Every 3 years the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), through its Advisory Committee on Geosciences, forms a Committee of Visitors (COV) to review different aspects of the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO). This year a COV was formed to review the Biological Oceanography (BO), Chemical Oceanography (CO), and Physical Oceanography (PO) programs in the Ocean Section; the Marine Geology and Geophysics (MGG) and Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) science programs in the Marine Geosciences Section; and the Ocean Education and Ocean Technology and Interdisciplinary Coordination (OTIC) programs in the Integrative Programs Section of the Ocean Sciences Division (OCE). The 2012 COV assessed the proposal review process for fiscal year (FY) 2009–2011, when 3843 proposal actions were considered, resulting in 1141 awards. To do this, COV evaluated the documents associated with 206 projects that were randomly selected from the following categories: low-rated proposals that were funded, high-rated proposals that were funded, low-rated proposals that were declined, high-rated proposals that were declined, some in the middle (53 awarded, 106 declined), and all (47) proposals submitted to the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism. NSF provided additional data as requested by the COV in the form of graphs and tables. The full COV report, including graphs and tables, is available at http://www.nsf.gov/geo/acgeo_cov.jsp.