The paper presents the current status of the Maritime Aerosol Network (MAN), which has been developed as a component of the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET). MAN deploys Microtops handheld Sun photometers and utilizes the calibration procedure and data processing (Version 2) traceable to AERONET. A web site dedicated to the MAN activity is described. A brief historical perspective is given to aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements over the oceans. A short summary of the existing data, collected on board ships of opportunity during the NASA Sensor Intercomparison and Merger for Biological and Interdisciplinary Oceanic Studies (SIMBIOS) Project is presented. Globally averaged oceanic aerosol optical depth (derived from island-based AERONET measurements) at 500 nm is ?0.11 and Angstrom parameter (computed within spectral range 440–870 nm) is calculated to be ?0.6. First results from the cruises contributing to the Maritime Aerosol Network are shown. MAN ship-based aerosol optical depth compares well to simultaneous island and near-coastal AERONET site AOD.