We humans like to name things, placing monikers on everything around us—cliffs, coves, bays, anything of geographic significance. We renamed as new cultures evolved from older ones and colonists displaced native peoples, using different names in different languages. As we examine the records of human coastal habitation and use, from the oral traditions of the first people to settle along our shores, to early maps and charts of European explorers to more modern documents, we find names layered on top of one another in a historic collage.
Immerse yourself in the ocean and your national marine sanctuaries without getting wet!
Our planet is an ocean planet: Earth Is Blue. The National Marine Sanctuary System protects some of the most iconic underwater places throughout the United States, but we can't do it without you. No matter where you are, the ocean and Great Lakes are in your hands. We hope these images inspire you to help care for our ocean and to spread the word that Earth isn't green – it's blue.
Join us on and submit your own photos.
Stories from the Blue
Stories from the Blue celebrate the people at the center of national marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments. What does the National Marine Sanctuary System mean to you?
Earth is Blue Magazine
Explore Sanctuaries Live
with real-time video and communication feeds
Sanctuary Nomination Process
NOAA invites communities across the nation to nominate their most treasured places in our marine and Great Lakes waters for consideration as national marine sanctuaries.