The National Sea Grant College Program is a program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is a national network of 33 Sea Grant Colleges and universities involved in scientific research, education, training, and extension projects geared toward the conservation and practical use of the coasts, Great Lakes, and other marine areas. The program is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is based in Silver Spring, Maryland. No sea rights have actually been granted (though this was considered), only money.
There are 33 programs consisting of many more member institutions, called Sea Grant colleges, many but not all of which are located along the coast. The program was instituted in 1966 when Congress passed the National Sea Grant College Program Act.
Sea Grant colleges are not to be confused with land-grant colleges (a program instituted in 1862), space-grant colleges (instituted in 1988), or sun-grant colleges (instituted in 2003), although an institution may also be in one or more of the other programs concurrently with being a Sea Grant institution.
At a 1963 meeting of the American Fisheries Society, a University of Minnesota professor, Athelstan Spilhaus, first suggested the establishment of Sea Grant colleges in universities that wished to develop oceanic work.  The name "Sea Grant" was chosen to draw a parallel with the land grant college program that was funded by grants of western lands to the states by the 1862 Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862. Early in the legislative process, there was consideration of leases of offshore parcels of ocean and sea bottom to fund the program by John A. Knauss and bill sponsor Claiborne Pell much like the 1862 land grants, but that plan was eventually scrapped in favor of direct congressional appropriation for the program.  The 1966 Act allowed the National Science Foundation (NSF) authority to initiate and support education, research, and extension by:
Encouraging and developing programs consisting of instruction, practical demonstrations, publications, and otherwise, by sea grant colleges and other suitable institutes, laboratories, and public and private agencies through marine advisory programs with the object of imparting useful information to person currently employed or interested in the various fields related to the development of marine resources, the scientific community, and the general public. 
Signing of the 1966 Sea Grant College and Program Act into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson was on October 15, 1966, as Public Law 89-688. The only major subsequent change to the Sea Grant Act was with a 1970 Reorganization Plan, whereby the Office of Sea Grant was transferred from the National Science Foundation to the newly organized National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where the program has resided ever since. 
A map showing the locations of and links to the institutions involved with the program is available from the NOAA. 
- Oregon State University
- University of Washington
- University of California, San Diego
- University of Southern California
- University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
- University of Hawaii at Manoa
Gulf of Mexico Sub-region
- Texas A&M University
- Louisiana State University
- Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium
- Auburn University
- Dauphin Island Sea Lab
- Jackson State University
- Mississippi State University
- University of Alabama
- University of Alabama at Birmingham
- University of Mississippi
- University of Southern Mississippi
- University of South Alabama
- Southeast Sub-region
- Florida State University
- University of Florida 
- University of Georgia
- University of Puerto Rico
- South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium
- North Carolina State University
- East Carolina University
- Virginia Sea Grant College Program including these University Partners
- University of Maryland, College Park
- University of Delaware
- New Jersey Marine Science Consortium (aka New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium)
- Aquatic Invasions Research Directory
- Atlantic Cape Community College
- American Littoral Society
- Brookdale Community College
- Burlington County College
- County College of Morris
- Cumberland County College
- Fairleigh Dickinson University
- Georgian Court University
- Kean University
- Marine Academy of Science and Technology
- Middlesex County College
- Monmouth University
- Montclair State University
- New Jersey City University
- New Jersey Institute of Technology
- Princeton University
- Ramapo College of New Jersey
- Rider University
- Rowan University
- Rutgers University
- Saint Peter's College, New Jersey
- Seton Hall University
- Stevens Institute of Technology
- Stockton University
- The College of New Jersey
- Union County College
- University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
- New York Sea Grant (also participates in the Great Lakes Region)
- University of Connecticut at Avery Point
- University of Rhode Island
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
- University of Vermont (also participates in the Great Lakes Region)
- University of New Hampshire
- University of Maine
- Pennsylvania State University
- Ohio State University
- Michigan Sea Grant
- Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
- University of Wisconsin–Madison
- University of Minnesota
- Jim Murray and Bruce Wilkins, "The Philosophy: What do we do?", in Fundamentals of a Sea Grant Extension Program
- Rice, M.A., S. Rodrigues and K. Venturini. "Philosophical & Institutional Innovations of Kenyon Leech Butterfield and the Rhode Island Contributions to the Development of Land Grant and Sea Grant Extension". Century Beyond the Campus: Past, Present, and Future of Extension A Research Symposium to Mark the 100th Anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act September 24–25, 2014, West Virginia University. Waterfront Place Hotel, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA. Sep. 2014. Retrieved 23 Dec 2014.
- National Sea Grant College and Program Act of 1966.
- "National Sea Grant Office: Sea Grant College Network". archive.org. 3 August 2004.
- Florida Sea Grant. Flseagrant.org (2013-04-25). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
- "About Us - Sea Grant Sea Grant". Njseagrant.org. 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
- "Western New York Office of Sea Grant Moves to UB - University at Buffalo". Buffalo.edu. 1996-10-25. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
- "NY Sea Grant | NYSG: Staff". Seagrant.sunysb.edu. 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
- "The Great Lakes Program, University at Buffalo - Home". archive.org. 29 June 2004. Retrieved 15 May 2018.