The marine science and technology industry encompasses any business that primarily deals with or relates to the sea. The marine science industry in Massachusetts consists of a wide range of businesses and technologies, respected research facilities, and institutions of higher education. The industry ranges from companies who produce items as basic as rope used for commercial fishing, to companies who produce items as advanced as undersea robotics and stabilized sensor systems.

The marine science industry can be broken down into five sub sectors:

  • Marine instrumentation and equipment
  • Marine services
  • Marine research and education
  • Marine materials and supply
  • Shipbuilding and design.

Industry Size
The majority of companies in Massachusetts fall under the first three sub sectors, marine instrumentation and equipment, marine services, and marine research and education. The final two sub sectors marine material and supply, and shipbuilding and design are not as prevalent in Massachusetts as in our neighboring states, which should be a significant advantage for Massachusetts. Massachusetts' marine science sector is well positioned to prosper because it is already centered on emerging markets in marine instrumentation, research and services rather than shipbuilding.

According to an UMass Dartmouth Study from May 2006 the Massachusetts marine technology industry had approximately 8,900 jobs and 298 establishments. Annual Output of the marine science and technology cluster in Massachusetts is approximately $1.5 billion. The total economic impact of the marine science and technology industry in Massachusetts, including spin-off effects, was $3 billion in sales of products and services, 22,400 jobs, and $1.3 billion in payroll. This total economic impact is approximately one percent of the state's gross state product, and .7 percent of its total ES-202 employment. The average Massachusetts marine technology annual wage is $56,000, compared to $46,000 for all industries.
The most recent study on value of that industry in the United States is available here.

Industry Groups/Associations
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Research Center, National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration, McLane Research Laboratories, Unphysical Sciences, Inc., Material Systems, Inc, The Marine Technology Reporter, Shell International Exploration and Production, Inc., Falmouth Scientific, Inc., Airmar Technology Corporation, Hydroid, Inc, Southcoast Development Partnership, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, The New England Aquarium, Southeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center, Northeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center, The Marine and Oceanographic Technology Network, Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center, Massachusetts Seaport Advisory Council, School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, MIT, Benthos, Inc., Sippican, Inc., Clean Energy, Regional Technology Development Corporation

What Massachusetts Presently Does
The field of marine science has its roots on Cape Cod through the oldest research institution in the nation, the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole. In order to promote the participation of the United States in a worldwide program of oceanographic research, a National Academy of Sciences committee recommended establishing a permanent independent research laboratory on the east coast and this led to the founding of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) on Cape Cod in 1930.

Over the last 77 years Southeastern Massachusetts has taken advantage of their proximity to WHOI and their extensive coastal region to develop a thriving marine sciences industry. In addition to WHOI, UMass Dartmouth started a highly respected School for Marine Science and Technology, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy has distinguished themselves as a leader in a number of marine science related fields. The research and learning institutions continue to attract talented and skilled individuals, and graduates and former employees of these programs often establish businesses in the region. Benthos, based in North Falmouth, was started by a scientist from WHOI, and has evolved into a leading provider of high technology products and integrated systems used for measurement, inspection, data collection and communication in remote and challenging marine environments. The concentration of marine science and technology businesses and research institutions in southeastern Massachusetts has positioned the region to be a global leader for the industry.

The most influential role, the state currently plays is through their support of public universities, such as UMass Dartmouth, who in turn partner with research institutions, like the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. There is also collaboration among the state and multiple institutions and firms on large scale projects, such as the National Science Foundation's Ocean Observatories Initiative and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative's Offshore Wind Energy Collaborative.

At the federal level their has been support for the industry thru the Department of Homeland Security, Sea Grant, National Marine Fisheries, Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, NOAA, and the National Science Foundation. These federal agencies have made extensive investments in oceanographic and atmospheric warning systems, environmental monitoring, and other ocean-related technologies.