Oceanography is a young science, close to its historical roots, but it's maturing fast as “state-of-the-art” technology and computer-aided numerical modeling play an increasing role. Our ability to obtain, process, and analyze enormous volumes of data would stun an oceanographer of the 1930's. (I hope he would be equally impressed by the quality of modern data.) The Third International Congress on the History of Oceanography and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) were both held in September 1980 at WHOI; and both events were taken as an opportunity to improve our understanding of the past and present of oceanography, and future of the ocean sciences with the thought that we could thereby better influence future trends.