Odale Dabney Waters Jr., 75, a retired rear admiral who was oceanographer of the Navy for five years, died May 7 at his home in Indialantic, Fla. He had a heart ailment.

Adm. Waters was oceanographer of the Navy from 1965 to 1970, and in that capacity was in charge of the Naval Oceanographic Office in Suitland. The office has statutory responsibility for navigational safety at sea and conducts oceanographic survey programs.

He retired from the Navy in 1971 after serving six months as assistant administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Since his retirement he had lived in Florida, and he was chairman of the department of oceanography at Florida Institute of Technology at Melbourne before he retired a second time in 1976.

A native of Manassas, Adm. Waters graduated from Osbourne High School there and from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1932. His assignments during World War II included antisubmarine planning in the South Atlantic, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star. Later assignments included the Naval Ordnance Laboratory and service as assistant chief of the Bureau of Naval Weapons.

Survivors include his wife, Lucile Elizabeth McGehee Waters, of Indialantic; four daughters, Martha W. Philipps of Annandale, Carol W. Waldron of Satellite Beach, Fla., Dabney W. Schmitt of Alexandria and Ann W. Scott of Fairfax; and eight grandchildren.