Concern for the marine environment is now high on the political and public agenda. For centuries the oceans have provided essential resources, contributed hugely to the global economy and inspired many cultures worldwide. We now also recognise their influence on global climate and their central role in Earth's delicately balanced life-support system.

Yet human needs place increasing strains on the sea. Declining fish stocks, rising levels of marine debris, pollution disasters and vanishing coral reefs are symptoms of the dangers facing the world’s oceans – and ourselves.

This subject area – itself a new, exciting and topical one for the Museum – is being developed at Greenwich by creating access to a wide range of resources, undertaking authoritative research and planning vivid new displays and educational work.

Planned activity

The National Maritime Museum (NMM) launched Planet Ocean in 2002. This initiative provides the Museum with an opportunity to bring together the past, present and future of the oceans. Key elements include:

  • a vivid suite of displays – Making Waves, Oceans of Discovery and Your Ocean
  • a research, publication and scholarship programme
  • a range of learning and educational resources

Key themes

  • Oceans and environmental change
  • Biodiversity and conservation
  • Deep-sea exploration, navigation and discovery
  • Citizenship and sustainable development

Related library resources

The Museum already holds an extensive collection of publications related to the contemporary marine environment. These may be accessed via the Caird Library. The main strengths of this collection are in oceanology (in particular many of the key marine science textbooks published since 1970) and in ocean law and regulation.

An online catalogue of the Library and Manuscripts holdings is also available.

Key partnerships

The Museum also has a Marine Environment Advisory Group. This is a group of key stakeholders, who provide the Museum with expert advice as well as access to potential objects and other resources. These organisations are excellent sources of information relating to this field. Their contact details are given below:

National Oceanography Centre, Southampton

University of Southampton

Waterfront Campus

European Way

Southampton SO14 3ZH

Tel: 023 8059 6666

The Crown Estate

16 New Burlington Place

London W1S 2HX

Tel: +44 (0)20 7851 5070


Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Tutt Head



West Glamorgan SA3 4HW

Tel: 0870 600 6505 (information line)

219 Huntingdon Road

Cambridge CB3 0DL

Tel: +44 (0)1223 277314 (main switchboard)

Fax: 01223 277136



Panda House

Weyside Park


Surrey GU7 1XR

Tel: 01483 426333

Fax: 01483 426409

The National Trust

Neptune Coastline Campaign

PO Box 39

Warrington WA5 7WD

Tel: +44 (0)870 458 4000

Fax: 020 8466 6824


Marine Conservation Society

Unit 3

Wolf Business Park

Alton Road


Herefordshire HR9 5NB

Tel: 01989 566017

Fax: 01989 567815

Society for Underwater Technology

80 Coleman Street

London EC2R 5BJ

Tel: +44 (0)20 7382 2601

Fax: +44 (0)20 7382 2684



80 Coleman Street

London EC2R 5BJ

Tel: +44 (0)20 7382 2600

Fax: +44 (0)20 7382 2670



The Gateway

Rowhedge Wharf

High Street



Essesx CO5 7ET

Tel/fax: 01206 728644


Next steps

For general research help see:

Research guide A2: Principal records for maritime research at the National Maritime Museum

Although care has been taken in preparing the information contained in this document, anyone using it shall be deemed to indemnify the National Maritime Museum from any and all injury or damage arising from such use.