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Cousteau on the cover of Sanctuary WatchOn June 25, 1997, the ocean lost a great advocate—Jacques Yves Cousteau. Rather than mourn the loss, we choose to celebrate the inspiration he provided to many of us in the field of ocean conservation today.

Red Hat Day is now a National Marine Sanctuaries tradition. It’s a day to remember the wonderful films that gave us our first glimpses beneath the waves; the hypnotic, French-accented narrations that described the beauty of the underwater world; the new technology that made the ocean that much more accessible to future generations.

What do you remember most about Jacques Cousteau? How has he inspired your life?

Email us at if you'd like to share some thoughts or photos.

Below are some of the responses we've received to these questions as well as a few "red hat" photographs.

Click on a picture below to see a larger, hi-resolution image
Photo credits: FGBNMS
except where otherwise noted



A woman and a doll, both wearing red hats, doing a reef monitoring demonstration with a t-frame
Kelly Drinnen and visitor Abby demonstrated how researchers use a t-frame to take photos of the reef. This was part of a program held on Cousteau Day 2014.

A group of dive club members wearing red watch caps and holding a pirate flag
Houston's CHUM Club celebrated Cousteau at their June 2014 meeting in red hat style.
(Photo: CHUM Club)
A group of students, several wearing red caps, on board the R/V Manta
Students from the NABS Youth Educational Summit honored Jacques Cousteau on board the R/V Manta during their 2012 visit.
Kelly Drinnen wearing a red hat by a sanctuary display.
FGBNMS staff member Kelly Drinnen wore her red cap all day on June 25, 2012. It started some interesting conversations at lunch and at the NOAA Fisheries offices.
George Hanks wearing a red cap on a dive boat in North Carolina
Sanctuary volunteer George Hanks wore his red cap on a dive boat in North Carolina in 2012.
(Photo: George Hanks)

Jacques Cousteau




I just hear the National Geographic theme. Loved watching those shows. Was prime time family. Nothing like it today. -- Daniel

Jacques Cousteau and his programs made me much more aware of the ocean and the eco system many years ago. Thank you Jacques and all those who have followed in your footsteps. -- Helen

THANKS to JACQUES for my love of nature via his docs on TV in the 60s. -- Blanca

I read the book "Sea King". Jacques Cousteau was quite a character. The book was excellent. RIP. -- Nick

I think the best follower to J Cousteau is his son Pierre and imagine how proud his father would be of him. -- Marianne

weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Juvenile blue tang (fish).  Bright yellow body with irridescent blue marking around eye and at top edge of dorsal fin.
National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves