Ocean Literacy Principles

Ocean literacy = an understanding of the ocean’s influence on you—and your influence on the ocean.


The Ocean Literacy Principles are an education framework developed by a group of teachers and ocean scientists.  There are 7 Principles and 40 Fundamental Concepts. They have been adopted by marine educator networks around the world and accepted by the U.N. These guidelines are being applied across all regions of the world and teaching them can be adapted to your local context.

An ocean-literate person:

  • Understands the Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts about the ocean;
  • Can communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way;
  • Is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources.

To read about the 7 Essential Principles and 40 Fundamental Concepts, please download this introductory document or visit the Ocean Literacy website.

1 – The Earth has one big ocean with many features.

2  – The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth.

3 – The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate.

4 – The ocean made Earth habitable.

5 – The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.

6 – The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.

7 – The ocean is largely unexplored.

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