TODAY IN HISTORY: Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s Birthday (June 11, 1910)
Born on June 11, 1910, in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, Gironde, Jacques Cousteau was a French naval officer who became one of the world’s greatest explorers, ecologists, filmmakers and scientists. His passion was the oceans of the world and the sea life in them, and he co-developed the modern SCUBA tank and regulator, making underwater exploration accessible to scientists and the masses alike. Jacques Cousteau liked to call himself an “oceanographic technician”. He was, in reality, a sophisticated showman, teacher, and lover of nature. His work permitted many people to explore the resources of the oceans.
Traveling around the world aboard his ship the Calypso, oceanographer and filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau made underwater exploration popular with his fascinating research and documentary films. He also collaborated on the invention of the first scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) device in 1943.
Born in 1910 in the village of St. Andre-de-Cubzac, France, Jacques Cousteau was the son of Daniel and Elizabeth Cousteau. Jacques Cousteau went on to join the French navy, hoping to become an aviator. Three weeks before the final exam, he was in a serious automobile accident that nearly cost him the use of his arms. As part of his rehabilitation, Cousteau once again took to a heavy swimming program, this time in the Mediterranean. During his recovery, he began to experiment with devices that would permit underwater breathing for prolonged periods. Over the next few years, he worked with Frederic Dumas and Emil Gagnan to produce the Aqua-Lung, the first underwater enabler or scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) device.
As SCUBA Divers we are so grateful.
Jacques Cousteau wrote a series of books about his undersea explorations, of which the most popular is the first publication called The Silent World: A Story of Undersea Discovery and Adventure. He adapted his book into an underwater documentary called The Silent World, which won the 1956 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
Sadly, Jacques Cousteau died on June 25, 1997.