Rear Adm. Benjamin K. Evans, NOAA

Designated Member

Mississippi River Commission
Published April 26, 2023

Rear Adm. Benjamin Evans is the Director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey and U.S. National Hydrographer. He is responsible for overseeing NOAA's hydrographic services, including the mapping and charting of all U.S. coastal waters, as well as representing the U.S. in international hydrographic efforts. RDML Evans is the 32nd leader of the office since the first superintendent, Ferdinand R. Hassler, was appointed in 1833.

His career has focused primarily on NOAA's ocean mapping and nautical charting mission. He completed nearly ten years of sea duty leading field hydrography in the coastal waters of the continental United States, Alaska, and the Pacific Islands. He has served as commanding officer and chief of party aboard two NOAA hydrographic survey ships, most recently NOAA Ship Rainier. Under RDML Evans's leadership, Rainier completed hydrographic surveys across several areas of Alaska, collaborated with the United States Geological Survey and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on bathymetric and geotechnical surveys along the west coast, conducted habitat mapping in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and supported multidisciplinary survey operations in the Hawaiian Islands. Earlier in his career, RDML Evans was privileged to serve as plankowning commanding officer of NOAA Ship Ferdinand R. Hassler, and operations officer aboard both Rainier and NOAA Ship Rude.

Immediately prior to selection for flag rank, RDML Evans served as the acting chief of staff of the National Ocean Service (NOS). Significant past assignments in Coast Survey include chief of the Pacific Hydrographic Branch with responsibility for quality assurance of NOAA's West Coast hydrographic data, and chief of the Data Acquisition and Control Branch where he managed NOAA's hydrographic survey contracting program. He also served at NOAA headquarters on the staff of the NOAA administrator.

RDML Evans is a native of Williamson, New York, a small town on the shore of Lake Ontario. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Williams College, completing the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program as part of his undergraduate work. RDML Evans went on to graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, where his research concentrated on acoustic navigation systems for autonomous underwater vehicles. He holds a Certificate in Maritime Management from the Pacific Lutheran University, and completed the Executive Fellows Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is an American Conference on Surveying and Mapping / Hydrographic Society of America Certified Hydrographer.