Our Blue Heritage

For millennia, humans have depended on the sea for their livelihoods, for food, as a highway from one land to another. The ocean and coastline have long been -- and continue to be -- places around which our communities are organized.

In "Our Blue Heritage," learn how maritime heritage resources like shipwrecks can serve as living museums. Shipwrecks like Conestoga and those in the Graveyard of the Atlantic can teach us about our past as a maritime nation even as we celebrate the future. By searching for, protecting, and studying shipwrecks, we can solve the mysteries of our disappeared loved ones and better understand key events in our nation's history.

National marine sanctuaries also protect areas that indigenous tribes have depended upon for generations and generations. In this section, learn about the annual razor clam digs of the Quinault Indian Nation of the Olympic Coast, and how the sanctuary helps sustain the healthy razor clam population that tribal members depend upon for food and income.

In this section, you'll also learn how sanctuaries are a place to play and celebrate our heritage. Each year, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary hosts the Thunder Bay Maritime Festival to encourage visitors to dive deeper into the maritime world and learn about Great Lakes history.

Together, the United States is a maritime nation. By celebrating and protecting maritime heritage resources and artifacts, we ensure this history can endure for future generations.

Image: Monitor National Marine Sanctuary archaeologist Joe Hoyt photographs U-576 from inside a submersible. Photo: Robert Carmichael/Project Baseline