The National Sea Grant College Program is a program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is a national network of 30 Sea Grant Colleges and universities involved in scientific research, education, training, and extension projects geared toward the conservation and practical use of the coasts, Great Lakes, and other marine areas. The program is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is based in Silver Spring, Maryland.
There are 30 member institutions, called Sea Grant colleges, many but not all of which are located along the coast. The program was instituted in 1966 when Congress passed the National Sea Grant College Program Act.
At a 1963 meeting of the American Fisheries Society, a University of Minnesota professor, Athelstan Spilhaus, first suggested the establishment of Sea Grant colleges in universities that wished to develop oceanic work. Two years later, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed the National Sea Grant College and Program Act of 1966. The Act allowed the National Science Foundation (NSF) authority to initiate and support education, research, and extension by:
Encouraging and developing programs consisting of instruction, practical demonstrations, publications, and otherwise, by Sea grant colleges and other suitable institutes, laboratories, and public and private agencies through marine advisory programs with the object of imparting useful information to person currently employed or interested in the various fields related to the development of marine resources, the scientific community, and the general public.
A map showing the locations of and links to the institutions involved with the program is available from the NOAA here.