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Ship Donation

[Ship Donation photo]

What is Ship Donation?

Ship donation is the process of transferring ownership, anchorage, and management of an obsolete ship in the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) to a qualified public or non-profit organization. Organizations recieving a donated ship must restore its appearance (and in some cases operational capacity) and repurpose the ship to function as a memorial, museum, or vessel in support of non-profit humanitarian missions. This program was established in 2004 by the authority granted in Public Law 108-136 Section 3512, which replaces the previous practice of ship donation through federal legislation.

Eligibility & Application Process

MARAD does not target or set aside NDRF vessels for donation. Organizations must apply to recieve a specific NDRF ship. Here are the basic actions and guidelines:

  • An organization, or donation applicant, contacts MARAD with the intent to solicit a ship donation. See these Program guidelines.
  • Applicant must be 1) a non-profit organization in 2) a State, Commonwealth, or possession of the United States, or any municipal corporation or political subdivision thereof, including the District of Columbia.
  • Not all ships are good donation candidates due to varying levels of exposure and general usage. Applicants must work closely with MARAD to select a ship appropriate for the specific donation project (museum, memorial, etc.).
  • Applicant develops a plan to repurpose the specific ship and, if award the donation, implements the plan in accordance with federal guidelines


For questions aoubt the program, or to initiate a ship donation request, contact the Office of X.

Updated: Friday, July 19, 2019