NOAA 2004-101
Contact: Fred Gorell

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Ocean Agency Provides Details on Competition for Student Teams

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in partnership with Coastal America and the National Environmental Education and Training Foundation, provided details today on a nationwide contest for teams of students to choose a name for a newly acquired NOAA exploration ship, and develop an education project based on a proposed name. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Students in grades 6 through 12 from all U.S. state-recognized public, private and home schools are eligible to participate. Schools, including home schools, must be in compliance with federal and state civil rights and nondiscrimination statutes. Name-based team projects may include production of studies, models, experiments, time charts and historical comparisons, as well as creative expressions in writing, song, artworks and film. Projects may be created for any student age group, K-12, should be used in a classroom setting at least once and should be able to be reproduced in other classrooms.

Ship names and supporting projects that capture the spirit of ocean exploration are encouraged. Contest guidelines, requirements, timeline and prizes for the winning team are described in detail on NOAA’s Education Web site:

The former USNS Capable was transferred from the Navy to NOAA in a recent ceremony in Seattle. After conversion, the ship will be the only NOAA ship dedicated exclusively to exploration and research of our oceans.

“From the beginning, the transfer of this ship represents a great value to the U.S. taxpayer and when converted, it will provide significant and long-term benefits to ocean exploration and research,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

NOAA’s ocean exploration missions include mapping and characterizing the physical, biological, chemical and archaeological aspects of the ocean; developing a more thorough understanding of ocean dynamics and interactions at new levels; developing and deploying new sensors and systems to regain U.S. leadership in ocean technology; and reaching out to the public to communicate the importance of the oceans.

Despite a long and rich history of ocean exploration and discovery, relatively little is known about what the oceans contain, what the seafloor looks like, or how the oceans function. Ocean exploration has found submerged canyons, mountain ranges, volcanoes and other intriguing topographic features but even less is known about how these features interact with the forces of ocean currents to create biologically rich and diverse marine ecosystems. New discoveries are made almost every time scientist-explorers go to sea to probe the ocean depths with new tools and sensors, yet 95 percent of Earth’s deep ocean remains a mystery.

The new ocean exploration vessel will join NOAA's fleet under the direction of NOAA's Marine and Aviation Operations.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:


NOAA's Marine and Aviation Operations:

NOAA’s Ocean Exploration: