The earth has one big ocean. The ocean shapes the earth. The ocean influences Earth's climate. The ocean makes Earth livable. The ocean supports a diversity of life and ecosystems. The ocean is connected to us and we are connected to the ocean. The ocean is largely unexplored.

NERACOOS delivers real-time ocean and weather information, ocean forecasts and long term ocean information in the Northeast that support and enhance maritime commerce, safety, management, research and education- and makes it accessible through  To learn more about ocean observing in the Northeast, visit our About Ocean Observing page.

Our education approach encompasses the following four components:  
1. Regional Collaboration
2. Scientist-Educator Partnerships
3. Ocean Observing-Based Programs and Activities
4. Education Resources and Guidance

NERACOOS provides information that helps audiences develop their own understanding of the ocean's influence on weather and climate and the relationship between oceans and humans.  This "Ocean Literacy" is critical to sustaining our ocean and coastal regions.  NERACOOS works closely with NEOSEC, the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative, to promote Ocean Literacy.  The Ocean Literacy Principles provide a framework to engage people in education and outreach activities related to ocean observing.  NEOSEC and NERACOOS work together to partner with local and regional educaiton organizations to bring cutting edge ocean information into programs and displays to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers.  For example, the Families By the Seaside project was awarded to NEOSEC and its partners to create meaningful learning experiences for underserved/underrepresented families at informal science education centers by integrating technology into their programs.

NERACOOS helps to sponsor the NEOSEC Biennial New England Ocean Literacy Summit, which provide a unique opportunity for educators, scientists, and decision makers to gather for networking, presentations, and hands-on workshops that highlight educator and scientist collaborations. 

Promoting Ocean Literacy
Ocean literacy is an understanding of the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean.  An ocean-literate person:

  • Understands the essential principles and fundamental concepts about the functioning of the ocean;
  • Can communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way; and
  • Is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources.

In October 2005, several national organizations (National Geographic Society, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, College of Exploration, and National Marine Educators’ Association) published a list of seven Essential Principles and 44 Fundamental Concepts that currently define Ocean Literacy. 

NEOSEC and its members are working to build regional capacity for implementing broader impact activities by ocean scientists, and working with educators to ensure that the content and products of current ocean science research efficiently reach a broad audience in a timely fashion.

NERACOOS real-time data and ocean forecasts can be used in displays, kiosks and online educational tools.

  • One example of the scientist-educator broader impact effort is Right Whales and Ocean Observing: An Exhibit that Connects People to Research. Scientists from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS) are working with staff from the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH and NERACOOS to create an exhibit that highlights Right Whale research in SBNMS, New England’s only designated marine sanctuary.  It will highlight how the research is done, tools that are used, and how the data is translated into policy and management.
  • The Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH, works with research scientists to create exhibits and programs that teach the general public and school children about marine science. The Seasons of the Sea exhibit encourages visitors to learn about the upwelling, seasonal migration through the Gulf of Maine and about phytoplankton blooms using ocean observing information.
  • Students can now learn about the Long Island Sound in a fun, interactive, and immersive environment, created by Float4 Interactive.  The display, installed at the Marine Science Magnet High School in Southeastern Connecticut, displays data in Long Island Sound directly from the NERACOOS buoys.  The installation is composed of two large plasma screens placed back to back creating a unique interactive immersive experience where multiple users can play and discover altogether and simultaneously.  The students can interact directly with the installation while they explore the latest developments in the world of marine science technology in the Long Island Sound. 
  • Researchers with the Gulf of Maine Census of Marine Life use ocean observing data in order to better explain diversity, abundance and distribution of marine life and the relationship to physical parameters, such as temperature and currents in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem.
  • Boat Camp, Inc uses buoy data to discuss current conditions, variances in temperature, and the wind's effects on the seas.

