Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) is committed to the privacy of its visitors. OCRM collects no personal information about visitors to its website unless they choose to provide that information.

How We Handle Information about Your Visit to Our Website

Information Collected and Stored Automatically: If you (the visitor) do nothing during your visit but browse through the website, read pages, or download information, we (OCRM) will gather and store certain information about your visit automatically. This information does not identify you personally. We automatically collect and store information such as the following about your visit:

Web Measurement Tools

OCRM uses Google Analytics measurement software to collect the information listed above. The data are automatically sent to Google's system and the system immediately aggregates the data. Neither OCRM nor Google ever have access to the specifics of your particular site visits. The staff can only see the aggregate data from all users for a particular time period.

OCRM gathers this information to improve its websites. We may use the aggregated data to share with our partners and contractors to help improve visitor experiences.

OCRM also uses online surveys to collect opinions and feedback from a random sample of visitors, including feedback and data on visitors' satisfaction with its websites. This survey does not collect personally identifiable information (PII). Participation in the survey is voluntary. If you decline the survey, you will still have access to the identical information and resources on the website as those who take the survey. Answers to the survey help OCRM improve its website to make it easier to use and be more responsive to the needs of its visitors.

OCRM staff members conduct analyses and reports on the aggregated data from the survey. The reports are only available to website managers, members of their communications and Web teams, and other designated staff members who require this information to perform their duties.

OCRM retains the data from Google Analytics and survey results only as long as required by law or needed to support the mission of OCRM websites.

Information Protection

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, this government computer system employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. If such monitoring reveals evidence of possible abuse or criminal activity, such evidence may be provided to appropriate law enforcement officials. Unauthorized attempts to upload or change information on this server are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act or other law.

Information That You Voluntarily Provide

We do not collect personally identifiable information unless you choose to provide it to us. If you provide us with personally identifiable information, for example by sending an e-mail or by filling out a form and submitting it through our website, we use that information only to respond to your message and to help us provide you with the information and services that you request.

Submitting voluntary information constitutes your consent to the use of the information for the stated purpose. When a user clicks the "Submit" button on any of the Web forms found on our site they are indicating voluntary consent to use of the information they submit for the stated purpose. We do not collect or use information for commercial marketing.

How Information Is Used

The information we collect is used for a variety of purposes (e.g., to respond to requests for information, to fill orders, etc.). We make every effort to disclose clearly how information is used at the point where it is collected so that our users can determine for themselves whether they wish to provide the information.

Sharing of Information

We may share the information you give us with another government agency if your inquiry relates to that agency. In other limited circumstances, such as responses to requests from Congress and private individuals, we may be required by law to disclose information you submit. Before you submi personally identifiable information, such as on an online form, you will be advised as to the purpose and how the information will be used.

Retention of Information

We destroy the information we collect when the purpose for which it was provided has been fulfilled, unless we are required to keep it longer by statute or official policy. Electronically submitted information is maintained and destroyed according to the principles of the Federal Records Act and the regulations and records schedules approved by the National Archives and Records Administration, and in some cases information submitted to us may become an agency record and therefore might be subject to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Links to Other Sites

This site may have links to the websites of other federal agencies. There may be links to private organizations, with their permission. Once you go to another site, you are subject to the privacy policy of the new site. It is always a good idea to read the privacy policy of any website that you visit.


The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memo M-10-22, "Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies," allows federal agencies to use session and persistent cookies. "Cookies" are small bits of text that are either used for the duration of a session ("session cookies") or saved on a user's hard drive to identify that user, or information about that user, the next time the user logs on to a website ("persistent cookies").

The cookie makes it easier for you to use the dynamic features of webpages. Cookies from OCRM webpages only collect information about your browser's visit to the site; they do not collect any personal information about you. We use both temporary "session cookies" and permanent "persistent cookies." Session cookies last only as long as your Web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie disappears. Persistent cookies are stored on your computer for longer periods.

Session Cookies: We use session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through our site. These cookies let our server know that you are continuing a visit to our site. The OMB Memo 10-22 Guidance defines our use of session cookies as "Usage Tier 1-Single Session." The policy says, "This tier encompasses any use of single session Web measurement and customization technologies."

Persistent Cookies: We use persistent cookies to enable Google Analytics to differentiate between new and returning visitors to our site. Persistent cookies remain on your computer between visits to OCRM pages for six months. The persistent cookies that block repeated survey invitations expire in 90 days. The OMB -10-22 guidance memo defines our use of persistent cookies as "Usage Tier 2-Multi-session without Personally Identifiable Information (PII)." The policy says, "This tier4 encompasses any use of multi-session Web measurement and customization technologies when no PII is collected."

If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies stored on your machine, you can opt out or disable cookies in your browser. You will still have access to all information and resources at OCRM websites. However, turning off cookies may affect the functioning of some department websites. Be aware that disabling cookies in your browser will affect cookie usage at all other websites you visit as well.

Interaction with Children

This website may offer educational content to children under 13. No personally identifiable information is collected from them unless voluntarily submitted as a request for information or services. The information collected is used to respond to user inquiries or to provide services requested by our users.

Third-party Social Media Tools

The National Ocean Service maintains official pages or accounts on several third-party websites to better engage with the American public and promote awareness of National Ocean Service activities, events, news, and information (a list of these tools is highlighted below). OCRM, as a program office within the National Ocean Service, makes use of some of the third-party websites or tools. Your activity on those third-party sites is governed by the security and privacy policies of the third-party sites. Users of third-party sites are often sharing information with the public, user community, or the third-party operating the third-party site. You should review the privacy policies of third-party sites before using them and ensure that you understand how your information may be used. You should also adjust privacy settings on your account on any third-party site to match your preferences.

Facebook is a social networking website where users can connect and interact with other people. OCRM's Facebook page features new content every week to keep you up to date with OCRM news and information. Please note that you are subject to Facebook's privacy policy when visiting our Facebook page. In addition, users may post comments on OCRM's Facebook page. Facebook is a third-party Web service used by OCRM for outreach. Use of Facebook requires a free membership; the Department of Commerce does not endorse membership on Facebook, nor does the Department of Commerce have any control or responsibility for privacy on Facebook.

YouTube is a video-sharing service. The videos we share in the National Ocean Service YouTube Channel (OCRM uses the National Ocean Service YouTube Channel) are copies of those that appear in the video gallery on the NOS website. Please note that you are subject to YouTube's privacy policy when visiting our YouTube page. In addition, users may post comments on videos on the NOS YouTube Channel.

YouTube is a third-party Web service used by the National Ocean Service (and OCRM) for outreach. Use of YouTube for commenting requires a free membership; the Department of Commerce does not endorse membership on YouTube, nor does the Department of Commerce have any control or responsibility for privacy on YouTube.

Twitter is a microblogging service to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of short, frequent posts. We typically tweet at least weekly to keep you abreast of what's new at OCRM. Please note that you are subject to Twitter's privacy policy when visiting our Twitter page.

Google Analytics
This site uses Google Analytics, a third-party Web measurement and customization technology as defined and organized by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), "Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies" (OMB M-10-22). Google Analytics places a small file on your computer, commonly called a "cookie," so that it can recognize your computer if you visit OCRM in the future. This cookie does not collect personal identifying information. This is considered a Tier 2 service in the OMB guidance. Google Analytics does not collect personally identifiable information through its cookie and does not combine, match, or crossreference OCRM information with any other information. Please review Google's privacy policy for additional information.

Visitors who choose to disable this Web measurement will still have full access to OCRM. While the details vary from browser to browsers, most modern browsers can be set up to accept, reject, or request user intervention when a site asks to set a cookie. Google Analytics uses a cookie that begins with _utm .

Google Earth and Google Maps
Google Earth and Google Maps map information and photographic imagery are used under license by Google. OCRM data presented using Google Maps and Google Earth are in the public domain and made available in open standard KML/KMZ format. The map information and photographic imagery contain trade names, trademarks, service marks, logos, domain names, and other distinctive brand features. This does not imply an endorsement of Google, Google Maps, or Google Earth products or services by OCRM. Under the terms of the license, you are permitted to copy or use the Google Maps and Google Earth images on your site so long as Google Maps and Google Earth trade names, trademarks, service marks, logos, domain names, and other distinctive brand features are not deleted or in any manner altered. Please note that you are subject to Google's privacy policy when using this service.

Your Rights under the Privacy Act

More information about the Privacy Act can be found at the following off-site link: