The Ocean Enterprise: A Study of US Business Activity in Ocean Measurement, Observation & Forecasting

The ocean enterprise – for profit and not for profit businesses which support ocean measurement, observation and forecasting – is a critical component of maritime commerce and the blue economy. These businesses develop the infrastructure necessary to generate new data and to work with publicly available data to deliver value-added products and services to ensure the safe, responsible, and successful running of maritime commerce. From the instruments that make strides in ocean observing every day to the app that tells a tourist whale-watching expedition if today is a safe day to go out, the ocean enterprise is a significant component of maritime industry. The Ocean Enterprise is rarely recognized as its own because the work they do is widely distributed across a range of disciplines not typically classified as maritime operations. The objective of its publication is to raise visibility and awareness of this important industry cluster, and to better understand of its linkages with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) program.

Who is included in this study?
The study encompasses private sector enterprises that are:

Providers of infrastructure including:

Manufacturers of sensors, instruments and platforms

Those building, deploying and operating observing systems

Providers of the data infrastructure that manages and communicates ocean data

Organizations that develop and maintain the data management systems, software tools and models that are used to turn these data into useful information

Intermediaries that make use of ocean, coastal and Great
Lakes measurements, observations and models as an input to
the creation of value-added information products
What are the major findings of this study?
Characterizing business activity within this sector is important to understanding the scope and scale of business activity supporting public missions and private sector growth within the overall economy. There were no major surprises, but many interesting findings including the locations, size, and functions of firms in this sector, including:

Identifying more than 400 firms in the United States as operating in the sphere of Ocean Enterprise.

This includes businesses inland (e.g. Nebraska, Kansas, and Montana) all contributing to the ocean enterprise, but not previously captured by regional studies.

The Ocean Enterprise generated $7 billion (USD) in revenue annually

86% of businesses have been operating 5 or more years in the Ocean Enterprise. More than 54% of them expect growth in their Ocean Enterprise business in the next year.

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