San Diego may have a big export opportunity in ocean-related technology, and is gaining a leadership role.

The U.S. Commerce Department recently awarded $297,000 to a San Diego-based organization, The Maritime Alliance, to promote exports of what the alliance calls “BlueTech.” San Diego has more than 200 “BlueTech” companies, or companies that produce technology for the maritime environment. That includes aquatic drones and robots.

The alliance said it plans to help U.S. BlueTech companies thrive on a global scale by awarding a select number of small and medium-sized enterprises partial financing to take part in trade shows and trade missions, all to foster business opportunities abroad.

Applications and the process to choose funding recipients will be introduced during San Diego BlueTech Week, which begins Nov. 7. Information on the event is at or at More than 400 attendees and speakers are expected at six events over five days. They include representatives of seven countries.

The alliance said this is the first-ever U.S. maritime technology export initiative to support the global expansion of U.S. BlueTech companies.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. International Trade Administration awarded the funds through the Market Development Cooperator Program.

“This is the first time that funding has been awarded to focus on maritime technologies, which we see as a growth opportunity for U.S exports given the increasing global demand of ocean technologies,” said Holly Vineyard, principal deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Commercial Service of the International Trade Administration, in a prepared statement.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates the value of the ocean economy will double over 20 years, reaching $3 trillion annually by 2030, up from $1.5 trillion in 2010.

A news conference announcing the grant included representatives from Aquaai, Teledyne SeaBotix and SonTek — all San Diego companies.