Since 1964, WHOI has operated deep-sea exploration vehicles for the benefit of the entire U.S. oceanographic community. The National Deep Submergence Facility (NDSF), hosted at WHOI, is a federally funded center that operates, maintains, and coordinates the use of three vital deep ocean vehicles:
- the Human Occupied Vehicle (HOV)
- the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Jason/Medea
- the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) ABE/Sentry
The NDSF is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The operation is managed by WHOI and overseen by the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), an organization of 62 academic institutions and national laboratories involved in marine research.