This survey across several European countries explores the values, concerns and aspirations of individuals regarding the marine environment. The policy agenda in Europe is moving forward as a result of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive; for planning and maritime development; through the Integrated Maritime Strategy; and in reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. Concerning the oceans, the views of communities across Europe are relatively unknown. While the positions of organised stakeholder groups are captured through responses to policy consultations, the opinion of the 'person in the street' is difficult to include in the decision making process. Yet, crucially, it is the collective choices made by communities in the resources they use, the places they visit, and live in that drive many pressures on the marine environment. Public viewpoints on the oceans will play an important (if yet undetermined) role in supporting reforms such as marine planning, the large scale deployment of marine renewables, and marine protected areas that have considerable social and economic consequences. Understanding the perspective of communities will be critical in how the policy process unfolds.