Must-Watch Netflix Documentaries About The Ocean

Watching movies about the water is one of the nicest things divers can do when they can't be out diving. Check out these must-watch ocean-related documentaries on Netflix, which range from stunning underwater photography to jarring facts and pictures.

Chasing Coral

The documentary Chasing Coral provides shocking information about the condition of coral reefs and how quickly they are disappearing (due to global warming). The fact that we have lost 50% of the world's corals in the previous 30 years may be the most astounding revelation made.

An ex-advertising executive named Richard Vevers and Chasing Ice director Jeff Orlowski collaborate with a group of scientists and engineers to film the reefs' alarming rate of demise in order to spread this message.

Targeting locations where the water temperature has been rising, the researchers set out to document coral bleaching. They construct and install unique cameras underwater in an effort to document the reef's deteriorating condition over a few months. Sadly, things don't go as expected, and you'll see firsthand the team's laborious process of obtaining the photographs.

The team ultimately obtains the desired photographs, but it is extremely bittersweet because in order to obtain the film's footage, they had to watch the reef deteriorate day by day.

Particularly upsetting visuals are shown starting around the film's 1 hour 15 minute mark. We see the reef's transformation over the course of two months, from robust to bleached to dead, in real time.

Over 500 hours of underwater footage were used in the documentary, which took three years to produce and was filmed in over 30 countries with the assistance of more than 500 people.

It's easy to understand why Chasing Coral has been recognized with numerous honors, both past and present. The future of the world's reefs and what we can do to prevent it are two things that this movie really makes you pause and consider. To assist us all conserve our reefs, the Chasing Coral team has written an action guide that can be downloaded at

Tales by Light

Tales by Light is a multi-season television program that explores photographers and the narratives that inspire the pictures they take. A few episodes per series are devoted to the ocean, albeit not all of them are.

Australian photographer Darren Jew travels to the waters around Tonga for Season 1 Episode 1's "Submerged," where he attempts to catch a humpback whale heat run (mating). Additionally, he travels to Papua New Guinea to capture the Bi-Plane, a WWII aircraft, at night using long exposure and light painting techniques.

While underwater photographer Eric Cheng travels to Brazil for Season 2 Episodes 3 and 4, "Misunderstood Predators," to take pictures of the 6-meter-long female green anaconda. Additionally, he travels to the Bahamas to document how people and sharks interact. He demonstrates that sharks like bull and tiger sharks are not the terrifying monsters that most people think they are, and instead suggests that they are more like enormous puppies.

And in Season 3's Episodes 3 and 4, titled "Paradise in Peril," we accompany photographer Shawn Heinrichs as he explores Raja Ampat in Indonesia and takes pictures of the incredible corals and marine life there. Raja Ampat was once a paradise that was overfished. Be warned—there are some graphic photos of sharks with removed fins, but they are highly good in conveying the idea that sharks should be protected rather than hunted. The episode focuses on the excellent work done in Raja Ampat to preserve the marine life and how drone technology is being used to apprehend illicit poachers.

Be warned, this tv-series is highly binge-worthy and the visuals are breathtaking. After seeing this series, you'll surely want to schedule a few diving excursions!

A Plastic Ocean


Craig Leeson, a journalist and filmmaker, set out to shoot a documentary on the blue whale in 2011. However, as he sailed through the pristine seas of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sri Lanka in search of the whales, he instead discovered tons of plastic and other trash in the ocean. If the plastic/trash situation in these rivers was this serious, he wondered how awful it was worldwide. That's what this documentary aims to discover.

The movie is a collection of brief segments from all across the world that emphasize the tremendous "one-use" plastic problem we face and how it affects the ocean, animals, and even people.

The terrible amount of plastic that dead marine life and other creatures have swallowed is shown in some really distressing photographs that show their stomachs being opened.

Facts that appear on the screen are interspersed throughout the video. For example, at the 1 hour and 10 minute mark, we learn that 2,877,783 pounds of plastic have entered our oceans since we started viewing the movie, which clearly emphasizes how serious this problem is.

The movie depicts a fairly bleak picture of the situation of the world today, yet it's not all negative. A Plastic Ocean also showcases some of the fantastic efforts being done globally to lessen "one-time-use" plastic. The US Navy uses technology to break down their waste in an environmentally responsible manner, and the company Cynar transforms waste into diesel fuel. Rwanda is one of the nations that no longer uses plastic bags.

Of course, the movie also emphasizes a few easy things you can do to contribute, like refuse single-use plastics and consider reusable rather than disposable. Visit to view the helpful 9 tip video tutorial the A Plastic Ocean team has produced with some easy things you can take to help.

I don't know about you, but seeing these movies made me more aware of the ocean's beauty, our dependence on it, and the need for more protection.


About the Author

Amanda and her husband Dean have been certified divers since 2009. Amanda has her advanced open water and Dean is a dive master. They have travelled the world and dived many sites in Australia, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.

Amanda and Dean have a travel blog called Scatabout which details the fun and unique experiences they have had on their world travels. You can find them doing something adventurous like scuba diving, hiking or something strange like running down the side of a building.

You can follow Scatabout:


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