List of Ocean & Sea-Related Words

, Staff Writer
Updated June 8, 2022
Ocean waves breaking on beach
    Ocean waves breaking on beach
    RICHARD EDEN / Moment / Getty Images

Whether you are interested in exploring more about the sea or looking for ocean words to use as a vocabulary for your class, having a comprehensive list of ocean words can be handy. Dive into the deep depths of the ocean through some unique and interesting ocean vocabulary covering beaches, creatures, seas, plants, and more.

Words to Describe the Ocean

The oceans and seas are vast. They are full of wonders that we are still discovering. In fact, the National Ocean Service points out that more than 80% of the ocean is unknown. Could you imagine those crazy wonders hiding in the deep depths? Well, there are a few areas that are known. Dive into a list of common sea and ocean words!

  • buoy - floating object in the sea to serve as a warning or guide
  • brine - salty water
  • current - directed movement of sea water
  • dead zone - spots in the ocean with low oxygen and lack of sea life
  • deep blue sea - description of sea water
  • deepwater - water of great depth
  • estuary - spot where the river meets the sea
  • hurricane - tropical cyclone that forms over the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean
  • inlet - thin area of water coming from a larger body
  • isle - island
  • loch - arm of the sea
  • nautical - relating to ships or the sea
  • ocean floor - the bottom of the sea
  • ocean water - water in the sea
  • open sea - sea that is away from land
  • saltwater - brackish water with high salt content
  • salty - having high saline content
  • seacoast - land that touches the sea
  • seaway - ocean travel route
  • seven seas - all the oceans of the world
  • surface water - top layer of the ocean
  • tide pool - pool revealed in rocks when the tide goes out
  • tsunami - tidal wave

Plants Associated With the Ocean

When it comes to the vegetation filling our waters, it is unique to say the least. One of the heroes of the deep sea is plankton, which is made up of tiny plants and animals floating with the sea. These microscopic wonders set up the base for the marine ecosystem. While there are different species out there, plankton typically fall into two different types: zooplankton (animals) and phytoplankton (plants). Beyond just the food chain superstars, you also have wonders like the Great Barrier Reef. Splash around a few other plants of the ocean words like:

  • algae - aquatic plants including seaweed
  • bacteria - single-celled organisms
  • gulfweed - brown seaweed also known as sargassum
  • kelp - large type of brown seaweed with long strips
  • red algae - a red type of seaweed
  • seagrass - underwater flowering plants

Creatures of the Ocean and Sea

It's time to swim down in the depths now by looking at sea creature words. Not only do you have the unicorn of the sea in a narwhal but unique array of all different kinds of fish. There are even those really creepy creatures that only in the darkest depths like the anglerfish with its glowing lure. Wade in with some other fun ocean creature words in this list.

  • abalone - mollusk found in warm seas
  • barracuda - predatory tropical saltwater fish
  • barnacle - a crustacean that attaches to structures such as boat hulls, rocks, and docks
  • blowfish - fish that can inflate its body
  • clownfish - brightly colored, striped tropical fish
  • coral - tiny marine animals with hard exoskeletons
  • coral reef - a large grouping of coral, typically occurring in warmer seas and teeming with sea life
  • crab - crustacean with five sets of legs that include one set of pincers
  • dolphin - sociable sea mammal that is a small whale
  • elephant seal - large breed of marine mammal
  • flying fish - tropical fish with large, winglike fins that appears to fly over the top of the water when it jumps out
  • giant squid - deepwater fish that can grow to an extremely large size
  • jellyfish - a gelatinous clear-colored aquatic invertebrate with stinging tentacles
  • lobster - large, cylinder-shaped marine crustacean with five sets of legs including one set of pincers
  • manatee - large, plant-eating, aquatic mammal
  • mollusk - invertebrate, often with a shell
  • octopus - cephalopod mollusk with eight legs
  • otter - semi-aquatic mammal related to the weasel
  • oyster - shelled bivalve mollusk with a rough shell
  • sea turtle - ocean reptile with a leathery shell
  • sea anemone - aquatic invertebrate with a column shaped body and tentacles
  • sea urchin - spiny sea creatures
  • seagull - commonly used name for gulls
  • seahorse - marine fish that swims upright
  • shark - predatory saltwater fish
  • shrimp - small marine crustacean
  • sponge - marine cellular organisms with porous bodies
  • stingray - flat cartilaginous fish
  • walrus - large sea mammal with tusks
  • whale - large marine mammal

