The Cousteau Society
“Custodians of the Sea
“The more we dived
with the aqualung the
more we feared a
The story of the Aqua-Lung goes back to World War II.
In 1942, on a small beach of the Riviera, Jacques-Yves
Cousteau, wearing rubber fins, shouldered the new
completely autonomous diving gear.
During the war, Engineer Emile Gagnon invented a
demand regulator that would feed cooking gas to a car’s
carburetor in the exact amount the jet needed.
In 1943, Cousteau and Gagnon modified the first modern
demand regulator. Cousteau makes it the crowning piece
of his Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
(SCUBA), the Aqua-Lung.
In Malta, Cousteau discovered Calypso, a former Royal
Navy mine-sweeper. The sale contract was signed on July
19, 1950. Calypso left immediately for the shipyard in
Antibes, France, where she was transformed into an
oceanographic ship. One of her many innovations was the
underwater observation chamber built around the prow
and equipped with eight portholes for viewing.