With June 7th the celebration date for UN World Oceans Day, it’s time to be part of the tides of change. We don't have time for "out of sight out of mind" with our oceans.

Our Oceans, Our Earth

Image Source: Seychelles Tourism

We call it Earth, but our planet is primarily composed of oceans—70 percent of it, in fact. The ocean is still largely unknown, a place wonder and mystery: in its vastness, only 10 percent of our oceans have been explored. If the world is numb to numbers, let's turn to the people who are opening our minds and igniting our senses through action.

Every year on World Oceans Day, decision-makers, scientists, activists, sportspersons and celebrities come together on this day to create awareness - and actively put in the work - to save our oceans and enhance the understanding of the changes we need to make in our own actions to create a better environment. 

Image Source: Andrea Masini/Deep Blue Media/World Aquatics

Oceans are the beating heart of our blue planet. It's also where one of the last World Aquatics events took place, with Golfo Aranci, Italy hosting the Open Water Swimming World Cup in the Mediterranean Sea. Listening to the athletes and wanting to do our part, sustainable drinking bottles made their debut at the Sardinia event. These compostable bioplastic drinking bottles are used by teams to feed their athletes during the races, which can last up to two hours.  After athletes take in their feed, the bottles are collected, given back to the teams. These bottles will be re-used throughout the rest of the 2024 World Cup competition season and then composted at the end of their useful lives.

Ocean Patron

Image Source: With the Statue of Liberty in the background, Lewis Pugh nears completion of his 507km swim down the Hudson River (Lewis Pugh)

Understanding what’s truly at stake, let’s turn to a swimmer fully invested in turning these tides: Lewis Pugh, UN Patron of the Oceans

Last year at this time, Pugh was swimming the Hudson River, from its source to its entry into the Atlantic Ocean in New York, New York. Completing the first unassisted 507km swim down the Hudson River from source to sea shows and then speaking at a UN climate action forum in New York City shows how a once-toxic waterway can be revived. 

With a global reputation for record-breaking swims in extreme environments, Pugh is raising awareness about the impacts of climate change and pollution on our oceans. 

Pugh has a message for this year’s World Oceans Day.


“I love swimming in the sea. This is where I find joy. For me, World Oceans Day is a day to celebrate our oceans. But it’s also a day to reflect on our responsibility to protect them. Everyday, we make decisions about what we eat, how we travel to school or to work, the clothes we wear, or how we warm our homes. Ultimately, all these choices impact our oceans. 

“I urge everyone to ask themselves a simple question: 'What changes can you make today to help save our oceans?'”

Open Water | 'The ocean and open water ways connects us' 

Through programmes such as our Swim for All, Swim for Health, Swim for Life and our sustainability measures, World Aquatics will continue to ensure that the world’s bodies of water are welcoming places for all of society. 

Whether its through swimming, diving or water polo playing, we’re united by water. Each one of us has a personal connection to our oceans. This holds especially true with open water swimming community. 

Champion open water athlete turned coach Stephane Lecat | Championing the Cause of Swimming in our Natural Waters

Image Source: French national team open water swimmer Caroline Laure Jouisse of France competes in a World Cup in the ocean waters of Funchal, Madeira, Portugal (Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Before Stephane Lecat was a premier French open water swimmer winning Euro gold (25km at the 2000 European Championships in Helsinki) and World bronze (25km at the World Aquatics Championships - Fukuoka 2001), he was a young kid growing up in France who couldn't swim. "In France, we have many swimming pools, but maybe not enough. I first learned to swim from my father, in a lake in southern France. While I also would go on to compete in the pool, maybe this is where my love of open water swimming started."

These days, the Nogent-sur-Marne native now coaches the French national open water team. He's also a passionate advocate for clean oceans and our climate, and for teaching people to swim - especially in our natural waters. "Seven out of ten people globally don't know how to swim. It's terrible, it's dangerous. I love performance, I love open water swimming. But if I can do something for society, that's even better."

"Seven out of ten people globally don't know how to swim. It's terrible, it's dangerous. I love performance, I love open water swimming. But if I can do something for society, that's even better."
By Stephane Lecat

Lecat sees untapped potential in teaching swimming in our natural lakes, rivers and oceans. " I remember competing in South Africa. They had this beautiful pool in a lake. It had lane ropes and everything. And there were kids learning to swim. It brought me back to my start in sport. Even without a man-made pool, they found a solution.

"If we use natural water, people will take greater care of our water, added Lecat. "We think about our actions and we will put more pressure on those polluting our waters. You take more consideration into these elements when you swim there."

With the Paris 2024 Olympic Games just 50 days away, Lecat sees so much potential around holding the open water swimming events in the Seine. "It'd be easier for the organisers to hold these events in a beautiful lake in France, but the role of the Olympic Games is to have an impact. And that impact needs to be most felt in the host city. It's our responsibility that the life is better for Parisians after the Games. Having a swimmable Seine is a essential part of this. The work that is being done to make the Seine swimmable again is amazing."   

Feeling Smart? | Test Your Ocean Knowledge

Parting Scene | Ocean Serenity


* While the official UN designation for World Oceans Day is still 8 June, the 2024 event is celebrated on 7 June.