The ocean-energy industry is still in its infancy and device developers have provided their own equipment and procedures for testing. Currently, no testing standards exist for ocean energy devices in the United States. Furthermore, as prototype devices move from the test tank to in-water testing, the logistical challenges and costs grow. Development of instrumentation packages that can be moved from device to device is one means of reducing testing costs and providing data to the industry as a whole. As a first step, the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is developing instrumentation packages that will provide common measurements across various ocean energy devices. Considerations in choosing an instrumentation controller are summarized in this paper using experiences from the oceanographic and wind industry. Some of the NREL National Wind Technology Center’s wind turbine certification tests are suggested as examples of possible tests for MHK devices. Next, challenges that must be addressed in the development of the ocean instrumentation controller are outlined. For example, the instrument package must be adaptable to fit a large array of devices but still conduct common measurements. Finally, data file format and long term database storage options are outlined. NREL welcomes input from the industry regarding its measurement needs.