Connections in the Blue

Whether you live in the mountains, on the plains, or on the shore, in the United States or abroad, we are all connected by the ocean. This enormous body of water contains 97 percent of Earth’s water, and all life, including our own, depends on it for survival.

The National Marine Sanctuary System protects some of the most important areas of the ocean and Great Lakes. This system of marine protected areas encompasses more than 170,000 square miles within United States waters — an area almost twice the size of the Great Lakes. National marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments help build a stronger, more resilient future for communities and ecosystems alike.

But we can’t do it alone: the global ocean and waterways are all connected, and many ocean inhabitants, like humpback whales, travel across the world. By working with marine protected areas around the globe, the National Marine Sanctuary System helps maintain a healthy ocean for everyone.