Protected Species Observer (PSO) Training Program

A.I.S. Inc.


The PSO training curriculum was created by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)-approved PSOs and A.I.S. Inc. scientists, in consultation with BOEM, BSEE, and NMFS staff. Individuals that successfully complete the training and meet the minimum qualifications described below, may be eligible to serve on offshore enterprise projects as a professional PSO, compliant with BSEE and NMFS standards.

Based in the U.S. Northeast, A.I.S. Inc. is located near one of the richest offshore wildlife refuges in the world. AIS is a nationwide leader in providing protected species monitoring services to government agencies and private companies operating in the marine environment and has been doing so since 1988.

The course is broken down into 11 sections followed by a final test. Each lesson begins with an introduction and objectives, and then moves through materials associated with the theme of the section. There are some games and pop quizzes integrated into the training as well, to assist with comprehension.

What is Covered in the Training:

  • Sound in the Sea
  • Federal Legislation and Regulations
  • Protected Species Identification including: whales, dolphins, turtles, seals, manatees and fish that are covered under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico
  • Roles and Responsibilities of a PSO
  • Monitoring and Communication Techniques
  • Data Management and Reporting
  • Hands on practice with ‘Tools of the Trade’
  • Life at Sea
  • Meet a PSO!

Program Link:

Additional Details

PSOs are certified industry professionals who are trained in identifying species of concern and applying their knowledge to protect them in the world of marine construction. Protected species include whales, dolphins, turtles, seals, birds, manatees and fish that are covered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). PSOs are responsible for monitoring marine construction work sites for the presence of protected species and implementing mitigation procedures to minimize the impact of noise on these animals.


  • Institution Name: A.I.S. Inc.
  • Department: PSO Training
  • Address: 540 Hawthorn Street, North Dartmouth, MA 02747
  • Website: