The global struggle to understand the role of oceans in sustaining life will be the theme Tuesday night during the fifth annual Walter Cronkite awards ceremony in Edgartown.

The Cronkite awards will go this year to Sam Low, an Oak Bluffs author, filmmaker and photographer, and Sylvia Earle, the pioneering oceanographer and explorer who is the subject of a new documentary by Vineyard filmmaker Bob Nixon titled Mission Blue.

Replica of a thousand-year-old Polynesian voyaging canoe sailed the world to demonstrate ancient knowledge that allowed Hawaiians to live in balance with their natural resources. — Courtesy Sam Low

Mr. Low’s book, Hawaiki Rising – Hokule’a, Nainoa Thompson and the Hawaiian Renaissance, tells the story of a replica of a thousand-year-old Polynesian voyaging canoe that sailed the world to demonstrate ancient knowledge that allowed Hawaiians to live in balance with their natural resources. Published in May 2013, the book has won critical acclaim. An anthropologist, writer, photographer and filmmaker who contributes to the Vineyard Gazette and Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, Mr. Low lives year round in Oak Bluffs. He traces his family roots on the Vineyard to the 1800s.

Sylvia A. Earle is a renowned National Geographic Society explorer in residence who has logged thousands of hours underwater. Mr. Nixon is a Chilmark businessman and documentary filmmaker; the work to produce Mission Blue began in 2009 after Ms. Earle won the TED Prize and issued a plea urging people to use all available means to “ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas.”

Sponsored by the nonprofit Stone Soup Leadership Institute, the awards ceremony is a ticketed event with a suggested donation of $150. It will be held at the former home of Mr. Cronkite, the late CBS news anchorman who had summered on the Vineyard for decades. The home on the Edgartown harbor is now owned by Karen and David Brush, who said in a press release that they were honored to carry on the Cronkite legacy by hosting the event.

Speakers will be Bob Schieffer, moderator for Face the Nation and chief Washington correspondent for CBS news, and Christopher Callahan, dean of Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Ms. Earle's film Mission Blue will be shown Tuesday night on Menemsha Beach.

The Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative is a project of Stone Soup, headed by Marianne Larned of Edgartown.

Also on Tuesday night an outdoor screening of Mission Blue will be held at the public beach in Menemsha beginning at 8:30 p.m. A shuttle will be provided from Tabor House Road. The event is free and sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival.