National Marine Sanctuary Permits

photo of Ocean, cliffs, rocks and sky

A permit is required when an individual wishes to conduct an activity within a sanctuary that is otherwise prohibited.  Refer to our Frequently Asked Questions to help determine if a permit is required for your proposed activity. Guidance on how to apply for a sanctuary permit can be found on this page. 

How to Apply

For most proposed activities, an ONMS permit application must be completed.  Instructions, application forms, and related information can be found here:

Where to Apply

Submit completed applications to the office for the sanctuary in which you plan to conduct the activity. Contact information for all sites is provided here:

Special Situations

Applications for certain activities require specific information, an expanded or streamlined application, and/or have additional guidance that applies.  Refer to the guidance below prior to applying for a permit for any of the following activities:

National Marine Sanctuary Activity
Channel Islands
Monterey Bay
Greater Farallones
Olympic Coast
Overflight of aircraft in NOAA Regulated Overflight Zones
Florida KeysBaitfishing
Florida KeysActivities involving historical resources, including cultural, maritime heritage, and archeological resources

Special Use Permits

The following activities may be eligible for special use permits:

  1. The placement and recovery of objects associated with public or private events on non-living substrate of the submerged lands of any national marine sanctuary.
  2. The placement and recovery of objects related to commercial filming.
  3. The continued presence of commercial submarine cables on or within the submerged lands of any national marine sanctuary.
  4. The disposal of cremated human remains within or into any national marine sanctuary.
  5. Recreational diving near the USS Monitor.
  6. Fireworks displays.
  7. The operation of aircraft below the minimum altitude in restricted zones of national marine sanctuaries.

Special use permits have requirements that differ significantly from general permits. Read more about special use permits here.

Sanctuary Prohibitions

Activities prohibited in sanctuaries can be found in program regulations at 15 CFR Part 922. If your proposed activity includes any prohibited action, a permit is likely required.