World Oceans Day 2023

Jun 08, 2023 · 7 mins read ·

Fun Stuff
aerial view of the ocean and land

Today, June 8th is World Oceans Day, an annual day of observance which is celebrated internationally. But what is the history of this day, when did it begin and why - and what is World Oceans Day 2023’s theme?

The history of World Oceans Day

The United Nations’ World Ocean Day was first celebrated in 1992 after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was held in Rio de Janeiro. However, it wasn’t until 2008 that the United Nations General Assembly designated June 8th of the following year to be the first official World Oceans Day.  

What is the aim of World Oceans Day?

Now one of the largest international environmental observance days, World Oceans Day is an opportunity for all of us to shine a spotlight on the importance of the ocean and to take action to protect it.

There are a multitude of benefits that we, as humans, receive from the seas and oceans, and the United Nations, and indeed numerous other organizations - and individuals - believe that it is our responsibility to protect our oceans, and the communities that live at its edges, by using its resources sustainably.

Read more: World Meteorological Day & Our Oceans

With the ocean covering more than 70% of the earth's surface, it is naturally home to a vast array of life. Of course, this means that it is a major source of food as well as somewhere that provides endless opportunities for transportation and recreation. 

In addition, our oceans play a crucial role in regulating the earth's climate and are a major sink for carbon dioxide.

It makes sense, then, that we should promote the protection and preservation of our oceans not just on June 8th, but every day.

What is the theme for World Oceans Day 2023?

As with many of the IMO’s days and events and the United Nations’ days of observance, World Oceans Day also has a yearly theme. So what is the 2023 World Oceans Day theme?

It is:

Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing

And in the words of the United Nations: “It’s time to put the oceans first.”

As per the UN’s World Oceans Day website:

“To celebrate the United Nations World Oceans Day 2023 theme, Planet Ocean, the United Nations is joining forces with decision makers, scientists, private sector executives, civil society representatives, indigenous communities, celebrities and youth activists and more to put the ocean first.”

What threats are our oceans facing?

But rather than just being another observance day on the calendar - and there are many incredibly worthy ones - World Oceans Day is now more vital than ever.

The oceans are facing very real threats, including:

  • Pollution
  • Overfishing
  • Climate change

So what are the repercussions of these threats? In some areas of the globe all of the above are wreaking devastation, not only on delicate marine ecosystems, but also on the people who depend on the ocean and the coastline for their livelihoods.

Read more: November 5th is World Tsunami Awareness Day

What are some ways to get involved with World Oceans Day?

If you’re only just reading this now - actually on World Oceans Day - don’t worry, because you’re not too late to join in. 

You can find out more about the United Nations 2023 World Oceans Day program on their website. And while you might be too late to register for their virtual event or enter their annual photography competition, there are still plenty of resources to help you learn more about the threats facing the ocean - and to take action to protect it. 

Read more: The Day of the Seafarer 2023

Meanwhile, there are plenty of ways to get involved, all year round - and some of them are deceptively simple:

  • Reduce your consumption of single-use plastics - many of which end up in the ocean
  • Eat less seafood and support sustainable seafood and fishing practices
  • Learn more about the ocean and share what you learn with others
  • Volunteer with an ocean conservation organization

And of course, you can always put June 8th in your diary or on your calendar for next year so you know well in advance!

A few fast ocean facts

Sometimes we need to see the cold hard facts before we finally spring into action so let’s look at some facts, stats and figures about the ocean:

  • The ocean produces half of the Earth's oxygen
  • The ocean contains 97% of the Earth's water
  • The ocean absorbs about 30% of the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere
  • The ocean is home to over 200,000 known species of plants and animals
  • The ocean is a major source of food for billions of people around the globe

The ocean is an essential and vital part of our planet and just as we recycle our kitchen waste and try to reduce our carbon footprint by taking public transport and switching lights off when we’re not using them, so too do we need to take care of the oceans. 

Read more: World Marine Aids to Navigation Day

World Oceans Day is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about our seas and oceans and to find out how to take action to protect them.

And then, most importantly of all, to act upon those findings.

Whether you live by the ocean, depend on it for your livelihood, or are a seafarer working in a job at sea, we wish you all a happy, fact finding World Oceans Day.

Indeed, as the United Nations state in their 2023 World Oceans Day message: It’s time to put the ocean first.

Eve Church

Eve Church

Eve is Martide's content writer, publishing regular posts on everything from our maritime recruitment and crew planning software to life at sea. Eve has been writing professionally for more than two decades, crafting everything from SEO-focused blog posts and website landing pages to magazine articles and corporate whitepapers.


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