|The U.S. contains over 172,481 square miles of underwater parks designated as National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS).They serve as a bridge to nat-ural resource exploration, education, recreation, tourism, and offer many other ecosystem services for both U.S. citizens and foreign visitors alike.Visitors to these areas number in the mil-lions each year and account for significant eco-nomic production within, and adjacent to, these areas as well. Despite the popularity and im-portance of these areas on the whole, a knowledge gap exists with respect to visitor use and monitoring in areas of specific aquatic orien-tation.Visitor use can be profoundly productive in terms of economic activity. Therefore, the National Marine Sanctuary System is critical in supporting vast production of economic activity each year.With their unique resources, National Marine Sanctuaries attract large numbers of visi-tors every year and may serve as primary eco-nomic drivers for surrounding communities. However, specific visitor use counting and moni-toring methods are not standardized or properly applicable to specific marine sanctuary sites.A better understanding of visitor use patterns and motivations at specific marine sanctuary sites would increase the capacity for economic growth and sustainability of valuable ecosystem services in these areas. Marine sanctuaries and parks inherently have porous borders, and multiple access points may make counting as a means to arrive at visitation estimates a challenging ap-proach.The National Marine Sanctuaries Visitor Counting Process (NMS-COUNT) offers an iterative framework to address this knowledge gap while involving key stakeholders throughout the pro-cess.In this way, communication among manag-ers and researchers is incorporated to help de-velop and implement the most efficient method-ology for a particular aquatic area.