We need EVERYONE on earth to understand the importance of the ocean to their daily lives.

The goal of the 2018 National Ocean Exploration Forum is to imagine creative new ways to make the ocean so pervasive in modern culture that everyone has a positive association with and understanding of the sea. We will bring together leaders in ocean exploration, industry, entertainment, recreation, art, and design to empower an open, inclusive global community of ocean explorers. We are seeking participants who are passionate about ocean exploration, and who exemplify diversity with regard to gender, culture, socioeconomics, geography, and domain knowledge. We believe in the power of diversity to bring different viewpoints to the table in order to creatively reach new audiences about the importance of the ocean and exploration.

The ocean is critical to life on Earth, providing oxygen, food, energy, recreation, and so much more. And yet, we have barely explored a fraction of the ocean. Only 15% of the seafloor has been mapped by modern methods, and perhaps 5% has ever been seen by human eyes. Despite the ocean’s relevance to humankind, too few people have an elementary knowledge of the role that the ocean plays in making our planet habitable. Our limited understanding stems largely from the challenges associated with traditional exploration of the ocean and its natural resources. With a growing global population and ever increasing anthropogenic pressures on Earth, the time for a bold, exciting initiative to explore, understand, and share the full depths of the oceans is now.

Too often, the ocean is a medium for raising alarms about pollution, climate change, overfishing, and other stories of doom and gloom, issues that are alienating and tend to resonate with sectors of society that already know and care about these challenges. In contrast, ocean exploration has the potential to capture the imagination of the public; it is exciting and has the capacity to turn the spotlight of public awareness onto the importance of the sea to humankind.

Throughout the course of the Forum, we will address the following themes:

  • PLAY | Sparking curiosity in the ocean through play

  • IMAGINE | Imagining a bright, optimistic future for the ocean

  • IMMERSE | Bringing people to the ocean and the ocean to people

  • CREATE | Engaging the heart and soul through the arts

  • EXPLORE | Empowering a global community of ocean explorers

  • CONNECT | Connecting people to the ocean and to each other


Learn more about Our Values, the Open Ocean initiative, and the National Forums on Ocean Exploration.