Whether governed by the “freedom of the seas” doctrine or the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, states continue to engage in international maritime conflict, often with unlikely adversaries. What factors drive maritime conflict and what makes these conflicts unique? Maritime conflicts present a notable exception to democratic peace theory, the author argues. Most maritime conflicts are driven by three factors: the pursuit of living resources; the pursuit of offshore nonliving resources; and uncertain sovereignty over uninhabited islands or rocks. Climate change and pollution are likely to play increasingly significant roles in inspiring maritime conflict in coming years, as well.