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Utility Navigation

Small Boat Program

Boat Procurement & Disposal

Boat Procurements, Transfers, Excessing, and Disposal


Program Directors, or their designees, are responsible for assessing the suitability of a new or used small boat or small boat design in relation to cost, mission requirements, operational risk, safety, and environmental compliance prior to initiating a small boat purchase. The NOAA Small Boat Program shall be notified prior to acquisition if significant alterations or modifications are required after its delivery in order to meet mission requirements or prior to any commitment to build a small boat to Government-furnished technical specifications. Section 13 of the  covers small boat acquisitions in full detail.

All NOAA small boats must have a NOAA hull number. Click to view the NOAA Small Boat Hull Registration Number Request (NOAA Form 57-19-03 (12-20))

The Small Boat Program has created a NOAA Small Boat Pre-Acquisition Request (06-22), that Program Directors can use to assess the suitability of new, used, or transferred small boats. NOTE: The Pre-Acquisition Worksheet is in beta version. The Small Boat Program would appreciate feedback and suggestions on improvement. 


All property transfers shall be in accordance with NOAA Personal Property policies. Please see the NOAA Personal Property Management Branch page for details and contacts for your line office.

Excessing and Disposal

  1. Prepare the boat for sale / disposal
    1. Clean the boat
    2. Inventory any equipment that may be needed by other user in the region.
    3. Make inventoried equipment available to other users.
    4. Have a survey performed if one has not been done recently to get an inventory of the material condition of the boat and equipment that is being disposed of.
  2. Contact General Services Administration (GSA)
    1. Set a minimum bid that is appropriate. Use various contacts and other boat advertisements to determine the appropriate bid price.
    2. Work with the local GSA representative to keep the bidding open for the maximum time period.  (Two weeks is appropriate.) 
  3. Prepare for the sale
    1. Create a sales flier that can be posted.
    2. Contact: boat yards, marinas and have the flier posted.
    3. Post a copy of the flier with all pertinent information on the GSA website
    4. Post an add on local services such as Craigslist with link to GSA
    5. Ensure that all registered safety equipment that is registered as NOAA property is appropriately unregistered when sold. For example: un-register your Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) via NOAA Satellite and Information Services, or phone 888-212-7283.
    6. Ensure all stickers and other forms of identification such as small boat number etc are removed from all boat surfaces and equipment.
  4. During the open bid period
    1. Brief your administrator to answer the common questions regarding the sale/disposal in anticipation of many phone calls.
    2. Schedule 2 or three open houses during which prospective buyers can observe the boat, listen to the engines and observe equipment in operation.
    3. Set aside two weeks to answer phone calls etc. and have one person as the point of contact.
    4. Create a list of all contacts who are interested in the boat.
  5. Following the close of the bidding
    1. Ensure that when payment is received a faxed copy is sent to the present small boat custodian as receipt of payment before the boat and equipment are released. To the new owner.
    2. Contact the small boat coordinator to make sure the boat is taken off the inventory
    3. Contact your local property custodian to ensure that vessel is taken of inventory.
    4. Ensure the gas card and license plate on the trailer are removed and returned to GSA

Apply for a Maritime Mobile Service Identification (MMSI) number

NOAA's Radio Frequency Management Division (RFMD) provides an application to request an MMSI number for digital select calling (DSC) capable radios. All NOAA radios that require a call sign and MMSI number should be using this site and not going through a commercial vendor like Boat US.

Requests for MMSI numbers should be emailed to:

General information on MMSI can be found at the USCG Navigation Center.

Formulating a Small Boat Budget

Use  NOAA Small Boat Budget Formulation to plan potential costs of ownership and operation of a small research boat.

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

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