Black carbon (BC) is a byproduct of combustion from wildfires and fossil fuels and is a slow-cycling component of the carbon cycle. Whether BC accumulates and ages on millennial timescales in the world oceans has remained unknown. Here, we quantified dissolved BC (DBC) in marine dissolved organic carbon (DOC) isolated by solid phase extraction (SPE) at several sites in the world ocean. We find that DBC in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans ranges from 1.4 to 2.6 μM in the surface and is 1.2 ± 0.1 μM in the deep Atlantic. The average ¹⁴C age of surface DBC is 4,800 ± 620 ¹⁴C yrs, and much older in a deep water sample (23,000 ± 3,000 ¹⁴C yrs). The range of DBC structures and ¹⁴C ages indicates that DBC is not homogeneous in the ocean. We show that there are at least two distinct pools of marine DBC, a younger pool that cycles on centennial timescales and an ancient pool that cycles on >10⁵ year timescales.