Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau

People protect what they love.
Jacques Yves Cousteau


Jacques Cousteau directs a diving craft’s launch in the late 1950s.

Who was Jacques?

 Born on June 11, 1910, in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, Gironde, Jacques Yves 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 “aqualung”  – the SCUBA tank and regulator – making underwater exploration accessible to scientists and the masses alike. He died on June 25, 1997.


Cousteau meets Calypso

In Malta, Jacques-Yves Cousteau discovered a former Royal Navy mine-sweeper that had been converted to a ferry and named Calypso. The ship was christened in 1942 but her first prosaic name, J-826, belied the exceptional life she would lead. To Cousteau, she was the ideal ship for his plan to explore the seas. Thanks to the financial help of Loël Guinness, the sale contract was signed on July 19, 1950. Calypso left immediately for the shipyard in Antibes, France, where she was transformed into an oceanographic ship and a new Calypso was born. One of her many innovations was the ” false nose “, or underwater observation chamber built around the prow and equipped with eight portholes for viewing.

Much of the equipment was donated by the private sector, including many companies, and the French Navy. Jacques Cousteau and his wife Simone also devoted a major part of their personal resources to the ship.

Jean Michel Cousteau

jean michel cousteaumichel cousteau

Cousteau is the son of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Simone Melchior. Cousteau first dived with an aqua-lung in 1945 when he was 7 years old. Although he went to school to study architecture, he became part of his father’s Cousteau Society, serving for twenty years as executive vice president before striking out on his own in 1993 to produce environmental films. Cousteau and his father had disagreed about the management and policies of the Society. Ocean Futures Society, a non-profit marine conservation and education organization, serves as a voice for the ocean by communicating in all media the critical bond between people and the sea and the importance of wise environmental policy. As Ocean Futures’ leader, Jean-Michel serves as an impassioned diplomat for the environment, reaching out to the public through a variety of media.

 The Miami & The Beaches Environmental Film Festival presented last Friday  The World Premiere of My Father, the Captain: My Life with Jacques Cousteau, presented by his son, Jean-Michel Cousteau.

adriana sassoon fabien cousteau

Fabien Cousteau & Adriana Sassoon at the Miami Beach Premiere My Father the Captain.

Eldest grandson of Jacques Yves Cousteau, Fabien continues the legacy and mission of exploration, media production, environmental advocacy and

Read this article:


jacques cousteau

My Father, The Captain:
My Life with Jacques Cousteau

by: Jean-Michel Cousteau
with Daniel Paisner

The more I look back on my father, Jacques Cousteau, and his legacy, the more I realize how much he is a part of our times and how, had we listened more carefully, things might be different.

He was a pioneer who broke barriers with his inventions, like the Aqualung and underwater cameras, but he was also a visionary in the sense that he understood the consequences of the trends he witnessed.  He foresaw the risks of nuclear technology and waste; he projected the devastating results of overfishing, overexploitation of habitat, and climate change; and he spoke consistently about population growth and the strain on the natural system.

Jacques Cousteau, along with my brother and I, founded one of the earliest environmental organizations to communicate the issues we were encountering and to educate an international audience.  He wrote the draft of “The Rights of Future Generations” for the United Nations as a vehicle to embody the principle of sustainability and responsible resource management.  He constantly exercised his brilliant intellect in the service of global solutions.  He never stopped until, in his words, he was “unplugged.”

He wielded another power that is rare—he poetically made sense of the incomprehensible and gave us each a way of looking at the world that made action possible. For example, on an isolated riverbank in the Amazon, just as we had released a rescued sea otter named Cacha, my father turned to me, full of emotion, and said, “Jean-Michel, people protect what they love.”  That became for me a motto of my father’s work and an emblem of the commitment we all must make to the world that surrounds us.

– Jean-Michel Cousteau

by Ocean Futures Society

Jean Michel, Fabien & Celine Cousteau