Rates for MARS


NSF/MBARI daily rates

R/V Rachel Carson
with ROV Ventana
10 or 12-hour day
Contact Mike Kelly for additional rate information.

MARS User Costs (not covered by MARS Operations and Management)

MARS users must budget for ship costs, cable, connectors and interface electronics if necessary. MBARI has developed a MARS Science Port Interface that will simplify interfacing new and existing equipment to MARS. The interface design is available at no charge to users. MARS users are encouraged to use the MARS manager as a resource in planning their proposal.

A MARS proposal may include a request for technical support and ship or ROV support from MBARI, or it can request UNOLS vessels/ submersibles or other resources. An example of services available “at cost” from MBARI is provided in the labor table below.

Science port use cost

MARS is available to several different funding organizations, including but not limited to: NSF, ONR, NOAA, NASA, DOE, DOD and foreign oceanographic funding agencies. Each of the organizations will benefit from the availability of MARS as an ocean science and technology test site.

Upon inception of the MARS facility, NSF and MARS agreed that the MARS O&M costs should be distributed fairly to the actual users and NSF should not bear the full burden of the ongoing operations and maintenance costs. To achieve this objective MARS charges a minimal fee for each project either funded by NSF or to those whose objective is to develop technology for OOI observatories using one of the eight MARS ports. The intent of this fee is to help pay for maintenance and other costs. MARS also requires a fee equaling a fair share of the operational costs from other U.S. government funding agencies to use MARS, as these agencies may have objectives not directly linked to NSF or OOI. Additionally, the monthly fee encourages MARS users to cycle through their testing at a reasonable pace to allow for other technologies to be tested using the limited number of MARS science ports.

The MARS science port fee rate will be governed by annual discussions with the UNOLS Observatory Oversight Committee with dual objectives of providing a repair reserve and regulating the rate of MARS user science port use.

The MBARI (and NSF) rate is $1000.00 per month. All other organizations using MARS will be charged $5000.00 per month. This charge begins the day the instrument receives power from MARS and ends on the day MARS power is turned off to the instrument. Partial months will be prorated.

Labor and test tank costs





Marine Operations Technician


Engineer Support


Engineer Technician


Amounts include 57% fringe and 52% overhead.
Rates are subject to change.
Test tank rate: $450 per day