring NOAA personnel and their relatives and guests are responsible for the reimbursement of meals consumed by those relatives or guests aboard NOAA vessels with messing services.
- All approved passengers must conduct themselves in accordance with the “Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch.”
.03 Requirements for NOAA aircraft.
Personnel approved to fly aboard NOAA aircraft must be a designated crew member or authorized in advance, consistent with NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) policy 220-1-1.
.04 Requirements for NOAA motor vehicles.
Relatives and guests of sponsoring NOAA personnel may be authorized to travel in NOAA motor vehicles as long as:
- The relative or guest is accompanied by the sponsoring NOAA personnel.
- All accommodations and other personal expenses of the relatives and guests are the responsibility of the sponsoring NOAA personnel and their relatives and guests.
- The transportation of relatives and guests of sponsoring NOAA personnel shall not:
- Cause the government to incur any additional expense.
- Delay government business.
- Involve private profit-seeking activities or commercial dealings other than consumer purchases.
SECTION 5. RESPONSIBILITIES.
.01 NOAA officials at or above the Financial Management Center (FMC) level:
- May authorize the presence of nongovernment passengers on NOAA vessels and NOAA aircraft.
- Will ensure that NOAA policies and procedures regarding nongovernment personnel are followed.
.02 Division directors may authorize the transportation of nongovernment passengers in NOAA motor vehicles.
.03 The commanding officer or officer in charge of a vessel, aircraft commander, or motor vehicle operator shall:
- Verify that any nongovernment passenger has received, in advance, the necessary authorization for transportation.
- Refuse passage for nongovernment passengers when NOAA plans or schedules are adversely affected, when accommodation poses a hardship on NOAA personnel, or for other good cause as determined by their discretion.
.04 Authorizing officials shall work to ensure that the privilege of NOAA personnel to have accompanying relatives or guests is not abused. Any abuse of the policy in this NAO shall be referred to supervisors for appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with DAO 202-751.
SECTION 6. REFERENCES.
.01 NOAA’s “Small Boat Standards and Procedures Manual,” 3rd edition, August 8, 2011.
.02 “Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch,” 5 Code of Federal Regulations Part 2635, as amended at 76 Federal Register 38547, July 1, 2011.
SECTION 7. EFFECT ON OTHER ISSUANCES.
.01 This NAO supersedes NAO-217-106, “Transportation of Nongovernment Personnel as Passengers on NOAA Vessels, Aircraft, and Motor Vehicles,” effective July 12, 1992.
.02 The Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere signs because there is no delegation of authority for this NAO.
An electronic copy of this order will be posted on the NOAA Office of the Chief Administrative Officer website under the NOAA Administrative Issuances Section.
Deputy Under Secretary for Operations
Performing the duties of Under Secretary
of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
and NOAA Administrator
Offices of Primary Interest:
NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO);
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS);
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR);
National Weather Service (NWS);
Office of The Chief Financial Officer (CFO); and
National Ocean Service (NOS).