Unmanned marine vehicles (UMV) play an increasingly important role in marine observation technology. Many developed countries have invested considerable efforts and funds for the research and application of UMV. It is affirmed in this paper that a kind of UMV with all-weather and high cruising abilities is a hotspot and future highlight of marine equipment development, especially in the recent 5 years. According to the platform features, the UMV with high cruising ability can be divided roughly into two main classes: the long- range autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) series and underwater glider series. This paper reviews the development history and status of UMV for marine observation at home and overseas combined with common problems, presents a prospect for their development trends, and briefly discusses the key technologies in UMV future development.