Frequently Asked Questions
Why aren't NOAA's Hurricane Hunter planes torn apart in storm?
Planes are generally not destroyed by strong winds while in flight. Airliners routinely fly in jet streams with winds exceeding 150 mph over the U.S. during the winter. It's the shear, or sudden change in horizontal or vertical winds, that can destroy an aircraft, or cause its loss of control. That's why NOAA's Hurricane Hunter aircraft don't fly through tornadoes. In a like manner, NOAA pilots and crew routinely (but never casually) fly in the high-wind environment of the hurricane and don't fear it tearing the plane apart. However, they are always monitoring for "hot spots" of severe weather and shear that they can often identify on radar and avoid if it's too severe.
What is the NOAA Diving Manual and where can I get it?
The NOAA Diving Manual is a comprehensive reference specifically designed for the diving professional. It was originally written for use by NOAA divers to assist them in conducting various operations and significant contributions to the manual are still provided by experienced NOAA personnel. The NOAA Diving Manual should not be confused with the NOAA Diving Standards and Safety Manuals which contain NOAA's diving regulations.
When and how long are the Teacher at Sea cruises?
Participants can expect to be at sea anywhere from one week to one month, with the average cruise lasting 12-14 days. Most of our participants try to sail on cruises offered during the summer vacation, but cruises take place throughout most of the year on a space-available basis.
Does NOAA Corps decide where I will be stationed or will I have input?
During Basic Officer Training Class, each officer will submit a memorandum listing his/her top three choices for their first ship assignment. The needs of the service are primary and there is no guarantee of assignment. However, each officer's assignment preference and education is taken into consideration. For future assignments, whenever possible, NOAA Corps will try to match an officer's assignment with one of his/her skills, background and assignment preferences.
For more information on NOAA's fleet click on NOAA's Marine Operations
For billet descriptions click on Assignments
What is marine debris?
Our oceans are filled with items that do not belong there. Huge amounts of consumer plastics, metals, rubber, paper, textiles, derelict fishing gear, vessels, and other lost or discarded items enter the marine environment every day, making marine debris one of the most widespread pollution problems facing the world's oceans and waterways.
Marine debris is defined as any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment or the Great Lakes. Learn more about marine debris and find out how to prevent it.
NOAA divers from the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center diving unit have been working since 1996 to remove marine debris, specifically derelict fishing gear, from the Hawaiian Archipelago. Every year they set out on the NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai to survey vast swaths of coast line and coral habitat to collect tons of the derelict fishing gear. Read more about why this is important and what they have collected so far on the NOAA Fisheries website.
Where can I find information on a specific NOAA Ship?
I have a private pilot's license; can I be commissioned as an aviator?
NOAA Corps has two venues for recruiting pilots:
- Personnel brought in as an Inter-Service Transfer from the US Navy for the distinct purpose of P-3 support.
- Acceptance to flight training following an initial three year assignment at sea as a bridge watchstander.
Note: An officer is not guaranteed aviation training upon commissioning. Pilots and Navigators have strict vision and other physical requirements.
What is the salary of a NOAA Corps Officer?
NOAA Corps Officers are paid on a military pay scale. The pay amount is based on rank, time in service, marital status, and where you live.
For more information click on Pay and Benefits
What must my major(s) be to apply for the NOAA Commissioned Officers Corps program?
Applicants must receive a four-year degree. All majors are acceptable, however, engineering, the physical and life sciences, or mathematics are preferred. All candidates must meet minimum course requirements, regardless of the degree they hold.
If I am a retired service member, can I join NOAA Corps?
Retiring from any of the other six uniform services makes an applicant ineligible for appointment.