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The US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS; see http://ocean.us) is the United States component of the Global Ocean Observing System and consists of a global and a coastal ocean component. The global component, consisting of moored buoys, profiling ARGO floats, drifters, and volunteer observing ships, is approximately 50% completed, with a target of 2010 for full implementation. The coastal component is being implemented as a federation of regional systems connected by a national backbone of core observations and data management. Remotely sensed data from satellites are critical to both components. Quality ocean satellite data now available cannot be ensured in the years ahead unless strong advocacy is voiced. Similarly, the global in situ system will not develop without strong support. Observations of oceanic variables, such as currents, water levels, temperatures, and surface meteorology, and model products based on these observations have been available in real-time from several locations around the US for a number of years. These local and regional ocean observing systems constitute prototypes for the coastal component of the Integrated Ocean Observing System. Some successes of these systems include increased safety and efficiency of maritime transportation, improved search and rescue, improved response to spills of hazardous materials, and increased efficiency of electric power generation in coastal regions. In support of the development of the IOOS, the Alliance for Coastal Technologies (http://act-us.info) is fostering new sensor technologies for coastal ocean observation through workshops, an online database and discussion forum, and technology verification trials.