There is a growing movement to involve young people in decision making for the marine environment, with a wider trend towards public participation and greater accountability of environmental governance. Young people will inherit the consequences of decisions made today. In this paper, the authors provide an initial exploration of young people’s views, awareness and participation (current and potential) in decisions and strategies for the marine environment, using Scotland as a case study. These discussions are based on the results of a survey of young people (aged 11–26) in Scotland, appraising levels of understanding and engagement with marine issues and exploring barriers to and opportunities for improved participation. This is set in the context of (a) the growth of local, national and global platforms for young people to express their views, and (b) the aspiration of many governments to empower the public, communities and young people in public decision making and marine stewardship. Education and ocean-literacy initiatives have a role to play, but there is also an aspiration for engagement mechanisms that accelerate a more fundamental rebalancing in public process to safeguard environmental integrity (and therefore economic and social well-being) for future generations. The authors conclude that marine planning, specifically the development of regional marine plans in Scotland, can provide a mechanism to integrate young people’s views and needs into marine decision making.