Ocean planning is a way of organizing the many activities taking place on the sea. It is a way to determine where projects such as offshore wind farms may be sited, as well as to identify places that should be protected for public access, such as special recreation areas and ecological hotspots.

Check out this East Coast ocean planning film by Swell Productions in association with the Surfrider Foundation:

The Next Wave from Swell Productions on Vimeo.

An early example of Ocean Planning:

shippinglane_map_Stellwagen In 2007, in an effort to reduce collisions with whales by tankers and other large ships, Massachusetts changed the shipping lanes heading into Boston so tankers would pass through areas with fewer whale sightings. Read more about Stellwagen Bank here.

Watch a video about this ocean planning success, made by our friends at Green Fire Productions, here.

In July 2010, President Obama took the recommendation of his Ocean Policy Task Force and issued an executive order urging coastal U.S. states to develop regional ocean plans to improve management, reduce conflicts and improve conservation.

On July 19, 2013, the National Ocean Council released an ocean planning handbook to support the efforts of regions that choose to engage marine industries, stakeholders, the public, and government to advance their economic development and conservation priorities.

As part of the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan, Regional Planning Bodies have formed across coastal U.S. communities. These RPB’s are non-regulatory groups comprised of federal, state, and Tribal leaders, working together to plan for managing ocean uses.

Check out the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan here.

Take Action NowGET ACTIVE!

Our Northeast Regional Ocean Plan is in development now, so the time to get active in the public process to help protect ocean and coastal ecosystems and recreational areas is NOW! 

There will be many opportunities to weigh-in on the actions of the Northeast Regional Planning Body as we review the final draft plan, in the 60-day public comment period ending July 25, 2016.  Register for Surfrider Foundation’s ocean planning e-list to get the latest information, and we’ll keep you informed about opportunities to engage as well as regional ocean planning updates and issues that affect non-consumptive ocean and coastal recreation users.

You can also…

  • request a presentation on regional ocean planning
  • offer to make our print materials about regional ocean planning available at your store, school, work, etc
  • offer a venue for us to host a regional ocean planning outreach event
  • let us know you’re interested in re-sharing our email alerts about regional ocean planning with your customers, friends, etc
  • request to collaborate with us on a regional ocean planning event

Talking Points:

-Ocean planning is a way of organizing the many activities taking place on the sea. It is a way to determine where projects such as offshore wind farms may be sited, as well as to identify places that should be protected for public access, such as special recreation areas and ecological hotspots.

-The Northeast Regional Planning Body is made up of 33 individuals representing several federal agencies, the six New England states, the Fisheries Management Council and federally recognized Tribal Nations in our region.

-Everyone with an interest in the ocean (from developers to everyday beach goers) is encouraged to participate in the public process for Northeast Regional Ocean Planning.

-Ocean planning is a proactive approach to identify and protect ocean and coastal ecosystems and recreational areas, before they’re threatened.

-The public meetings are opportunities for everyone who cares about the ocean, waves and beaches to learn about what’s happening with Northeast Regional Ocean Planning, and weigh-in with ideas/concerns/suggestions for improving the way that the public is currently being engaged to help shape our budding ocean plan.

Additional ways to engage NOW…


  • sign-up here to join the RPB’s email list
  • follow @NEOceanPlanning and @NEOceanData on Twitter
  • download the Northeast Regional Ocean Council’s tri-fold brochure on regional ocean planning to distribute &/or make available at your store, workplace or other gathering spot



Surfrider Foundation is a proud member of the New England Ocean Action Network.  NEOAN is comprised of individuals and organizations from the region’s non-consumptive ocean rec groups, the environmental community, educational and research institutions, the clean energy field, and other ocean uses, industries, and stakeholders.  NEOAN supports, monitors, and comments on the NERPB’s efforts to develop a comprehensive, region-wide ocean planning process and will advocate for the development of a plan.  Members of the network meet regularly by phone.  Join the Network &/or learn more about NEOAN here.


*Who/what is the Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB): http://northeastoceancouncil.org/regional-planning-body/.

*Federal, state & Tribal members of the NERPB: http://northeastoceancouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Membership-Roster-NE-RPB1.pdf.

*View the Framework: http://neoceanplanning.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/NE-Regional-Ocean-Planning-Framework-February-2014.pdf.

*What is ocean planning, why should I care & how do I get involved: http://northeast.surfrider.org/rop/.

*The importance of ocean planning & Surfrider Foundation’s interests:

*Community collaboration in ocean planning & how it works: http://ocean-frontiers.org/the-films/ocean-frontiers-2/.

*Check out the Northeast Data Portal:  http://www.northeastoceandata.org/.

*See the goals for Northeast Regional Ocean Planning: http://northeast.surfrider.org/rop/nerop/.

*Read the Northeast Regional Planning Body Charter: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/bf60b67674cbe8a61f3e93afe/files/Charter_without_signatories_FINAL.pdf.

*Read the Executive Order establishing a National Ocean Policy: http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/2010stewardship-eo.pdf.

*For a comprehensive list of Regional Ocean Planning public meetings throughout the Northeast this fall, see: http://northeast.surfrider.org/rop/meetings/.

FMI: http://neoceanplanning.org/about/.