10 Documentaries About the Ocean You Need to See

These ocean documentaries won't just teach you about the ocean, but inspire you to protect it.
ocean documentaries new focus films

Documentaries About the Ocean

you need to see


In this Netflix documentary, you’ll meet Sylvia Earle, who is a marine biologist and conservationist. She has been a pioneer in ocean conservation for over 50 years, starting with her work on the first US government-sanctioned team of female aquanauts to conduct research on the ocean floor during an 18-day stay below water in 1965.

Mission Blue also highlights the work of other brilliant oceanic researchers like Paul Watson and David Helvarg. The documentary was released in October 2018 and it’s not too late to catch up on what they’re doing!

2. Blue Planet II

Blue Planet II is the latest documentary series from BBC and it’s narrated by David Attenborough, so you know what to expect. It comes in at five hours long and was filmed in 4K Ultra-high-definition, making it the first nature documentary series filmed in such a resolution.

The series has been viewed by over a billion people and won two BAFTA awards (Best Cinematography and Best Special Visual Effects).

chasing coral ocean conservation documentary

3. Chasing Coral

Chasing Coral is an important documentary about the Great Barrier Reef, and it’s structured in a way that makes it easily accessible for people who aren’t familiar with coral bleaching.

The film begins by talking about the threat of coral bleaching in general. It then explains why this phenomenon is happening—namely, because of climate change. By showing how many other countries are dealing with this problem, it helps us understand that it’s not just Australia’s problem to solve alone. The next step is understanding how we can prevent further damage from occurring to our oceans’ ecosystems by giving them time to recover from environmental stressors like pollution and ocean acidification. Finally, we’re shown ways in which scientists are working on reversing current damage: studying coral skeletons so as to better understand what causes bleaching events; finding new ways for organisms like algae or fungi (which live within sea sponges) to protect themselves against rising temperatures; creating artificial reefs made from recycled materials; replanting damaged areas with juvenile corals instead of waiting around until adult corals grow back naturally (because adult corals take longer than juveniles).

4. Racing Extinction

Racing Extinction is a documentary film released in 2015. The film was directed by Louie Psihoyos and narrated by Mark Ruffalo. It focuses on endangered species, including sharks, whales and elephants, as well as their status within the context of climate change. The documentary follows activist and oceanographer Paul Watson as he attempts to save endangered animals from extinction.

ocean documentary

5. My Octopus Teacher

I would consider this to be a very interesting documentary about the relationship between a diver and an octopus. It is very moving and sad, but also very beautiful. For people who love nature documentaries, I would definitely recommend it!

6. A Plastic Ocean

A Plastic Ocean is a 2014 documentary that follows a crew of scientists as they conduct an expedition to study plastic pollution in the ocean. The team travels to various locations around the world and collects samples of water, which are then brought back to a lab for testing. These tests reveal high concentrations of microplastics in every location they visit, including remote areas that have not been heavily industrialized.

The film also explores what happens when plastic enters our waterways and ends up in bodies of water like rivers and oceans. It shows how many marine animals die due to ingestion or entanglement with plastics, illustrating how pervasive this problem has become worldwide. Finally, it discusses ways we can reduce our use of single-use plastics such as straws and bags so that future generations won’t have to deal with such problems on their own terms (or ours).

7. To The Arctic 3D

To The Arctic 3D is a documentary about the Arctic, shot in IMAX format. It was released in 2012 and focuses on two polar bears who are trying to survive and find food as a melting glacier that provides them with sustenance disappears.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Film (Live Action) at the 85th Academy Awards and was also one of five nominees for Best Documentary Feature at that same ceremony but lost both awards.

she is the ocean documentary

8. She is the Ocean

An exploration of nine amazing women from around the world who share a passion for the ocean.

It explores a variety of women within the context of ocean-lovers, including surfers and scientists and free-divers. It also shows how women are overlooked in many of these areas, but it won’t be for long. Women are making a valuable impact on education and inspiration, and to dismiss anyone based on gender is simply stupid.


9. Dolphin Reef

This is a documentary great to share your enthusiasm with your family. It’s a light-hearted film that will inspire anyone to care more about marine life.

Narrated by Oscar-winner, Natalie Portman, Dolphin Reef tells the story of a young bottlenose dolphin more interested in playing than learning essential survival skills.

This documentary, while a bit contrived in its narrative of a cute, relatable dolphin, it does a great job in delivering the message of how important all life is to the health of our reefs, and therefore the health of us all.

10. Seaspiracy

Made by the same team who created Cowspiracy and backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, this documentary reveals the impact humans have on the ocean with over-fishing.

After watching Seaspiracy, you’ll hopefully consider more deeply what you buy at the grocery store. It doesn’t mean you have to give up on seafood entirely, but you can choose with greater consideration, once you know more.

These documentaries won’t just teach you about the ocean, but inspire you to protect it.

For those who want to make a difference in this world, these films can show you how.

10 Documentaries About the Ocean You Need to See
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10 Documentaries About the Ocean You Need to See
The 10 best documentaries that will inspire you to care more about the ocean, no matter where you live.
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New Focus Films
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New Focus Films
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