Orca whales are one of 29 species of marine mammals in the sanctuary.
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary includes 2,408 square nautical miles of marine waters off the
rugged Olympic Peninsula coastline. The sanctuary extends 25 to 50 miles seaward, covering much of
the continental shelf and several major submarine canyons. The sanctuary protects a productive
upwelling zone - home to marine mammals and seabirds. Along its shores are thriving kelp and
intertidal communities, teeming with fishes and other sea life. In the darkness of the seafloor,
scattered communities of deep sea coral and sponges form habitats for fish and other important
In addition to important ecological resources, the sanctuary has a rich cultural and historical
legacy. Over two hundred shipwrecks are documented here. In addition, the vibrant contemporary
communities of the Makah Tribe, Quileute Tribe, Hoh Tribe, and Quinault Nation have forged
inseparable ties to the ocean environment, maintaining traditions of the past while they navigate
the challenges of the present.
Brilliant Paragorgia corals and feather-like crinoids grace the seafloor.
You'll learn about the Olympic Coast as a place - the qualities that make it extraordinary. Visit
The Living Sanctuary to learn about ocean processes, the underwater
landscape, marine wildlife, marine habitats and traditional cultures and maritime history. Throughout
the website you will also learn about our important work – conserving this incomparable place and
its resources for generations to come.
So, dive in, get to know us and explore Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary!
RECENTLY IN THE NEWS:
Protecting Vital Waters as Marine Sanctuaries
By Mike Boots
Forty years ago, President Ford approved the designation of the country's first marine sanctuary -
the USS Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, protecting the shipwreck of one of the most famous Civil
War ironclads. Since then, 13 other marine protected areas have been added to the Sanctuary system,
encompassing more than 150,000 square miles of ocean along our coasts, in the Great Lakes, and near
the Hawaiian islands and American Samoa.
Like the Monitor, some of these sanctuaries and monuments provide insight into our nation's history.
Others protect areas rich in biological diversity and significant for scientific research and
discovery. Many are economically valuable for fishing, tourism, and recreation. Together, the
network of sanctuaries helps preserve a natural resource that all Americans depend on, no matter
where they live: a healthy and thriving ocean.
See more news stories...