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Small Boat Program


NOAA Administrative Orders (NAO) are durable intra-agency directives. NAO 209-125: Small Boat Safety Program focuses on safety and environmental compliance. The intent of NAO 209-125 is to establish safety standards for the NOAA small boat fleet.

NOAA Adminstrative Order 209-125 establishes the core elements of the Small Boat Program, including:

  • The Small Boat Program
  • The Small Boat Safety Board
  • The NOAA Small Boat Standards & Procedure Manual
  • Director, OMAO as final administrative authority

For more information about NOAA Administrative Orders, visit the NOAA Administrative Order section of NOAA’s Office of the Chief Administrative Officer website.

Small Boat Safety Board Charter

The  NOAA Small Boat Safety Board Charter establishes the roles and responsibly of the Board. It ties in with NOAA Administrative Order 209-125.

Small Boat Standards & Procedures Manual

The Small Boat Standards & Procedures Manual (SBS&PM) contains the standards and procedures for operation and management of all NOAA small boats. The intent is to provide guidance, enhance safety, and promote operational readiness.The Small Boat Standards & Procedures Manual is established and maintained by the Small Boat Safety Board, in accordance with NOAA Administrative Order 209-125. It applies to individuals and Programs involved with NOAA small boats.

If there are any comments, requests for change, additions or clarifications regarding the NOAA Small Boat Standards & Procedures Manual please complete this FORM or contact

Supplemental Small Boat Policies

Each NOAA program is allowed to augment the Small Boat Standards & Procedures Manual using Supplemental Small Boat Policies. The upplemental Small Boat Policies have the same force, effect, and authority as the Small Boat Standards & Procedures Manual; however, they cannot diminish the minimum standards set by the Manual.

The current Supplemental Small Boat Polices are:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

No Supplementals currently exist at the Line Office level within NMFS. However individual regions and laboratories have Supplementals. Contact your regional VPC or Lab Director for more information.

Office of Law Enforcement (OLE)

OLE has confidential Supplementals. Contact Tim Donaldson (912-577-0508) for more information

National Weather Service (NWS)

No Supplementals currently exist for NWS.

National Ocean Service (NOS)

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) has a supplemental manual. Please contact for a copy.

Office of Marine & Aviation Operations (OMAO)

  1. The OMAO Supplemental Policy applies to:
    • All small boats operated by OMAO
    • All operators-in-charge of small boats operated by OMAO
    • All small boat operators, crew members, scientific personnel, and passengers embarked aboard NOAA ships
    • All program boats embarked on NOAA ships
  2. The  OMAO Weight Testing Guidance for Small Boats Lifted by Shipboard Cranes establishes weight testing standards for boats hoisted by shipboard cranes and davits.

Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR)

No Supplementals currently exist for OAR.


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Reviewed: September 27, 2022. Contact us with page issues.

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