The Best Scuba Diving Books 2024

By Julius
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Everyone loves to read about their hobby. Scuba divers are no different in this regard.

However, many books about diving are either course manuals of the different training agencies or seem to be outdated.

In this article, you will find the best scuba diving books that I recommend in 2024!

I will try to keep this list of scuba diving-related books updated as best as possible throughout the year. I have not included any books of training agencies as you probably know them already anyway.

Use the table of contents to jump to a section and read more about it! If you are in a hurry, buy them online directly on the right.

  1. The Silent World – Jacques Cousteau Biography 50th anniversary
  2. Diver Down: Real-World SCUBA Accidents and How to Avoid Them
  3. 100 Dives of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Underwater Destinations
  4. Dive Atlas of the World
  5. The Life and Love of the Sea
  6. Reef Fish Identification Tropical Pacific 2nd Edition
  7. Deco for Divers
  8. Doing it Right: The Fundamentals of Better Diving
  9. The Boys in the Cave: Deep Inside the Impossible Rescue in Thailand
  10. Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
  11. Scuba Diving Without Fear

General scuba diving books

This section covers the best scuba diving books in the “general” section. They don’t fall under a specific category but cover diving in general.

Scuba Diving Without Fear

Become a better diver, learn to dive without fear, and enjoy your dives way more!

Scuba Diving without Fear

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This list would not be complete without mentioning my very own scuba diving book!

Scuba Diving Without Fear is 150+ pages full of tips, tricks actionable advice, and proven strategies on how to overcome scuba diving fears and any fears in general!

I wrote it as I was getting more and more messages by people telling me of things that had happened to them before or during diving.

Some were accounts of how they finally got the courage to try out diving after reading my articles. On the other hand, I get a couple of messages each week asking for my advice to those who are afraid to dive or experienced something bad on a dive.

Jacques Cousteau’s biography

A must-read for every Jacques Cousteau fan and ocean lover.

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Every scuba diver knows the name, Jacques Cousteau.

If you want to read more about him and his exciting life, check out the 50th-anniversary version of The Silent World: The International Bestseller by the Father of Underwater Exploration released under the National Geographic Adventure Classics.

It chronicles Cousteau’s early days as an underwater adventurer and is a fascinating read for any diver out there. Biography lovers and ocean enthusiasts alike will love this book!

Diver Down

Diver Down
4.0 / 5

Exciting and with more than a handful of learnings even for experienced divers.

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Diver Down: Real-World Scuba Accidents and How to Avoid Them might sound like the absolute worst thing to read as a scuba diver. However, the opposite is true.

Instead of spreading fear of diving, Michael R. Ange uses real diving accidents to point out how to avoid them.

True stories that are meant to make you think before you dive. While I recommend this book to certified divers primarily, you can check it out even if you are a beginner.

It will show you why your instructor will teach you certain things and why you should pay attention.

A great little read before your next dive adventure and a fun present for a fellow diver. Check it out!

100 Dives of a Lifetime

Some of the best dives in the world curated into one beautiful book.

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If you are looking for some inspiration on where to go diving next, 100 Dives of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Underwater Destinations is a great choice for you!

What’s really nice about this book is that all the places and dives are accessible to anyone. That means you will not have to be an incredibly experienced diver or spend a fortune to get in at least a few of these dives.

There are some great images in this one, although they do not come close to some of the other National Geographic photo books out there. However, they will also cost you at least two to three times as much as this one, so this makes for a great gift, too.

Dive Atlas of the World

If you want to make a bucket list of dives, this will give you plenty of inspiration.

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The Dive Atlas of the World: An Illustrated Reference to the Best Sites from 2016 is another travel bestseller that is great for inspiration, or as a gift or table book in a scuba diver household. Moreover, it will get you into a travel mood right away!

On 300+ pages it illustrates the best dive sites from regions across the world.

It offers descriptions, photos, and depth charts for a lot of different places. As such it is a great starting point for deciding where your next dive vacation should go or just browsing the hundreds of great photos.

As traveling is something every diver loves, this is definitely among the best scuba diving books, so check it out.

What it doesn’t offer is an in-depth analysis of how to conduct each dive. It also will not give you a clear dive plan for each site.

All in all, it is a great present for all scuba divers and those who aspire to become one!

Books about marine life

Group of dolphins underwater
The Dive Atlas features a lot of super cool diving photos!

Our list of the 10 best scuba diving books has to include a section about marine life, of course. While many divers cherish mysterious wrecks or going as deep as possible, others find the most joy in observing and identifying fish.

The Life and Love of the Sea

One of the most beautiful books for underwater images.

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If you are anything like me, you love looking at beautiful underwater images.

The Life and Love of the Sea by Lewis Blackwell offers exactly that. 200+ pages full of stunning images and explanations of what you see.

This is not meant to help you identify certain fish or other animals on your next dive but to appreciate nature and the sea even more. One of the best books for divers or those who want to become one and a great gift, too.

It is also a nice reference for amateur underwater photographers who would like to see how the pros capture images and emotions in their work.

Check it out below and let us know what you think!

