Amazing Ocean documentaries to watch in lockdown

Romina Bayer

Are you also still stuck without being able to travel and go scuba diving? Here are some of my favorite ocean documentaries to get you inspired, thinking, and sometimes (ok, most of the time) even crying. So get comfy on the sofa and let the marathon begin.

Racing extinction

Probably my favorite. Louie Psihoyos, photographer and documentary film director also known for ‘The Cove’, highlights some of the world’s most endangered species with the help of conservationists and artists such as Shawn Heinrichs.

Racing Extinction was a deal-breaker for me. It was the documentary that led me to the decision to quit my job in Germany and move somewhere to the ocean and help make a difference. If that movie doesn’t get you thinking, then I don’t know what will.

Mission Blue

Mission Blue is following famous oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle on her mission to protect our oceans. It highlights some of the threats our oceans are facing, including overfishing, pollution, and climate change. A very inspiring documentary with one of my ocean heroes.

Blue Planet 1&2

Okay, probably you have seen it already. But even if you have, you can always watch Blue Planet again. Because who could get enough of Sir Attenborough?

BBC’s acclaimed series is not only full of spectacular images but also offers lots of insights into the marine environment. The first episode of Blue Planet was released in 2001 and Blue Planet 2 came out in 2017.

A Plastic Ocean

This award-winning documentary explains what happens to plastic once it enters the ocean. ‘A Plastic Ocean’ makes you understand how all of us are affected by the tons of plastics floating in our oceans, even if you live far from the sea. It’s time to change our habits, I say.


Dolphinariums and sea parks like SeaWorld are (for some reason) still a thing. Blackfish is a heart-breaking documentary about Tilikum, an orca that was held captive at SeaWorld for many years. The movie shows what happens behind the scenes of places like those and shows how shocking animals in captivity are being treated.

Be ready for more tears.

Sharkwater and Sharkwater Extinction

Probably the must-see documentary about sharks. Filmmaker and conservationist Rob Stewart sheds a light on the probably most misunderstood marine creatures.

Sharkwater (Rob Stewart’s first film) brought worldwide attention to the issue of shark finning and has inspired millions of ocean conservationists. The second film, Sharkwater Extinction, follows Rob as he exposes some of the illegal fishing industry around sharks. If you haven’t seen it yet, you definitely should.

Tales by Light

Let’s end with something positive. After all those tears and frustration, you have clearly deserved that. The series “Tales by Light” gives you the story of some of the most incredible photographers and allows you a peek on what happens behind the lens. It gives you a unique perspective on some breath-taking images and lets you see the story behind those pictures.

The show is not a purely marine-photography series, but amazing photographers such as Darren Jew (Season 1, Episode 1) and Shawn Heinrichs (Season 3, Episode 2) are starring in the show and share some of their incredible underwater stories.

Dream now, travel later

I really hope you can still look on the bright side after watching all those movies and series. Even if we are not able to take a plunge yet ourselves and need to patiently wait until we are finally able to go on our next dive vacation, at least we can dream about it already. And sooner or later, travel restrictions will be lifted…

Do you have any other favorite documentaries on marine life or the ocean? I’d love to hear about them! Let me know in the comments!

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