Education Resources and Guidance
NERACOOS is a resource for real-time and historical information about the ocean that can be used by educators and students:

  • Real-time data portal: An interactive map that shows the latest weather and ocean observations including winds, waves, air and water temperature, salinity, right whale presence and more.
  • Graphing and Download Tool: Provides easy access to data on past conditions that can be viewed and analyzed.
  • Text a buoy and Dial a buoy: Tools that allow mobile access to the latest weather and ocean observations.
  • Wave Height and Direction Forecast: Maps depict predicted wave conditions across the Gulf of Maine 48 hours in the future.
  • Coastal Flooding and Erosion Forecast: Decision support tool uses forecasts of water level and waves to predict coastal damage.
  • Ocean Surface Currents: Maps show speed and direction of currents based on data from high-frequency radar.
  • Ocean Climatology: An interactive tool that displays the average ocean and weather conditions from buoy locations throughout the northeast.
  • Satellite images for Chlorophyll and Sea Surface Temperatures (to be updated in 2013): A “big picture” view of ocean conditions in the Northeast.

Downloadable Lessons Plans/Teacher Resources

Census of Marine Life Gulf of Maine Area Online Lesson Plans
EPA Teacher Resource Center- This website will inspire your teaching about the environment! You'll find our best lesson plans and activity guides, on-line curriculum and video libraries, award programs, funding opportunities and more.
United States Geological Survey Teaching modules
Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council Coastal Awareness Activity Book and Teacher’s Guide


  • Buoy Observations- Give students a look at real-time data and show how each location in the ocean is different by graphing the data with this worksheet. This will allow students to question why each buoy collects data and why locations may differ. 
  • Buoy Definitions- This worksheet is made up of common terms students will come across when looking at buoy stations and their data. 
  • IOOS Scavenger Hunt- To introduce students to IOOS and the websites available to them, a scavenger hunt helps them find answers for themselves! This will give students the oppotunity to explore data portals, buoys, and learn about the organizations monitoring their oceans. The scavenger hunt is made to assist students or educators with first time navigation of IOOS sites.
  • Adopt A Buoy- This worksheet will give students a chance to "adopt" a buoy of their choice and monitor it over an extended period of time. In doing so students can gain understanding in the importance of buoy observations and monitoring, and why looking at data over time is relevant.

IOOS & Regional Association (RA) Handouts: Outlines the data types avaliable, relevant education tools, and contact information specific to each RA. 



CeNCOOS, Central and Northern California IOOS

GCOOS, Gulf of Maine IOOS

GLOS, Great Lakes IOOS

IOOS, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System


NANOOS, Northwest IOOS


PacIOOS, Pacific Islands IOOS

SCCOOS, Southeast California IOOS

SECOORA, Southeast Coastal Ocean IOOS

On-Site Educational Facility

Bedford Institute of Oceanography
Sea Pavilion
Seacoast Science Center
Gulf of Maine Research Institute

University Programs

Boston University Marine Science Undergraduate/Graduate Program 
Dalhousie University Department of Oceanography 
University of Maine
University of Massachusetts 
University of NH 
University of RI 
University of Connecticut

Teacher Workshops

Maine Department of Marine Resources Teacher Training, In-Service Workshops
New England Aquarium Teacher Resources/Professional Development
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Aquatic WILD

Public Education/Outreach Materials

NEOSEC - New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative
WHOI Ocean Topics Ocean Instruments
NOAA/IOOS Outreach Materials (one-pagers, brochures, videos, podcasts, lesson plans)
NURC - National Undersea Research Center (North Atlantic and Great Lakes)
New England Aquarium Lecture Series


Gulf of Maine Council Gulf of Maine Times
Gulf of Maine Marine Habitat Primer


Data Access/Tools 

Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS) online mapping tool
Northeast States Emergency Consortium Real-Time Hazard Maps
National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) (Wells, Great Bay, Waquoit, Narragansett Bay) 
Data Resources: System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP), Centralized Data Mangement Office, Lesson Plans Using SWMP Data

Career Center

Marine and Oceanographic Technology Network Career Center

Stakeholder Input 

Mass Ocean Partnership Public and Stakeholder Input
Rhode Island Ocean SAMP Stakeholder Meetings


OPeNDAP Data Connector Online Tutorial


2016 Ocean Literacy Summit

Rhode Island Sea Grant Marine Wind Farm Science Symposium

2012 Ocean Literacy Summit