Dive into a world of wonder and adventure with our curated list of popular books about scuba diving and the ocean. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or simply fascinated by the mysteries beneath the waves, these captivating marine books are sure to transport you to the underwater world. Explore tales of daring underwater explorations, encounter enchanting marine life through vivid descriptions, and gain a deeper understanding of the fragile yet awe-inspiring ecosystems that make up our oceans.

Keep scrolling to discover our selection of the best scuba diving books. We’ve included books about scuba diving in general, the ocean and underwater world exploration.

Scuba Diving Best Sellers

Every year, PADI refreshes its list of the best gifts for scuba divers — but several of these best-sellers remain ever present. These popular books for scuba divers are also a great starting point for newcomers to the hobby or certified divers wanting a first book in the dive section of their home library.

scuba diving books fifty places to dive
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1. 50 Places to Dive Before You Die

Kindle or Hardcover

Through the pages of this beautifully presented destination guide, you’ll travel to 50 destinations chosen by some of the world’s top diving experts. Explore the Cayman Islands and Raja Ampat from the comfort of your sofa, while also taking in the “If You Go” suggestions for when it’s your turn.

scuba diving books hand signals
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2. Scuba Diving Hand Signals: Underwater Communication Pocket Companion

Kindle or Paperback

This comprehensive guide is the ideal aid for teaching and reinforcing hand signals in both new and experienced scuba divers. Discover more than 240 commonly used signals across eight categories.

dive atlas of the world best marine books
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3. Dive Atlas of the World: An Illustrated Reference to the Best Sites

Kindle or Hardcover

From wrecks to walls and caves to blue holes, this 300-page global guide is an easy way to immerse yourself in diving without having to touch the water. It is also written by experienced dive authors, meaning almost everything you read inside comes from first-hand experience.

divers guide to the world padi gear

4. National Geographic A Diver’s Guide to the World 

Exclusive Edition Signed by Author

This book is filled with stories, advice and pictures that can be enjoyed by anyone who loves travel and/or diving. Whether you’ve been in the hobby for years or are just looking to start, this one-of-a-kind, diver-specific guidebook offers relevant advice to make planning worldwide adventures a piece of cake.

Destination/activity combinations in the book include meeting manta rays in Komodo, exploring shipwrecks in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and diving with white sharks and whale sharks in Australia. Furthermore, at the book’s core is a message about conservation through exploration, so expect to learn more than just what dive-worthy activities can be found in a place.

The Best Books for Long Flights

Traveling to a faraway dive destination and have hours to kill? These novels about the ocean will have you lost in their pages before you know it. Don’t be surprised if you’re touching down sooner than you want to be with one of these page-turners in your hands.

marine books
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5. The Soul of an Octopus

Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover or Paperback

Learn about the remarkable superpowers of this often misunderstood cephalopod. The book is packed with fun facts and heartfelt stories and also comes in a special audio/visual edition for the Amazon Kindle.

deep diving book
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6. Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves

Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover or Paperback

On the surface this book seems like an introduction to the sport of freediving. While that is certainly true, what you’ll actually discover is something much more. This gripping read explores marine mammal superpowers and the limits of what may truly be accessible to us as humans. This is one of the best books on freediving for both experienced freedivers and everyday readers looking for an interesting page-turner.

best scuba diving books shadow divers
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7. Shadow Divers

Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover or Paperback

Jump into an engrossing true story about two divers who risk everything to solve a historical mystery. Join them as they brave strong currents, drop to fear-inducing depths, and figure out what caused a World War II German U-boat to be sitting sixty miles off New Jersey’s coastline.

the silent world best scuba diving books
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8. The Silent World: The International Bestseller by the Father of Underwater Exploration (National Geographic Adventure Classics)

Hardcover or Paperback

You can’t read about the underwater world for too long without coming across the name Jacques Yves Cousteau. Not only did he introduce millions to the wonders of the ocean, he was also one of the pioneers of the original scuba gear. Discover his early chronicled adventures in this international bestseller.

Scuba Diving Coffee Table Books

These books are great to have lying around your home or office. They are full of incredible images and can be dipped in and out of whenever you have time. Plus, they make great conversation starters.

secrets of the whales book save the whales padi gear

9. Secrets of the Whales

Exclusive Edition Signed by Author

Want to learn more about the world’s largest mammals? Then you need this book in your collection. The book covers a range of fascinating topics, including whales’ complex societies, amazing abilities and specialized techniques in both feeding and parenting. Additionally, these facts are all accompanied by eye-catching images from the award-winning photographer (and the author of the book), Brian Skerry.

shark book mike coots padi gear marine books

10. Shark: Portraits

Exclusive Edition Signed by Author

In Shark: Portraits, readers get to discover the real beauty of one of the world’s most misunderstood and unfairly maligned animals. Its author, Mike Coots, is someone who would have every right to fear sharks, having been attacked by a tiger shark as a teenager. However, instead of choosing to hate and fear them, Coots became one of their biggest advocates. In his book, which covers shark species from across the globe, Coots uses intimate images to show the real character of these wild animals. Think you know sharks? This book will definitely make you think again.

100 dives of a lifetime scuba diving book

11. 100 Dives of a Lifetime

Exclusive Edition Signed by Author

If you’re trying to make someone fall in love with the underwater world, this breathtaking read could be the way to do it. The book travels from the cenotes of Mexico to the wrecks of Micronesia, stopping off at 98 other outstanding dives along the way.

ocean global odyssey best marine books

12. National Geographic Ocean: A Global Odyssey


Sit back and relax as Sylvia Earle teaches you everything you ever wanted to know about the ocean. In addition to the beautiful side of the deep blue, Earle also deals with a number of the challenges it faces, including climate change, overfishing and plastic.

Children’s Books About the Ocean

A book about the ocean or marine life is a great way to inspire kids to care about the underwater world and spark curiosity for exploration. Try any, or all, of these fun and educational books.

cacu the brave turtle padi gear marine books

13. Cacu the Brave Sea Turtle

From the plight of hatchlings to ocean-wide migrations, the life of a sea turtle is rarely a dull affair. In Cacu the Brave Sea Turtle, readers join Cacu on her journey to Manresa beach, the place where she was born. However, on arrival at the beach, Cacu feels a mix of shock and fear — something is very different. Cacu must overcome the challenges she faces and quest to successfully perform one of the most important jobs in her life.

If this mix of story and education is something you enjoy, be sure to check out the other animal-centered stories available on PADI Gear.

if fish could talk marine books
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14. If Fish Could Talk


Honestly, what more do you need than the book’s title? The very idea of fish being able to talk would have us there and ready to listen to everything they had to say.

scuba diving books luminous finds her aura
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15. Luminous Finds Her Aura

Kindle or Paperback

This book introduces a range of underwater facts, features and places in a fun and engaging way. Plus, you’ll get to join Luminous the flashlight fish on her journey to self belief.

astronaut aquanaut book best marine books
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16. Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact


While space and the sea couldn’t be much further apart, this book teaches kids that they have a lot more in common than you might have guessed. The included STEM topics also make this a great choice for teaching kids at the same time as you’re entertaining them.

marine life book shark lady
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17. Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist

Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover or Paperback

Inspire kids (and adults) with the true story of how Eugenie Clark earned the nickname “Shark Lady” and helped teach the world to love these misunderstood creatures, rather than fear them.

Deep Dives into Ocean Exploration

These books are some of the best ocean exploration books on the market, but they definitely should not be classed as “light reads.” If you’re looking to dive deeper into topics that may interest ocean lovers, such as cephalopods, maritime history or whales, we highly recommend the books below.

other minds marine book amazon
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18. Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover or Paperback

Author, philosopher and scuba diver Peter Godfrey-Smith, explores a unique octopus community in Australia and shares some deep thoughts about the nature of consciousness as well as fascinating insights about cuttlefish, squid, octopuses and the ancient nautilus.

mystery of the last olympian book
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19. Mystery of the Last Olympian: Titanic’s Tragic Sister Britannic

Kindle or Paperback

Everyone knows about the fate of the Titanic. But do you know what happened to her sister ship, the Britannic? This is your chance to find out.

best marine books spying on whales
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20. Spying on Whales

Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover or Paperback

Discover everything you have ever wanted to know about the secret lives of these giant, intelligent creatures. From their evolution to their diet, this book contains plenty of whale-y interesting information.

Ready to Get in the Water?

Don’t be surprised if reading one of the best books for ocean lovers gives you the urge to don a wetsuit and get some first-hand experience for yourself. Whether it’s diving historic wrecks, learning how to freedive or observing marine animal behavior, simply get in touch with your local PADI Dive Shop and get your underwater story started.

What are some of your favorite books about marine life, the underwater world or scuba diving stories? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook.

NOTE: The Amazon links in this article are affiliate links. If you purchase one of the featured products by clicking a link in this article, the Amazon’s Associates commission earned will be donated to The PADI AWARE Foundation™.

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