List of undersea explorers

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This is a list of amateur and professional explorers of the oceans, including Archaeologists, Treasure hunters, Biologists, Marine Geologists, Geophysicists, Ocean Engineers, Oceanographers, Submersible Designers, Pilots of Submersibles, Cave Divers, Cavers, and Speleologists, and First Generation Diving Safety Officers.

Archaeologists and treasure hunters[edit]

E. Lee Spence, noted pioneer underwater archaeologist, author, editor, and discoverer of the Hunley.
Marine archaeologists (also known as maritime archaeologists) are persons working in the discipline of Marine Archaeology (also known as maritime archaeology) and study human interaction with the sea, lakes and rivers through the study of vessels, shore side facilities, cargoes, human remains and submerged landscapes. One speciality is underwater archaeology, which studies the past through any submerged remains. Another specialty within maritime archaeology is nautical archaeology, which studies vessel construction and use.
Treasure hunters sell the artifacts (cannons, bottles, coins, specie, bullion - also known as treasure) they find on shipwrecks and, when proficient at archaeology and working within the law, they are the capitalists of marine archaeology. Treasure hunters without proficiency in archaeology and salvaging historical artifacts without government permits are looters.[1]


Jacques-Yves Cousteau, co-inventor of the aqua-lung, is well known for popularizing marine biology.
Marine biology, or Biological oceanography is the study of the plants, animals and microbes (biota) of the oceans and their ecological interaction.

Source: List of biologists.

Marine Geologists and Geophysicists[edit]

  • Robert Ballard (born 1942)
  • Kathryn D. Sullivan (born 1951), Marine Geologist, Astronaut, Formally: Chief Scientist of NOAA, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction and Deputy Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Currently (4 June 2013) serving as Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting NOAA Administrator.


Oceanography (from the greek words Ωκεανός meaning Ocean and γράφω meaning to write), also called oceanology or marine science, is the branch of Earth Sciences that studies the Earth's oceans and seas. It covers a wide range of topics, including marine organisms and ecosystem dynamics; ocean currents, waves, and geophysical fluid dynamics; plate tectonics and the geology of the sea floor; and fluxes of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries. These diverse topics reflect multiple disciplines that oceanographers blend to further knowledge of the world ocean and understanding of processes within it: biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology, and physics.

Submersible Designers and Pilots[edit]

Cave Divers (Cavers and speleologists)[edit]

Cave diving is one of the most challenging and potentially dangerous kinds of diving and presents many diving hazards. Cave diving is a form of penetration diving, meaning that in an emergency a diver cannot ascend directly to the surface due to the cave's ceilings, and instead may have to swim horizontally. The underwater navigation through the cave system may be difficult and exit routes may be at considerable distance, requiring the diver to have sufficient breathing gas to make the journey, resulting in potential deep diving risks.[2]

First Generation Diving Safety Officers[edit]

A Diving Safety Officer (DSO) is a person (typically a University Official) appointed by an institution's responsible administrative officer or designee. He or she must be trained as a scientific diver, be a full member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences and be an active underwater instructor from an internationally recognized certifying agency. He or she is responsible, for the conduct of the scientific diving program of the institution, including the conduct of training and certification, approval of dive plans, maintenance of diving records, and ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations.

This organizational structure goes back to the model developed at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the early 1950s. The model spread from there to the other campuses of the University of California, then to other California institutions and then nationwide. It served as the model accepted by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences and OSHA.

Those individuals who were part of the first generation of Diving Officers often had the opportunity to participate in many different undersea exploration programs and made singular contributions to those programs as well as the world of diving and submersibles.


  1. ^ Ethics in Underwater Archaeology (Capitalism versus Socialism in Underwater Archaeology) by E. Lee Spence
  2. ^ "Cave diving - Hazards." Oneness Commitment. 1 1 <>.
  3. ^ Burgess, Robert F. (1999). "To the Cellars of the Sea". The Cave Divers. Locust Valley, New York: Aqua Quest Publications. pp. 154–166. ISBN 1-881652-11-4. LCCN 96-39661.


  1. ^ Kurson, Robert (2015). Pirate Hunters. Random House. ISBN 9781400063369.