Oceanography, as a field and as a section, has over the last decade consisted of a disparate assemblage of interests united mainly by a generally academic orientation and a reliance upon the availability of ships for research. The field seems to be in a time of substantial if not profound change. The part of the change that commands most attention and concern is the evidence of shortages that are appearing. One shortage is that of the number of well-prepared graduate students, the root of the traditional academic system, entering the field. Another is the threat of a substantially diminished research vessel fleet.