With a coastline that stretches some 3000km, together with the Prince Edward Islands, South Africa brings together 3 ocean basins and holds a deep relationship with, and reliance on, the ocean. The country’s team of 23 researchers are investigating four interlinked themes of knowledge, policy, legislative reform and the democratisation of benefits in ocean management. Bringing together legal, ethical and environmental dimensions with human emotional and sensory engagement, the research seeks to examine, from new perspectives, issues such as the impacts of marine and coastal mining, transparency of the inshore coastal recreational fisheries and fisheries management. Through biodiversity surveys and the sampling of slope, abyss and seamounts, we seek to inform the national Marine Ecosystem Classification and advance shallow and deep water (technical and scientific) research capacity to support informed ocean decision-making. Supporting the team are intellectual property (IP) experts in the maritime environment as well as transdisciplinary, South-South and diversity mainstreamed dialogues to advance trans-fluency, equity and diversity in oceans research and management.