A 1930 graduate of the Naval School, Jacques-Yves Cousteau left the French Navy in 1957 with the rank of corvette captain after having organized, with Philippe Tailliez, the French Navy’s underwater study and research group.
By 1936, Cousteau was testing several prototypes of breathing apparatus. In 1943, with Emile Gagnan, he invented and manufactured the one-piece com¬pressed-air diving suit that made it possible for man to explore the sea.
To many, Jacques-Yves Cousteau is forever connected with the Calypso, that former minesweeper built in the United States and converted into an oceanographic research ship in 1950. In 1951,with André Laban, he perfected under-water television equipment before setting off on many fruitful scientific cruises: to the coasts of Greece, the Black Sea, the Atlantic, and the Indian Ocean, then the three-and-a-half-year voyage across the Atlan¬tic, the Pacific, and the Bering Strait. He undertook the excavation of an old wreck off Marseilles and conducted various experiments with “houses under the sea” off Mar¬seilles and in the Red Sea, where six men spent three weeks at a depth of 330 feet.
Captain Cousteau also made marvelous films of under-water life, which involved unprecedented and daring feats. He helped the public learn of the life of sharks, whales, and dolphins, making them a little better acquainted with the enchantment of the underwater world.