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Project Instructions

All field projects aboard NOAA ships are defined by formal project instructions, which cover the operational and administrative details of the project.

The chief scientist and/or principal investigator retains the primary responsibility for preparing and submitting the project instructions and related material. Execution of the project as described therein is the joint responsibility of the chief scientist and a ship's commanding officer.

The following editable document is provided as a guide in preparing project instructions:…

A new project instruction template for all projects will be effective on January 1, 2024 and the current version (revised June 2023) will no longer be accepted for projects after this date. The new template is located here with instructions on how to fill out the document included on the first page. 

Draft project instructions are submitted by a Line Office program to the ship's servicing Marine Operations Center. The ship's operations officer will collect comments and input from the ship’s department heads and Command. Comments and input are returned to the program for responses/clarification and the inclusion of any necessary updates to the draft. When the program, ship, and marine center are in agreement that the project instructions have been finalized, signatures are requested from the project chief scientist, Line Office program director, and marine center Commanding Officer. The endorsed project instructions are then sent to the program/lab and the ship.

Port call logistics to consider when project planning

  • Fueling: Loading or unloading may be restricted and the ship may be required to shift berths after the completion of the fueling operation.
  • Crane availability and capacity: Please specify in the project instructions if shore-side cranes, forklifts, or other services are needed to move vans or heavy equipment. The science party is responsible for costs incurred for these services and must have their own contract set up.
  • Crew working hours: While in port the crew works standard hours or may take liberty/leave. Crew assistance with staging operations will be limited to normal working hours. Any exceptions must be negotiated with the commanding officer in advance.
  • Shipping & receiving gear: All shipments should be addressed care of the responsible project participant, not just the ship or port agent. A single point of contact for all scientific shipments originating from the various labs and project participants is helpful.
  • Mission hazmat and chemicals: The science party is responsible for transport and disposal of unused chemicals. Please plan ahead to manage these at your destination port.

Contact your ship's operations officer for ship specific details and questions.