Pierre-Yves Cousteau


President, Cousteau Divers

Environmental Consultant

Pierre-Yves Cousteau is CEO and founder of Cousteau Divers, a non-profit organization dedicated to uniting divers around the world to protect marine life. By uniting a global community of divers who are concerned about the marine environment, Cousteau Divers brings the legacy of Jacques Cousteau to life, empowering each diver as an agent of the study and conservation of marine life.

Pierre-Yves is the youngest son of the renowned explorer, author, and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. After co-inventing the breathe-on-demand valve for SCUBA diving, Jacques Cousteau led hundreds of marine expeditions, making three Oscar-winning documentaries. His pioneering television series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau promoted human understanding of ocean life and its intelligence, with Cousteau and his crew doing things never seen before, such as swimming with whales, caressing octopuses, and being pulled along by giant turtles. He was the first person to propose that cetaceans, such as whales and porpoises, use echolocation to navigate. The series ran for eight seasons, from 1968–76.  

In 1956, Jacques Cousteau released The Silent World, which introduced the undersea world to the general public for the first time, and which won the 1957 Academy Award for Best Documentary.  After the film’s release, there was huge demand for SCUBA equipment, as Cousteau had captured the world’s imagination and a great many people desperate for adventure were inspired to take up SCUBA diving. In 1960, Cousteau’s documentary The Golden Fish won the Academy Award for Best Short Film. In 1961 President John F. Kennedy presented the National Geographic Society’s Gold Medal to Cousteau. In 1985, on Cousteau’s 75th birthday, President Ronald Reagan presented him with America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. By the time of his death in 1997, his Cousteau Society, founded in 1973, had tens of thousands of members worldwide and was contributing significant scholarship to the study of underwater ecosystems.

Today, Pierre-Yves plays a large role in not only preserving his father's legacy, but continuing the work that he left behind. In addition to serving as president of Cousteau Divers — a branch of the Cousteau Society that gets people to actively participate in the study and protection of the environment — Pierre-Yves is a goodwill ambassador for the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which is the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, and a global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.