Bookshelf: Diving science and physiology books

Sound boring? Doesn’t have to be. While your Divemaster instruction manual might make this stuff sound very dry, learning about what happens to the human body while breathing gas under pressure doesn’t have to be. Find some inspiration from this reading list when your theory gets too boring, or remind yourself of what you’re supposed to know already (if you’re a bit rusty).

For beginning divers:

Recommended reading for Divemaster candidates:

Scuba accidents and how to avoid them:

Bookshelf: (Dive) travel

Spread your wings, even if just to do some armchair travel, with this collection of dive travel books. Some are guides to particular regions of the world, and others will simply transport you to another place with prose and pictures. Your reading explorations start here.

Great Barrier Reef

Sri Lanka

Southern Africa

Red Sea

Europe

Global dive destinations

Bookshelf: Fish identification books

Your diving experiences will be immeasurably enhanced by the addition of one or two fish identification books to your library. Choose books that are appropriate to the region(s) you tend to dive in the most. There’s a lot to choose from here.

Cape Town

Southern Africa

Warm seas

Worldwide

Also check out Eye of the Shoal, not strictly about fish identification, but all about fish!

Bookshelf: Books about ships and shipwrecks

Who can resist a good shipwreck story? There’s a lot of choice in this selection of books about maritime catastrophes, discovery of lost wrecks, and efforts to prevent ships from coming to grief. Read on…

Shipping

South African shipwrecks

Shipwreck exploration

Ancient and pre-industrial shipwrecks

RMS Titanic

Modern shipwrecks

Those who prevent shipwrecks

Bookshelf: Books about sharks

Sharks! All about sharks! Get some actual, scientific facts here. You can dive as deep as you want into the subject – here’s a wide selection of shark books for you to choose from.

Living with sharks

Start here!

South African special interest

Shark biology

Shark research

Shark attacks

Shark photography

Bookshelf: Marine biology books

So many animals, so little time! Find a book about your special interest in this reading list.

Books on multiple species and ocean biodiversity

Books about cephalopods

Books about seabirds

Books dealing with specific species

Books about sharks (more shark books here):

Books about fish:

Books about turtles:

Books about whales and dolphins, captivity issues, and our attempts to study them:

Also check out the fish identification books!

Bookshelf: Oceanography and ocean history books

Are you interested in the physical processes of the earth’s oceans? Currents, waves, and how the oceans got to be the way they are? Fear not, I have just the reading list for you. Dig in!

Oceanography

Ocean history

Bookshelf: Extreme diving

Not for everyone, but definitely fun to read about… Here you will find accounts of dives to great depths, to shipwrecks and into caves, and dives pushing the limits of human physiology. Find a book about extreme diving in this lovely list.

Cave diving

Deep diving and technical diving

  • Raising the Deadcave diving tragedy at Boesmansgat
  • Fatally Flawed – reminiscences of deep cave diver Verna van Schaik
  • Deep Descent – diving the Andrea Doria
  • Shadow Divers – identifying a WWII submarine in the north Atlantic
  • The Last Dive living fast and loose as deep technical divers
  • Submerged – the memoir of Daniel Lenihan, who has worked around the world to preserve underwater heritage sites
  • Dark Descent – diving the wreck of the Empress of Ireland

Commercial diving

Freediving

Bookshelf: Photography and art

Do you want to look at pictures of marine life, learn how to take underwater photos, or make your coastal garden pretty (I admit, a bit of a leap)? Here’s a reading list to get you started.

Photographs of ocean-related subjects:

Photographs of marine life:

General underwater photography:

Art (this book is really unclassifiable!):

Making your surroundings beautiful:

Bookshelf: Diving adventures

Here’s a reading list of diving adventures, old and new, spanning all kinds of diving. From Arthur C. Clarke’s chronicles of diving the pristine Great Barrier Reef and Sri Lanka several decades ago, to more modern accounts of wreck diving around the world, you’ll be sure to find something that meets your reading requirements here. Get set for an armchair diving adventure of note!

Travelling divers and interesting lives:

Maniacs (some admirable!):