Jacques-Yves Cousteau

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Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Jacques-Yves Cousteau (born June 11, 1910 in Saint-André-de-Cubzac near Bordeaux , † June 25, 1997 in Paris ) was a French , world-famous pioneer in marine research and its documentation with the film camera . A red woolen hat was his trademark in his films.


Cousteau's submersible SP-300 is launched

Two things fascinated the son of the lawyer Daniel Cousteau and his wife Élisabeth: the sea and flying . In 1930 he attended the naval school in Brest and in 1933 joined the French Navy , in which he served until 1956 and which he left with the rank of corvette captain . He contributed significantly to the development of the French gun divers . He had to give up his career aspiration as a pilot after a serious car accident.

In 1937 he married Simone Melchior , with whom he had two sons, Jean-Michel Cousteau and Philippe Cousteau , who in 1979 in a plane crash with a seaplane type PBY-6A Catalina died (N101CS).

After Simone Melchior's death in 1990, he married Francine Triplet (* 1946) in 1991, with whom he had a relationship and two illegitimate children from 1976 (Diane Elisabeth * 1979 and Pierre-Yves * 1981).

During the Second World War , Cousteau was a member of the Resistance and received the Legion of Honor in 1943 .

Even before, during and especially after the war, Cousteau was also fascinated by the world under water and occupied himself with the new and further development of technical devices.
1939 and especially in 1942, he used fins of Louis de Corlieu , underwater cameras Hans Hass, diving mask of which were first developed for lifeguards Maurice Fernez with check valve (of a rubber hose with surface air supply) and the pressure regulator for scuba tanks, patent "Le Prieur". Then he developed his own waterproof housing for his film camera and shot his first underwater film in 1942 . With Georges Commeinhes and the engineer Emile Gagnan he developed the diver and documentary filmmaker Hans Hass preconceived regulator Aqua Lung continue 1946th He developed the first scooter , a motorized means of transport under water, for the divers in the navy . This was followed by research submarines , including the famous diving saucer, as well as equipment for underwater photography , including a deep sea-compatible camera .

In 1950 Cousteau received a decommissioned minesweeper called Calypso from the Irish brewer Guinness , which was originally built in the USA for the British Royal Navy , and expanded it into a research ship. Its maiden voyage led to the Red Sea in 1951 . From then on, this ship made possible his expeditions to explore the sea. Between 1962 and 1965 he dealt with underwater projects under the name Conshelf .

The Calypso in April 1999 in the port of La Rochelle

He was President of the French Oceanographic Society and Head of the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of International Swimming in 1967.

Cousteau made over 100 films and wrote several books. In 1973 he founded the Cousteau Society for the Exploration and Protection of the Seas. He has received numerous awards and honors for his commitment. He and his team of divers discovered in 1976 in the Aegean Sea between the islands of Kea and Makrónissos at the position 37 ° 42 ′ 5 ″  N , 24 ° 17 ′ 2 ″  E, coordinates: 37 ° 42 ′ 5 ″  N , 24 ° 17 ′ 2 ″  E at a depth of 120 meters the wreck of the HMHS Britannic .

In the early 1980s, Cousteau had the Alcyone built. This ship has two cylindrical structures to support the screw drive , which function similarly to the Flettner rotors and provide around 25% of the propulsion power. The ship is still on its way for the Cousteau Society.

In 1996 the Calypso sank off Singapore after a collision. The ship, which was made afloat again, was first transferred to Marseille in 1996 and then to La Rochelle in 1998 . From November 2007 the ship was restored in a shipyard in Concarneau . Legal disputes prevented the completion of the work, which was suspended in 2009. In 2016 the ship was transferred to Istanbul to complete the renovation there.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau died in Paris on June 25, 1997.


  • John Denver wrote the popular song Calypso in recognition of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the crew of the Calypso .
  • Jean Michel Jarre named the 1990 album Waiting for Cousteau / En attendant Cousteau after Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the title Calypso after the ship.
  • The main character of the film The Deep Sea Divers is also based on Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
  • In honor of Cousteau, "Cap Rouge Day" takes place every year on June 11th.



  • with Frédéric Dumas : Le monde du silence. Éditions de Paris, Paris 1953.
    • The silent world. Advance of the fish men into a mysterious new deep world. Blanvalet, Berlin 1956.
  • with Yves Paccalet: La planète des baleines. Robert Laffont, Paris 1986, ISBN 2-221-04451-7 .
  • with Philippe Diolé: Haie. Splendid predators of the sea. Droemer-Knaur, Munich 1971, ISBN 3-426-03347-0 .
  • with Philippe Diolé: Calypso. Adventure of a research ship. Droemer-Knaur, Munich 1973, ISBN 3-426-00469-0 .
  • with Philippe Diolé: corals. Threatened world of wonders. Droemer-Knaur, Munich 1974, ISBN 3-426-00361-9 .
  • with Philippe Diolé: silver ships . Diving for sunken treasures. Droemer-Knaur, Munich 1975, ISBN 3-426-00407-0 .
  • with Philippe Diolé: whales. Endangered giants of the sea. Droemer-Knaur, Munich 1976, ISBN 3-426-00435-6 .
  • with Philippe Diolé: Squids. Wonderful world of the octopuses. Droemer-Knaur, Munich 1976, ISBN 3-426-00450-X .
  • with Philippe Diolé: seals, harbor seals, walruses. Sociable marine mammals. Droemer-Knaur, Munich 1977, ISBN 3-426-00492-5 .
  • with Philippe Diolé: Delphine. Intelligent friends of man. Droemer-Knaur, Munich 1978, ISBN 3-426-00537-9 .
  • with Susan Schiefelbein: L'homme, la pieuvre et l'orchidée. Robert Laffont, Paris 1997, ISBN 2-221-08523-X .
  • Man, the orchid and the octopus. Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-593-38564-8 .


  • Kathrin Schubert: Jacques Cousteau. Deep sea expedition. Frederking & Thaler, 2011.
  • Bernard Violet: Cousteau, une biography. Fayard, 1993.
  • Roger Cans: Cousteau, Captain Planet. Sang de la Terre, 1997.
  • Jean-Michel Cousteau: Mon père, le commandant. éd. L'Archipel, 2004.
  • Yves Paccalet: Jacques-Yves Cousteau dans l'océan de la vie. Lattès.
  • Tim Healey, Andreas Held (translator): Discoverer and adventurer. Row: Our 20th Century. Verlag Reader's Digest - Das Beste, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-87070-830-1 (with numerous illustrations)


Web links

Commons : Jacques-Yves Cousteau  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Cousteau's biography. In: Der Spiegel. 47/1989.
  2. The intoxication of the deep. In: Der Spiegel. 46/1953.
  3. ^ Jacques Cousteau - ocean researcher from welt.de.
  4. Jacques-Yves Cousteau died. In: Der Spiegel. 27/1997.
  5. worldoceansday.org: Cap Rouge Day ( Memento of the original from October 24, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / worldoceansday.org