Name of the Oceans and Seas

When you talk about oceans, here’s where it gets a little tricky. There is actually only one global ocean. However, there are five basins, which you call the oceans. These are Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern oceans. While you might think there are only seven seas, there are a lot more. There are actually more than 50 seas in the world. Some of the seas you might find include:

  • Andaman Sea - near Myanmar and Thailand
  • Arabian Sea - in the Indian Ocean near Iran and Pakistan
  • Barents Sea - in the Arctic Ocean off the coasts of Norway and Russia
  • Beaufort Sea - in the Arctic Ocean off the coasts of Northwest Territories, Alaska, and Yukon
  • Bering Sea - in the Pacific Ocean dividing The Americas and Eurasia
  • Caribbean Sea - in the Atlantic Ocean in the Western Hemisphere's tropics
  • Chukchi Sea - in the Arctic Ocean near the Beaufort Sea
  • Coral Sea - South Pacific sea off the northeast coast of Australia
  • Ionian Sea - in the Mediterranean near Southern Italy, Greece, and the Adriatic Sea
  • Irish Sea - sea separating Ireland from Great Britain
  • Java Sea - sea near Borneo and Java
  • Kara Sea - Arctic sea located north of Siberia
  • Laptev Sea - Arctic sea off the northern coast of Siberia
  • Mediterranean Sea - Atlantic sea almost completely surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin
  • Norwegian Sea - Arctic sea northwest of Norway
  • Persian Gulf - Mediterranean sea off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula
  • Philippine Sea - sea off the east coast of the Philippines
  • Salton Sea - saline lake in California along the San Andreas Fault
  • Sea of Okhotsk - Pacific sea near Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands
  • South China Sea - Pacific sea off the southeastern coast of China
  • Sulu Sea - sea off the southwestern coast of the Philippines
  • Tasman Sea - South Pacific sea between New Zealand and Australia
  • Weddell Sea - sea in the Southern Ocean near the Antarctic Peninsula
  • Yellow Sea - Western Pacific sea near China and the Korean Peninsula

Words Associated With the Ocean and Beach

While an ocean is made up of water, it connects with a land mass eventually. It might connect with small land masses to create a series of islands like the Pacific Islands. Or, it might connect with one of the seven continents. Where the ocean meets land, you have a beach. Not only are those beaches filled with creatures, but you can find other fun ocean landforms and words, such as:

  • cliff - rock face
  • coast - the edge of a land mass where it meets the sea
  • coastal - along the coast or near the coast
  • coastline - the outline of a coast
  • continental shelf - shallow seabed near a land mass
  • driftwood - wood that floats in the ocean or has been washed ashore
  • ebb tide - period between high tide and low tide when water flows away from the shore
  • foreshore - shore closest to the water
  • high tide - when the tide has come the farthest in it will come
  • inland - areas of land away from the coast
  • inshore - in towards the shore
  • low tide - when the tide is the farthest out it will go
  • onshore - on land
  • Pacific Islands - islands in the Pacific Ocean including Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia
  • seashell - any shell found on the beach
  • sea spray - aerosol particles of sea water, mostly from the movement of waves
  • shore - the coast
  • shoreline - line where the sea meets the land
  • tidal wave - large, irregular wave
  • wave - rolling motion in the surface of water

Different Words for Ocean Ships and Boats

Since you can’t walk on water, you have to navigate the ocean somehow. Thankfully, there are all kinds of fun ocean vehicles you can come across. Just a few of the boats or ships you might encounter in an ocean include:

  • barge - large, flat boat used for carrying freight
  • container ship - ship carrying cargo stored in containers
  • cruise ship - large ship carrying travel passengers; a floating hotel
  • fishing boats - crafts used in fishing
  • sailboats - watercraft propelled by sails
  • submarine - boat that submerges and travels fully underwater
  • tanker - ship that carries liquid cargo in bulk tanks
  • trawler - boat used for trawling (net fishing)
  • yacht - large pleasure watercraft

Unique Ocean Words

The ocean is full of unique and interesting things, from the saltwater itself to the creatures found above and below the surface. Considering much of the ocean is undiscovered, it kind of makes you want to dive right in and explore it. Thankfully, you can. Right from the comfort of your own home through ocean and sea examples. Then, you can explore other bodies of water, like ponds and lakes