Reef Fish Identification: Tropical Pacific

Colorful and super fun.

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The next book on our list is Reef Fish Identification: Tropical Pacific in its 2nd edition. The first one from 2010 was already very nice, but this 500+ page compendium is one of the best out there.

It covers all the tropical reef fish an amateur photographer could be looking for and then some.

Despite its dated looks on the exterior, it’s still a great read and very helpful for fish identification.

It goes together well with our Underwater Environment Care specialty course, too, and is an indispensable helper for every underwater photographer.

Digital nomad working next to pool
Reading is a great way to get away from work and electronics for some time.

Books for Tech-Diving

No list about the 10 best scuba diving books [current-year] is complete without mentioning something for the technical diving enthusiasts and trimix divers.

Technical diving books are often more, well…, technical in nature and require a little more background knowledge than mainstream ones.

Deco for Divers

A deep dive into the world of technical diving. A must read for those who dare.

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The first book on the list is Deco for Divers by Mark Powell. It is often viewed as the first definitive book of technical and mixed-gas diving. It is a little hard to come by nowadays, however, the author released a new book last year.

Some info is not 100% accurate anymore as there have been many advances in computer and algorithm technology.

Nevertheless, this one will introduce you to the world of decompression diving and help you understand the basics. From algorithms to introduction to gas management, Mark Powell introduces the reader to many facets of the sport of technical diving.

Easy to read, never boring, and written by a recognized author in the field. 

Any edition of this book is fine, however, this is the latest one:

Doing it Right (DIR)

If you want to do diving the “right” way, this book should be on your reading list.

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If you want to get into the exciting world of technical diving, Cave Diving, or simply become a better diver in general, Doing it Right: The Fundamentals of Better Diving by GUE founder Jarrod Jablonski is worth a read!

The DIR principle is a holistic approach to conducting dives, setting up your dive gear, and acting as a dive group underwater. It values perfect dive skills and one equipment setup above everything else.

It became popular after being used by the WKPP while exploring and mapping caves in Florida.

Even if you don’t adapt or even like their equipment setup and approach to diving, this is a must-read for any serious diver! Not only does it contain a lot of food for thought on dive gear and approaching diving as a whole.

It has also been written by a record-breaking cave diver who is well respected in the diving community.

At the very least you will know what the DIR hype is all about. Check it out on Amazon below. I know, the cover isn’t super modern but never judge a book by its cover!

Best Non-Fiction Diving Books

Everybody loves a good story. Even more so when they are true! Some of the best scuba diving books are non-fiction tales of explorers, rescues, and even tragic incidents.

They will keep you on your toes but also make you think about your own diving and the risk you might or might not be willing to take.

The Boys in the Cave

Based on a true story that shook the world, this should be on your list if you want to read about an incredible rescue mission.

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Everyone remembers the Thai boys trapped in a cave in 2018. The Boys in the Cave: Deep Inside the Impossible Rescue in Thailand by ABC News Chief National Correspondent Matt Gutman tells their story in an adventurous, yet serious enough manner to do the rescue and those involved justice.

It gives an inside look at the rescue mission that gripped the world for weeks. From the start of the rescue until the end, Gutman explains the intricacies of the mission and everything that came with it.

This is a fascinating read even for non-divers and makes for a great present or vacation read. You will definitely read it to the end and have something to talk about on your next dive trip, too!

Shadow Divers

Adventure, filled with history and exciting throughout.

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The next one on the list is among the most popular and best scuba diving books of all time.

Its title is essentially a summary of what the book is about: Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson.

This is a fascinating read on the German WW2 submarine U-869 and the quest of a group of divers to identify it off of the coast of New Jersey. Again, this is a great read not only for scuba divers but anyone interested in history.

It tells the story of how the wreck was discovered by a group of divers, and how their lives are affected by trying to uncover its secret. This includes friendship, broken marriages, depression, and even death. Absolutely, another must-read for any diver out there! 

Check it out on Amazon below for the current price! By the way, The Last Dive tells the story of two of the divers who died during the exploration and might also interest you!


I hope you found something that you liked in this list of the best scuba diving books in 2024. If you did get one of these, let me know what you thought!

Also thank you again if you click on a link before purchasing as this helps to keep this site up and running!

If you believe I missed a must-read or are completely disappointed in one of my suggestions, leave a comment here or on social media!

If you are looking to buy something for a fellow diver, check out the best gifts for scuba divers that I recommend.

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Always dive with friends and happy bubbles. 😃



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About the author

Hey! I'm Julius, professional scuba instructor, diver, outdoor lover, entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Social Diving. I write about scuba diving (including tech, cave, sidemount, and freediving), travel, and love what I do. If you have any questions, send me a message. :-)

©2024 Social Diving. All rights reserved. The content presented here is the exclusive property of Social Diving and may not be copied or distributed, in whole or in part, without the express permission of Social Diving.

Social Diving is your #1 online source for scuba diving, scuba travel, water sports, learning, and having fun in and under water. We have scuba online articles, review plenty of (scuba) gear, and regularly post travel guides around the world.


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