An overview of remote sensing activities at the Institute of Maritime Technology conducted in above and underwater applications will be reviewed. The above water activities will focus on electro-optic sensing, while underwater activities will focus on environmental characterization. A brief introduction of the defence research institute will be followed by a review of remote sensing activities for the following purposes; infrared signature characterization (extended and point targets, grey-body and spectral emitters, ship wakes), persistent surveillance (harbours, on ships, panoramic systems), atmospheric and maritime environment characterization (above and underwater e.g. sea/air temperature profiles, atmospheric MTF, turbulence). A short review of recent joint international trials conducted at the institute will be given. This includes a small targets trail, the False Bay Atmospheric Experiment (FATMOSE) and the First European South African Transmission Experiment (FESTER), which is currently underway. The small surface target trail focused on the electro-optic signature characterization of small surface targets (including wakes) and sea, land and sky backgrounds. FATMOSE focused mainly on characterization of atmospheric effects that influence electro-optic sensor performance, while FESTER will extend on above research efforts to also include the radio frequency spectrum (RF) and a significant oceanographic characterization effort in support of FESTER above water activities. The factors which make the False Bay location interesting for remote sensing electro-optic and environmental characterization experiments and the interesting results that are expected from the FESTER experiment will be discussed.