8 Top Ocean Documentaries to Educate and Entertain

8 Top Ocean Documentaries to Educate and Entertain

By Charly Stringer

Do you want to learn more about the ocean and how to protect it?

There are many ways to learn, from books to podcasts, websites, and more. However, after a long day, you likely would prefer to cosy up under your blanket on the sofa and watch a movie, right?

This is where documentaries come in. They are the perfect way to both learn and relax from the comfort of our couch. Documentaries combine all the necessary teachings with the added excitement of cinematic effects and beautiful imagery.

So, we’ve put together a list of 8 of our favourite ocean documentaries, so all you have to do is make a cup of tea, sit back, and press play. Let’s dive in!

1. Blue Planet 2

Released in 2018, this BBC Earth mini-series is one of the best from David Attenborough and his team. A sequel/reboot of The Blue Planet (which was brought out back in 2001 – also well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it), Attenborough takes us back to the oceans to show us rare and unusual creatures and sea life.

This time with state-of-the-art technology and filming equipment, we get to see in HD what lives in the deepest and the coldest parts of the ocean, as well as life on the coasts. This documentary showcases the beautiful underwater life and highlights important issues that our oceans are facing and what we can do to help.

2. Seaspiracy

This Netflix Original documentary film, which was released earlier this year, achieved tremendous success, hitting headlines of newspapers, magazines and being a conversational topic on many podcasts.

Seaspiracy follows British filmmaker and ocean lover Ali Tabrizi on a journey to find out where the fish we eat comes from. Seaspiracy challenges the idea of sustainable fishing, examines the fishing industry’s environmental impact, and explores other ethical issues surrounding it.

3. Chasing coral

Don’t switch off Netflix just yet; you’ll also find Chasing Coral there, a 2017 documentary about the disappearance of coral reefs around the world.

Follow a team of scientists, videographers, and divers on this adventure to discover why our ocean’s corals are vanishing at an unusually fast rate. This issue is described as “one of the rarest events in nature,” and the team wants to bring it to our attention.

4. The Cove

Grab a box of tissues for this one… The Cove is a 2009 documentary that follows a group of activists who want to expose a severe case of animal abuse against dolphins that happens regularly in a cove near to Taiji, Japan.

Starring Richard O’Barry, a well-known dolphin trainer who, after seeing firsthand the reality of keeping dolphins in captivity and how much stress it causes the animals, has become one of the leading advocates for protecting and keeping cetaceans in the wild.

5. A Plastic Ocean

This 2016 documentary film is a serious reality check on the fragile state of our oceans. While searching for Blue Whales, journalist Craig Leeson discovers plastic floating in parts of the ocean miles from shore (and therefore should be clean).

Realising this vast problem, Craig and his team of scientists, researchers, and freediver Tanya Streeter visit twenty locations over four years to uncover the frightening reality of plastic pollution. But it’s not all doom and gloom; they also reveal solutions that are already working to fix this problem.

6. Whale Wars

With six seasons and 56 episodes, this documentary series should keep you entertained for a while. Whale Wars premiered in 2008 and followed Paul Watson and his crew for over six years. Paul is the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. His mission is to stop the killings of whales by Japanese ships off the coast of Antarctica and protect marine wildlife by any means necessary.

Paul is the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. His mission is to stop the killings of whales by Japanese ships off the coast of Antarctica and protect marine wildlife by any means necessary.

7. Mission Blue

Join marine biologist, oceanographer, and environmentalist Dr. Sylvia Earle in this 2014 documentary film as she discovers how climate change, pollution, and the fishing industry threaten our oceans.

This film follows Sylvia as she tries to fulfill her dream of building a global network of marine protected areas with the help of over 100 scientists and activists.

8. The Planet Calls – The Documentary

Last but certainly not least… ours! That’s right, we made a documentary. Did you know that every year, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean? Joining another 150 million tons of plastic that’s already there.

Our short documentary movie about ocean plastic is inspiring and educational.

Which One Are You Going to Start With?

Documentaries make for a great way to educate yourself on environmental issues. In particular, the problems that are occurring within our ocean that we all need to know about.

So, which one are you going to start with? Let us know, and do share any of your favourite ocean documentaries with us!

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