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What’s the world’s best ocean? An objective and evidence-based ranking

A few years ago, “Which is the best ocean on the planet” would have seemed like a meaningless question. It’s easy enough to identify the world’s biggest ocean (the Pacific), or the warmest (Indian), or the most conveniently located for the Piccadilly line (the Atlantic, unless you change at Heathrow). But the best? There’s no such thing, right?

Wrong. That’s because it’s 2016, Facebook is a thing, and a significant chunk of the world’s population now has access to a single platform on which they can enjoy cat pics, share memes, and rate large bodies of water.

So, here are the world’s five oceans, objectively ranked from worst to best according to their Facebook scores.

5th. Indian Ocean – 4.3 stars

A surprisingly poor showing for the body of water which contains such holiday destinations as the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius. (That a rating of 4.3 gets you last place is a reflection, perhaps, or just how many fans the bounding main has around the world.)

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Why does it score so badly? Sam Sam has a theory:

That’s not one, but two, strikes against the Indian Ocean. No wonder it’s struggling.

(Incidentally, it was actually quite hard to find the page for this one among the sea of Indian restaurants, travel businesses and other such things that Facebook wants to direct me towards instead. There’s also the page for the band Indian Ocean, which Wikipedia informs me are “widely recognized as the pioneers of the fusion rock genre in India”. Don’t say we never teach you anything.)

4th. Arctic Ocean – 4.4 stars

The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world’s five major oceans, but that hasn’t stopped it from picking up fans.


Its page has also attracted this single issue campaigner, who has posted this exact comment rather a lot, actually.

3rd. Pacific Ocean – 4.6 stars

The Pacific is the largest, and arguably the most famous, of the world’s oceans. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, it attracts a better quality of reviews:


Although this one’s a big baffling.

Oh hang on, there’s our old mate Swapna again:

No idea.

2nd. Atlantic Ocean – 4.7 stars

Just pipping the Pacific into second place is its old rival, the Atlantic. The latter may be smaller – but, for the users of Facebook, it’s also 0.1 stars better.

The reviews seem to reflect this:

Although not everyone is impressed:

And this one frankly raises more questions than it answers:

And so, finally, we are in a position to answer the question we posed at the outset of this watery odyssey: which is the world’s best ocean? By a process of elimination, it can only be

1st. Southern Ocean – 4.8 stars

Also known as the Antarctic, the Southern Ocean is generally thought to be the world’s coldest. That has not held it back in the ratings, though, and it’s currently toping the charts, with 4.8 stars.

Exactly where the ocean ends, though, is a matter of some controversy:

Quite so, Julie. As CityMetric readers know, boundaries are a serious business.

Will the Southern Ocean retain its crown? It’s attained its high rating based on just 18 ratings – far fewer than the 121 for the Atlantic, 406 for the Indian and 828 for the Pacific.

So tactical voting could yet knock it off the top. Atlantic Ocean fans – you know what to do.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @jonnelledge.

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