Sea the connection: National Marine Week 2024 will map people’s love of UK seas

This year’s National Marine Week theme is Sea the Connection, which is celebrating the diverse ways people feel connected with the sea. The Wildlife Trusts are encouraging people to share favourite seaside memories, adventures and places on an interactive map.

From Herman Melville to Amy Liptrott, Sylvia Earle to Charles Darwin, writers, naturalists and adventurers have documented voyages, discoveries and encounters with the sea throughout history. Now The Wildlife Trusts are calling on everyone to share their stories of how the sea enriches lives. 

National Marine Week takes place from Saturday 27th July to Sunday 11th August 2024 – it spans a fortnight due to varying tidal conditions around the UK. There are celebrations and events across the country such as the family-friendly SeaFest celebration in Cumbria, a Locomation in the Ocean on the Dorset coast, and a Marine Mammal BioBlitz in west Wales.

Daniele Clifford, marine conservation officer at The Wildlife Trusts, says: “The seas around the UK matter to us all – whether it’s because they support businesses or provide a playground for us to explore and relax – we owe so much to them. The stunning coastlines and waters surrounding us host an abundance of wildlife and store vast amounts of carbon – and they have an enormous cultural impact on society too. Rocky shores, muddy estuaries and sandy beaches are wonderful places to explore and these fascinating habitats have inspired many a storyteller, artist and poet throughout history, making our lives all the richer. We want everyone to share their sea stories with us! 

“Our research shows that people think that protecting nature at sea is the top environmental priority for the Government. Ensuring that our seas are protected will help wildlife recover with knock on benefits for fishers, as well as ensuring vast amounts of carbon remain stored in natural habitats such as mud, seagrass and saltmarsh. Better protections for our seas will mean more wildlife and healthier waters, and that helps everyone.” 

Wyl Menmuir, author and ocean advocate, says: “At the end of a long day, I know I can get a lift by walking along the strandline at my local beach. There’s always something interesting to find among the seaweed where the tide has turned: mermaids’ purses, by-the-wind-sailors, cork floats with goose barnacles, fascinating things that take my full attention. I pick out the plastic I find there, too, which makes me feel I’m doing some good, so it’s a win win.” 

Steve Backshall, TV presenter and supporter of National Marine Week, says:“We’re so lucky to have waters around our Great British Isles which are teeming with life, with treasures equalling anywhere else on this planet. I distinctly remember swimming in a seagrass meadow off the coast of Cornwall with spiny seahorses bumping into my mask! Even if you don’t live on the coast, you can still get involved with National Marine Week by learning about the deadly impact of pollution on our seas and doing a litter pick to make sure less plastic makes its way downstream.” 

Find the interactive map and a full list of events on The Wildlife Trusts’ website:

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