Quotes about the Ocean

“The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.”

Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, 1623-1662

“That Ocean is a mighty harmonist.”

William Wordsworth, English Romantic poet, in the poem “On the Power of Sound,” 1835

“The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness.”

Joseph Conrad, writer, in the book The Mirror of the Sea, 1906

“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul.”

Kate Chopin, writer, in the book The Awakening, 1899

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. I have heard them all, and of the three elemental voices, that of ocean is the most awesome, beautiful and varied.”

Henry Beston, Writer, in the book The Outermost House, 1928

“Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth.”

Heinrich Zimmer, historian

“For ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.”

H.P. Lovecraft, writer, in the short story “The White Ship,” 1919

“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”

Rachel Carson, marine biologist, in the magazine “Holiday,” July 1958

“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch, we are going back from whence we came.”

John F. Kennedy, US president, Remarks at the Dinner for the America’s Cup Crews, September 14, 1962

“How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly ocean.”

Arthur C. Clarke, science fiction writer

“Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.”

William Arthur Ward, Motivational writer

“If you live a life of make-believe, your life isn’t worth anything until you do something that does challenge your reality. And to me, sailing the open ocean is a real challenge, because it’s life or death.”

Morgan Freeman, actor

“Being out there in the ocean, God’s creation, it’s like a gift He has given us to enjoy.”

-Bethany Hamilton, surfer

“The ocean is a central image. It is the symbolism of a great journey.”


“Even castles made from sand fall to the ocean.”

Jimi Hendrix, musician, singer, and songwriter

“I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.”

Helen Keller, author and activist

“Individuals of all ages can make an important difference in the overall health of our ocean by the actions they take every day. Simple things like picking up trash on the beach, recycling and conserving water can have a big impact on the health of our ocean.”

Ted Danson, actor

“We have to ensure that oceans continue to meet our needs without compromising those of future generations. They regulate the planet’s climate and are a significant source of nutrition. Their surface provides essential passage for global trade, while their depths hold current and future solutions to humanity’s energy needs.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a message titled “Ocean Sustainability: Together let’s ensure oceans can sustain us into the future,” 2014

“We can now go to the Arctic. Just ten years ago I stood on the ice at the North Pole. An ice-free Arctic Ocean may happen in this century. That’s bad news for the polar bears. That’s bad news for us too. Excess carbon dioxide is not only driving global warming, it’s also changing ocean chemistry, making the sea more acidic. That’s bad news for coral reefs and oxygen-producing plankton. Also it’s bad news for us. We’re putting hundreds of millions of tons of plastic and other trash into the sea. Millions of tons of discarded fishing nets, gear that continues to kill. We’re clogging the ocean, poisoning the planet’s circulatory system, and we’re taking out hundreds of millions of tons of wildlife, all carbon-based units. Barbarically, we’re killing sharks for shark fin soup, undermining food chains that shape planetary chemistry and drive the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the oxygen cycle, the water cycle — our life support system.”

Sylvia Earle, in a TED Talk, “My wish: Protect our oceans,” February 2009

“Despite their tiny size, plant plankton found in the world’s oceans are crucial to much of life on Earth. They are the foundation of the bountiful marine food web, produce half the world’s oxygen and suck up harmful carbon dioxide.”

Seth Borenstein, Associated Press science writer, “Nature Stunner: ‘Global warming blamed for 40% decline in the ocean’s phytoplankton,'” July 29, 2010

“Healthy fish make healthy people. Believe it or not, fish are an important part of our medical industry. While 77% of fish caught in the commercial sector was used for human consumption, fish are used for more than just food. An ocean commission report lists chemicals and biological materials from marine organisms now in use or development, including 10 anti-cancer drugs, drugs to fight inflammation, fungus, tuberculosis, HIV, malaria and dengue.”

Ellen Bolen, Director, Fish Conservation Program at Ocean Conservancy, “5 Reasons You Depend on Healthy Fisheries,” oceanconservancy.org, Nov. 21, 2014

“I believe marine organisms can be used to eliminate disease and human suffering … We now have the technology to visit the deep ocean floor, and, because of DNA technology, to more deeply understand life and ourselves.”

-William Speck, pediatrician, “Scientists Seek New Medicines From the Ocean,” National Geographic, Aug. 7, 2001

“Since the majority of the oxygen we breathe comes from the ocean, not to mention much of the world’s protein, it is not an exaggeration to say that when our oceans’ health declines, our very survival is at risk.”

Brian Skerry, ocean wildlife photographer