Maintaining an Environment of Respect Aboard Ships (MERAS)

 Current MERAS Committee Members:

  • Deb Steinberg, VIMS, co-Chair
  • Mark Brzezinski, UCSB, co-Chair
  • Claire Reimers, OSU
  • Craig Lee, UW
  • Brandi Murphy, UW
  • Emily Shimada, WHOI



MERAS Milestone Ceremony Guidance (January 2019)

NSF Update: Next Steps against Harassment (September 2018)

NSF Policies Regarding Harassment:

Milestone Ceremonies Policy (February 2019)

NSF holds responsible the 2,000 U.S. colleges, universities and other institutions that receive NSF funding and requires their implementation of Title IX protections. And NSF encourages NSF-funded researchers and students to hold colleagues accountable to the standards and conditions set forth in Title IX, and to inform their institution of violations.

For any NSF-funded entity that fails to adhere to Title IX, NSF will work with the Departments of Justice and Education to ensure compliance with nondiscrimination laws. NSF may terminate funding to any institution found to be in noncompliance with Title IX regulations and that does not voluntarily come into compliance.

Please note that conduct aboard each UNOLS ship is subject to the policies of its managing insitution. Please visit the institution's webpage for an updated version of their policies governing and reporting harassment at sea. Note that the funding agencies also have a no-tolerance policy for harassment. You may contact the UNOLS Office with any questions : 1.401.874.6826 


MERAS and UNOLS Updates

Date Update

February 2019

Milestone Ceremony Policy

January 2019

Module I is available, click here to view the video

May 2018

The SOCP has released classroom course materials on prevention of sexual assault, sexual harrassment, retaliation, bullying, hazing, coercion, stalking, and other prohibited behaviors in the U.S. Merchant Marine.

November 2017

The MERAS Committee is currently working on a training video for the UNOLS Fleet.  Module 1 is near completion. Work on Modules 2 and 3 is continuing 


In 2017, the Council voted to transition the Ad hoc committee on Pregnancy, Privacy, and Harassment into a special committee, MERAS (Maintaining and Environmental of Respect Aboard Ships).  Their activities were summarized during the 2017 Annual Meeting

June 2017

UNOLS Ad-Hoc Committee on Pregnancy, Privacy and Harassment, presentation at the 2017 UNOLS Council Meeting


Recommendations from the ad-hoc Committee to the operators regarding Pregnancy and Nursing Mothers

UNOLS strives to create a workplace free of any type of discrimination, including the participation of expecting mothers at sea.  However, to ensure the safety of all personnel, it is important to understand the risks of exposure to the rigors of life at sea such as adverse weather, seasickness, long work hours, along with the distance to on-shore medical facilities in the case of an emergency. This applies to all medical conditions.  The ad hoc committee recommends that each UNOLS Operator have a policy regarding the participation of pregnant women who are working at sea.  The policy  should be clearly outlined in pre-cruise planning documentation, discussed in pre-cruise planning meetings and publically available on the ship. Accommodations for nursing mothers should be taken into account on board the ship. This should include an appropriate space for privacy as well as accommodations for the storage of breast milk.  

May 2016

UNOLS Ad-Hoc Committee on Pregnancy, Privacy and Harassment, presentation at the 2016 UNOLS Council Meeting