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Celebrate the Ocean

Join us as we celebrate and learn about our world ocean during National Ocean Month.

30 days of the ocean logo
How many 'oceans' are there?

While there is only one global ocean, the vast body of water that covers 71 percent of the Earth is geographically divided into distinct named regions. The boundaries between these regions have evolved over time for a variety of historical, cultural, geographical, and scientific reasons.

National Estuarine Research Reserves

Explore the 28 estuarine areas that make up the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. These places—where freshwater from the land mixes with saltwater from the sea—were established across the nation for long-term research, education, and coastal stewardship. Reserves protect and conserve 1.3 million acres of coastal and estuarine habitat—ranging in size from 366,100-acre Kachemak Bay Reserve in Alaska, to the 573-acre Old Woman Creek Reserve in Ohio.

Estuaries Video and Ocean Fact | Help Protect our Estuaries | Reserves Portal Page | Plan a Visit

marine national monument at sunset

National Marine Sanctuaries

Our national marine sanctuaries protect important natural and cultural places, while still allowing people to enjoy ocean. Did you know that some sanctuaries are breeding and feeding grounds for endangered whales, others contain thriving coral reefs or kelp forests, and many are home to historic shipwrecks and other archaeological treasures? Take some time to visit or learn about the 13 national marine sanctuaries and one marine national monument that NOAA manages.

Earth is Blue | Award-winning Wildlife Viewing | Ocean Etiquette | Plan a Visit


Coral Reefs

Hidden beneath the ocean waters, coral reefs teem with life, supporting more species than any other marine environment and rival rainforests in their biodiversity. But these important habitats are threatened by human activities. Through the Coral Reef Conservation Program, NOAA is doing its part to address key threats to corals. But we need you too! Even if you live far from a coral reef, simple actions, like using less water, recycling, and disposing of trash responsibly, can have big impacts.

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program | Coral Etiquette | Coral Bleaching | How Can I Protect Corals?

image of marine debris in the water

Marine debris

Marine debris is more than an eyesore. It injures and kills marine life, interferes with navigation safety, and poses a threat to human health. Our ocean and waterways are polluted with a wide variety of marine debris ranging from soda cans and plastic bags to derelict fishing gear and abandoned vessels. Unfortunately the issue of marine debris affects all of the coastal and marine places that NOS strives to protect. There is no place on Earth immune to this problem.

NOAA Marine Debris Program | 10 Things You Should Know about Marine Debris | Trash Talk