Global mean sea level has experienced an unabated rise over the 20th century. This observed rise is due to both ocean warming and increasing continental freshwater discharge. We estimate the net ocean mass contribution to sea level by assessing the global ocean salt budget based on the unprecedented amount of in situ data over 2005–2015. We obtain the ocean mass trends of 1.30 ± 1.13 mm · yr−1 (0–2000 m) and 1.55 ± 1.20 mm · yr−1 (full depth). These new ocean mass trends are smaller by 0.63–0.88 mm · yr−1 compared to the ocean mass trend estimated through the sea level budget approach. Our result provides an independent validation of Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE)-based ocean mass trend and, in addition, places an independent constraint on the combined Glacial Isostatic Adjustment – the Earth’s delayed viscoelastic response to the redistribution of mass that accompanied the last deglaciation- and geocenter variations needed to directly infer the ocean mass trend based on GRACE data.