The Bahamas’ coat of arms is a composition of things indigenous to these islands, while the motto “Forward Upward Onward Together” heralds to the direction and manner in which the Bahamian nation should move.
The crest of the arms, a light pink conch shell, symbolises the marine life of The Bahamas. The top of the crest is composed of wavy green palm fronds, symbolic of the natural vegetation. The Santa Maria, flagship of Christopher Columbus, appears on the shield of the coat of arms. Wavy barrulets of blue symbolise the waters of The Bahamas.
The shield is charged with a resplendent or radiant sun to signify the world-famous balmy resort climate, and it also connotes the bright future of these islands. A flamingo, the national bird, and a silvery blue marlin support the shield. The national motto is draped across the base of the coat of arms.
There was a national competition to produce the motto for the coat of arms, and the competition was won by two 11-year-old schoolchildren – Vivian F. Moultrie of Inagua Public School and Melvern B. Bowe of the Government High School in Nassau. Bahamian artist Hervis Bain prepared the preliminary design of the coat of arms.