Ocean Exploration Pioneer
No story about ocean careers is complete without some mention of Jacques Cousteau. Specifically, his invention, with partner Emile Gagnan, of a self- contained system that made it possible to breathe for long periods of time underwater.
By inventing the "aqualung" in 1943, Cousteau changed forever how underwater exploration and work would be carried out. His invention set divers free to explore to depths of 100 feet and beyond. Before Cousteau, the only options available for undersea exploration were the diving bell and the helmeted diving suit, which severely restricted an explorer's movements.
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He opened up more of the Earth's surface to human kind than any other explorer in history. Through his books, films, and undersea explorations, the French explorer, inventor, photographer and filmmaker brought the oceans and all their life into the world's living rooms.
"We all owe a debt to Cousteau," said Susan Farady of Ocean Conservancy. "He inspired generations of marine biologists, teachers, explorers, divers and others who turned to the sea for a career."
To many people, he is a modern day guru who brought the undersea world to the public. His films inspired and educated generations, but none of that could have been possible without the invention that allowed divers to work freely underwater.
Today, his legacy is carried on by his son, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and by prominent ocean explorers like Robert Ballard and Sylvia Earle, and by many others who are working every day to promote a brighter future for our oceans.