1988 saw the formation of a new scientific society for oceanographers, The Oceanography Society. Modeled on other disciplinary societies like the American Meteorological Society and the American Astronomical Society, the goals of the Oceanography Society are to strengthen communication among oceanographers, to develop and disseminate knowledge of oceanography, and to provide recognition of the achievements of oceanographers. Aimed at serving all disciplines of ocean sciences including applications and technology, the new society had more than 1800 members by the end of the past year.

The Oceanography Society has come about because of the recognition by oceanographers of the need for a body to focus on oceanographic issues, which are becoming more and more important for our nation. Oceanography as a field of science has been immensely helped by publications, meetings and other efforts by supporting societies such as the Ocean Sciences Section of the American Geophysical Union, the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, the Marine Technology Society, and the American Meteorological Society. At the same time, there is recognition that oceanography needs a voice of its own, and that a society of ocean scientists can fruitfully exist alongside a national union representing the broader interests of all of the geophysical sciences.