The US Coast Guard has chosen the University of California San Diego to evaluate and develop so-called “blue water” technology, a safety and law enforcement innovation that can help the service carry out surveillance, monitoring, search and rescue, and law enforcement duties. The research has broad application across science, law enforcement, maritime safety and the military.

The partnership will establish a marine technology center to help the service stay abreast of the latest advances. According to, the work will be performed at the university’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which was named a Blue Technology Center of Expertise (COE) by the Coast Guard.

The 2018 Save Our Seas Act defined “blue technology” as any technology, system or platform designed for use above, on, or below the sea that can support the Coast Guard’s maritime domain awareness; search and rescue; emergency response; maritime law enforcement; marine inspections and investigations; or protection and conservation of the marine environment.

Congressional analysts say the new center will only modestly enhance the Coast Guard’s research efforts. But the new agreement will help extend Scripps decades-long work in testing and improving maritime technology, from deep sea sensors to autonomous underwater gliders, lasers and drones. 

Scripps Director Margaret Leinen stated that the “close proximity will be mutually beneficial and help foster the transfer of knowledge, inspire collaboration and education, and leverage the blue technology expertise on our campus and in San Diego as a whole.” Scripps main campus area is located about 12 miles north of the large Coast Guard base that has long existed in downtown San Diego, on San Diego Bay.

“This partnership with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is a significant step in bringing awareness of blue technologies to the Coast Guard, and provides an opportunity to study how those technologies can be used to enhance Coast Guard operational performance and mission readiness,” said Wendy Chaves, chief of the Coast Guard Office of Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, according to

The COE will also enable sharing and dissemination of blue technology information between the Coast Guard and the private sector, other federal agencies, academia and nonprofit organization, and increase awareness among blue technology manufacturers, entrepreneurs and vendors of Coast Guard acquisition policies, procedures and business practices.