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There has been rapid growth in recent years in operational oceanographic activities, especially in association with the growth in ocean observing systems. At the same time, the attention given by the public to ocean issues has greatly increased. These factors along with the increasing complexity and multidisciplinary nature of oceanography suggest that the need for certification of oceanographic professionals may also be increasing (e.g., in association with coastal development, natural disasters, ocean pollution, declining fish stocks). Certification is a way to recognize that an individual has demonstrated professional competence and integrity in an occupational field.