Underwater legends every scuba diver should know!

Last updated: May 10, 2018 at 14:18 pm

This ongoing series features a non-exhaustive selection of pioneering men and women from all nationalities and fields of expertise. These legendary figures left such a mark in their respective fields that they would change the world of diving forever. Read their full biographies and discover hundreds more outstanding diving personalities in the Who’s Who chapter of the Diving Almanac & Book of Records.

Jacques-Y. Cousteau

Inventor and explorer; prolific author
and film producer; environmentalist;
co-inventor of the Aqua-Lung;
one of the Mousquemers along
with Frédéric Dumas and
Philippe Tailliez; inspired
thousands to become divers;
a.k.a. Captain Cousteau,
Captain Planet, JYC.


Hans Hass

Hans Hass was a diving and
underwater photography pioneer,
a scientist, explorer and an author
first published in 1939. He made
his first dive in 1937 and before
leading multiple expeditions
around the world aboard his
vessel the Xarifa. He
co-developed the Rolleimarin
underwater housing in 1949.


© Hans Hass Institute

Sylvia Earle

Dr. Earle (1935- ) is a scientist, author,
and underwater record holder. She has
logged over 7,000 hours underwater,
and she led the first team of women
aquanauts in 1970. She is an Explorer-
in-Residence for the National
Geographic Society and the leader
of Mission Blue. Dr. Earle is known
as "Her Deepness."

© Mission Blue


Philippe Tailliez

Captain Philippe Tailliez was a diving
pioneer and author who introduced
Jacques-Yves Cousteau to the sport
of goggle fishing in 1936. He was
one of the Mousquemers along
with Cousteau and Frédéric
Dumas and he conducted the
first archaeological excavation
on scuba in 1948.


Valerie Taylor

Mrs. Taylor (1936- ) is a pioneer
underwater explorer, a filmmaker,
an ocean conservationist, and a
photographer. She was the first
woman to film the white shark, the
first to dive with the white shark
without a cage, and she co-invented
the chain-mail shark suit. She was an
inaugural inductee of the Women Divers
Hall of Fame.


David Doubilet

© Jeffrey Gallant | Diving Almanac

David Doubilet is one of the world's most
famous underwater photographers,
a resident photographer for
National Geographic Magazine,
an explorer, and author.
He took first underwater
photos at age 12 using
an improvised
rubber housing.


Phil Nuytten

Dr. Phil Nuytten is sub-sea
engineer, commercial diver,
deep-sea explorer, author, and
a carver and native advocate
He designed the Newtsuit
and the Exosuit and he is the
publisher of DIVER Magazine.
He opened his first dive
business in 1958.


© Nuytco Research

Albert Falco

Albert Falco was a longtime
captain of Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s
flagship Calypso. He made his first
dive in 1942. He became the world’s
first multi-day aquanaut with
Claude Wesly in 1962 and he
was the first diver to pilot
the Soucoupe submersible.


Natalia Molchanova

Natalia Molchanova was a world
champion freediver that held 41
records in every competitive
discipline except No Limits (NLT).
She was considered by many to
be the world’s greatest freediver.
She disappeared while teaching
a freediving course off the coast
of Spain on August 2, 2015.


George Bass

© Institute of Nautical Archaeology

Known as the “Father of
Underwater Archaeology,”
Dr. Bass is a Professor emeritus,
a pioneer in marine archaeology,
and an author. He directed the
first complete archaeological
excavation of an ancient wreck
off Cape Gelidonya, Turkey,
in 1960.


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