Our Blue Heritage

National marine sanctuaries are dynamic reefs and lively kelp forests; they are historic shipwrecks and sunken relics. These underwater parks enable us to preserve and understand our history as a seafaring nation and the many ways our cultures have lived with the ocean and Great Lakes for centuries and even millennia. Most of all, they help us understand our communities.

Humans and the sea are inextricably interconnected. From the shipwrecks spanning centuries of the Great Lakes shipping industry in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary to the indigenous seafaring traditions of National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, national marine sanctuaries help us understand the diverse cultures that call sanctuaries home. As we look across the broader maritime landscape, we can understand how the environment affects us as a society and how we impact the environment in turn.

Through the study, protection and promotion of our diverse ocean legacy, sanctuaries help Americans learn more about ourselves as a nation.