Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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?
Can NOAA Corps officers donate unused leave under the leave transfer program?
In 1988, Congress passed a law providing a way for federal employees to share leave. The intent is that if a federal employee - or a family member - experiences a medical emergency, and as a result misses more work days than are covered by his or her own leave, they can avoid the additional hardship of lost income by using leave hours donated by others. You can learn more about this program at the DOC Human Resources website or the NOAA Workforce Management site.
There are some exceptions to the policy. Although NOAA Corps officers are federal employees, commissioned officer leave is governed by different laws than civilian leave. NOAA Corps officer leave is therefore not included in the leave transfer program.
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.
What class is my boat?
|Small Boat Class||Definition|
|Class A||less than 16 feet length overall|
|Class I||16 to less than 26 feet length overall|
|Class II||26 to less than 40 feet length overall|
|Class III||40 to less than 65 feet length overall|
|Small Research Vessel (SRV)||greater than 65 feet length overall but less than 300 gross tons|
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 are the educational requirements to apply for NOAA Corps?
Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree awarded from a postsecondary institution accredited by the U. S. Department of Education. Accreditation can be verified at the Department of Education website. Preferably the applicant's major is in a course of study related to NOAA's scientific or technical activities.
All applicants, regardless of degree(s) awarded, must have completed at least 48 semester (72 quarter) hours in science, math or engineering course work pertaining to NOAA's missions.
For more information click on eligibility requirements
What do I need to do with my boat for winterization & storage?
This article at BoatUS.com has comprehensive information on "Winterizing Your Engine".