The Two Bays program has completed its 10th year, although this year we really should have named it One Bay as we focussed only on Port Phillip Bay. We completed a number of very diverse days around Port Phillip with an overarching science component of capturing microplastics wherever we travelled. The results of the microplastics trawl are now being analysed by the EPA. Over the years we have formed many partnerships to give a broad platform for community, schools, government and council agencies to enhance their knowledge and  engagement with the extraordinary marine backyard and its cultural wealth that is situated beside the metropolis of Melbourne.

We have been very fortunate to partner with Harry Breidahl from Nautilus education for the past six years. He has been instrumental in activating our Two Bays curriculum (written by Andrew Vance) with school students. Much of the structual design of our curriculum is based on the concept of Ocean Literacy-developed by marine educators in the States.

Underwater garden- Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary with Two Bays immersive learners Photo: Michelle Quach

Underwater garden- Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary with Two Bays immersive learners Photo: Michelle Quach


Here is some further information about Ocean Literacy from Harry Breidahl himself.

The concept of Ocean Literacy originally began to develop in the USA in response to the fact that ocean topics didn’t fit neatly into science disciplines and were mostly ignored in formal K-12 education. Even more telling was the fact that there was no systematic teaching about the ocean. The result of all of this was the inescapable fact that the American public were largely ignorant of the importance of the ocean in their lives. 


You don’t need to look around too far to see that the situation here in Australia is exactly the same. The great news is that marine educators and marine scientists in the USA worked collaboratively to address these important issues. The result of their endeavours was the concept of Ocean Literacy, a concept that is now widely accepted internationally. 


So what is Ocean Literacy? 


Ocean Literacy is an understanding the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean. 


Further, an ocean-literate person understands: 

  • the essential principles and fundamental concepts about the ocean; 
  • can communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way; and 
  • is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources. 


There are 7 principles of Ocean Literacy – ideas scientists and educators agree everyone should understand about the ocean. 


  • Principle 1: The Earth has one big ocean with many features. 
  • Principle 2: The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth. 
  • Principle 3: The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate. 
  • Principle 4: The ocean makes the Earth habitable. 
  • Principle 5: The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems. 
  • Principle 6: The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected. 
  • Principle 7: The ocean is largely unexplored. 


Everything associated with Ocean Literacy has been made freely available in the USA and has already been used to address many of the issues that initiated the whole process in that nation. Ocean Literacy, the 7 principles and the extensive Scope and Sequence are also highly relevant to Australia and Australian marine educators and scientists have full access to all of this great work at It would be wonderful to see Ocean Literacy taken up in a big way in our island nation (a few of us are already working on that). 


For more details, please contact Harry Breidahl

AuthorNatalie Davey