Celebrating World Oceans

While at the beach, take a moment to think about all the wonderful things that oceans bring to humankind. Learn 6 interesting facts about oceans and their essential role for life on Earth.

1. How many oceans are there on Earth?

Most people would say four. That might be what we learned in school, but it is only partially correct. This is a trick question because the ocean is one large World Ocean that spans the Earth. To make things easier there are four officially named oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic and Indian. Nowadays, a fifth ocean is also recognised called the Southern Ocean, which is in the southern hemisphere around Antarctica.

2. Oceans and the carbon cycle

To put it simply, oceans play a huge role in sustaining living things on Earth. The vast ecosystems within oceans host a huge variety of life – from the microscopic to the great white shark. What’s more, oceans are part of the carbon cycle, which is another essential process for life. The ocean produces over half the world’s oxygen and stores 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere.

3. Ocean mountains and trenches

Just under the surface of the water is a world all its own. The ocean is a place of many topographical features such as mountain ranges and trenches. The longest ocean mountain range, the Mid-Oceanic Ridge, is 56,000 kilometres long, while the deepest known point is the Mariana Trench that dips 11 kilometres. But there could be more than we don’t know because it is estimated that only 5% of the world’s oceans have been explored.

4. Why do people get seasickness?

Seasickness is a condition where the inner ear detects the movement of the boat or vessel, while the eyes believe that things are relatively stable. This mixes up the body and can result in feeling unwell, sometimes dramatically so. Lucky there are a few things you can do – stay hydrated, get some fresh air on deck. If you are prone to this condition, consider taking some medication before setting sail. Luckily seasickness is a temporary condition that often eases within the first couple days at sea.

5. Microplastics are a threat to the oceans

Many of us know that debris and litter has made its way to the oceans, threatening marine life and polluting the environment. However, it isn’t just the large pieces of garbage that are hurting our oceans, also tiny particles. Microplastics are plastic particles that are less than 5 millimetres in length. These come from degradation of larger pieces or even small beads that come from, for example, cosmetic products. Studies into what the long-term effects of these microplastics are on marine life is on-going. Yet another reason to stop littering and recycle.

6. Seaspeak: the language of the sea

Seaspeak is the internationally recognised language used on boats to communicate from the seas and oceans all over the world. Seaspeak is not a language as such, but rules on how to speak over radio to make sure the messages are clear and consistent. For example, words used as markers precede each sentence such as: Advice, Answer, Information, Instruction, Intention, Question, Request, and Warning. This helps make the topic of the conversation much clearer.

Hopefully you learned a new fact or two about oceans. Inspired to take an ocean getaway? Check out easy loan options that can help you set sail.