Our National Marine Sanctuaries

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is dedicated to inspiring all people to preserve, protect, and promote America’s underwater treasures, our nationwide network of marine sanctuaries.
To view a specific sanctuary's graphic bar on the right, click on their name on the map below. Then click on the sanctuary's graphic bar to launch their web site.

The National Marine Sanctuary System

Our national marine sanctuaries embrace part of our collective riches as a nation. Within their protected waters, giant humpback whales breed and calve their young, coral colonies flourish and shipwrecks tell stories of our maritime history. Sanctuary habitats include beautiful rocky reefs, lush kelp forests, whale migration corridors, spectacular deep-sea canyons and underwater archaeological sites. Our nation’s sanctuaries can provide a safe habitat for species close to extinction or protect historically significant shipwrecks. Ranging in size from less than one square mile to more than 5,300 square miles, each sanctuary is a unique place needing special protection. Natural classrooms, cherished recreational spots and valuable commercial industries – marine sanctuaries represent many things to many people.

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) serves as the trustee for a system of 13 marine sanctuaries, encompassing more than 18,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington State to the Florida Keys and from Lake Huron to America Samoa. In addition, the ONMS co-manages the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which was designated by Executive Order on June 15, 2006, to protect the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. As one of the largest marine protected areas in the world, the monument encompasses approximately 140,000 square miles and protects more than 7,000 species, many of which are only found there.

Click on a sanctuary name below to visit the website.

National Marine Sanctuaries map

Stellwagen Bank
Olympic Coast
Hawaii Humpback Whales
Gulf of Farallones
Gray Reef
Flower Garden
Florida Keys
Fagatele Bay
Cordell Bank
Channel Islands
Thunder Bay

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Help protect our national marine sanctuaries. Your support helps our mission to enhance national marine sanctuaries in their goal to protect essential U.S. marine areas and to ensure a healthy ocean.

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New item: Sanctuary Notecards illustrated by Sherman's Lagoon creator Jim Toomey

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