Have you ever been scuba diving? Today we remember famous oceanographer and explorer Jacques Cousteau, who was born on this day in 1910. A pioneer of marine conservation, Cousteau studied all forms of life in the water and documented his extensive investigations in books and films.
Jacques-Yves Causteau was born in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France to Daniel and Elizabeth Cousteau. In 1930, he entered the French naval academy and graduated as a gunnery officer. However, a serious car accident brought his naval aviation career to an end. During his rehabilitation from his accident, Causteau took to swimming. Cousteau always had a lifelong fascination with water. The first time he put on a pair of goggles during his daily swim, he became fascinated with understanding the underwater world.
During World War II, Cousteau began experimenting with underwater filmmaking. He met French engineer Emile Gagnan who shared his interests and together they developed gear to remain underwater longer. In 1943, they developed the Aqua-Lung, the first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus or scuba.
Cousteau’s underwater documentaries introduced an entirely new world to the general public. He produced over 120 specials and documentaries and wrote more than 50 successful books about life underwater. He became a vocal advocate for the protection of oceanic wildlife and their habitat.
On June 25, 1997, Cousteau died of a heart attack, two weeks after his 87th birthday. He was buried in the family vault in Saint-André-de-Cubzac.
Explore Jacques Cousteau’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re connected to the oceanographer!
Image: Wikimedia Commons