In 1975, the first national marine sanctuary in the United States was designated to protect the iconic wreck of the Civil War-era USS Monitor. Since then, your National Marine Sanctuary System has been caring for symbols of our nation’s maritime heritage and diverse cultures. National marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments protect and document historic shipwrecks and aircraft. We work with indigenous people to preserve and maintain their cultures. And we help safeguard the marine creatures that live in our marine protected areas so that future generations will get to know them as well. It’s all part of Our Blue Heritage.