The oceans cover seventy percent of the earth's surface and provide an important supply of food such as fish, shellfish and algae. Phosphates used as fertilizer for increased agricultural yield comes largely from the sea. Other raw materials, such as sand, gravel, oil or gas, are mined from the sea floor. In addition, energy derived from the sea now plays an increasing role (offshore wind energy, wave energy).

The seas and coastal regions not only provide a crucial supply of raw materials and serve as an important recreational region for many people, but they also influence weather and climate. Furthermore, they are subject to considerable human influence. Significant problems arise from over-fishing, acidification, and harmful pollutants. Oceans are therefore a main focus of scientific research. Specialized measurement systems are developed and utilised that can withstand specific challenges, including swell, pressure, cold, saltwater and heavy algae growth.

The observation and modelling system COSYNA (Coastal Observing System for Northern and Arctic Seas) describes the coastal water environmental conditions in the North Sea and in the Arctic. Ocean observations and data are collected while various measurement instruments and methods are employed.

The ESKP Photo Gallery provides a glimpse of instruments such as measurement buoys, radars, gliders, underwater nodes, and landers: