USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Ship Donation

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 Ship Disposal Programs or Nathaniel Williford at (202) 366-3653.