As populations worldwide are struggling out of the COVID crisis, the coast and the open sea never looked so appealing to individuals and their families as a free breathing space. But this crisis should not let us forget that the ocean is under unprecedented pressure from the cumulative effects of the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and further degradation from human activities. The sustainable development of marine planning in Europe requires partnerships and collaborations that cross sectors, disciplines and scales in order to address the complexity of these multiple global and local challenges. A participatory and inclusive approach was adopted and advocated by the EU-funded H2020 SOPHIE research partnership in the recently published Strategic Research Agenda for Oceans and Human Health in Europe. The newly launched Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) on oceans and human health showcases how deeply interconnected the health of people and the marine environment are. It outlines vital research priorities, and new collaborations and partnerships needed to inform policies and practices to protect the health of seas, oceans and people.