Marine life comes in a vast array of different forms, from the more or less familiar to the otherworldly and fascinating.
According to salt content, the types of water are freshwater, brackish, and salt water.
Some marine species are unique to a region or a climate zone. But as the oceans are connected, many of them have cosmopolitan distribution, meaning they can be found all around the world.
These large aquatic creatures live in tropical waters in several places worldwide.
One prime location to see manatees is in Florida, in places like 1 Weeki Wachee Springs, where the water is very clear and you can go kayaking with manatees. 2 Blue Spring State Park is another location known for its manatees. The early 2020s saw a decline in Florida's manatee population, likely due to the use of water craft for recreational use, and use of powered boats and jetskis should be avoided in waterways where manatees live, such as the St. Johns River.
The marshes and mangrove swamps of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula are home to many manatee populations. Manatee watching tours are available in popular resort areas like Tulum and Playa del Carmen, particularly in the 3 Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. The town of 4 Catazajá in Chiapas has a large lagoon that is famous for its manatees.
The closely related dugong lives in the waters of Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Australia.
Large sharks such as great whites and hammerheads can be found in oceans worldwide, except in the polar regions. However, they are low in numbers. They tend to concentrate in certain coastal regions where prey is easy to find.
"Shark dives" are popular in shark concentration spots worldwide. If the sharks are dangerous like great whites, you'll see them from inside a metal cage ("cage diving") to stay safe. For most other species, no cage is needed.
- 5 Gansbaai. Billed as the "Great White Shark Capital of the World", it has one of the world's highest concentrations of great whites, and cage diving is very popular here. Located in South Africa near Cape Town.
- 6 Guadalupe Island. Off the coast of Baja California. Another destination for great white cage diving.
- 7 Cocos Island National Park. Cage divers here can see hammerhead sharks and many other species, but not great whites.
- 8 Galapagos Islands. Cage divers can see hammerhead sharks and many other species.
- 9 Bahamas. You can see many tiger sharks at "Tiger Beach" off the coast of Grand Bahama, and hammerhead sharks off Bimini.
- New England. Off the coast of New England, near New York City and Boston, species like the mako and blue sharks can be seen. Despite the northern latitude, waters are relatively warm here due to the Gulf Stream. Tours depart from Montauk, Cape Cod, and other locations.
- 10 Neptune Islands. A popular cage diving location where it is possible to see great whites. Located off the cost of Port Lincoln, South Australia.
- 11 Osprey Reef. Part of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. Various sharks can be seen here, but not great whites.
- 12 Farallon Islands. Off the coast of San Francisco. Great white sharks often visit here, and "cage diving" is possible. However, many visitors report not seeing any sharks, due to low underwater visibility, and because the operators are not allowed to "chum" (use bloody fish as shark bait).
- The 13 Ningaloo Coast near Exmouth and Coral Bay is a world heritage site and various sharks can be seen here. As it's a subtropical area, the waters are fairly warm
- The 14 Coral Sea Marine Park just to the east of the GBR has plenty. Unfortunately, getting here is a little difficult
Generally, large sharks do not do well in captivity. It appears that no great white sharks or hammerhead sharks can be viewed in captivity. However, smaller sharks can be seen in some aquariums, as well as the whale shark.
- Main article: Whale watching
The Cetacea infraorder contains whales, dolphins and porpoises.