5 of the Best Ocean Documentaries You Need to See

You know just how important it is to preserve our planet. Our ecosystems are sacred and you’re passionate about preserving them.

Especially the most mysterious of them all — the ocean!

But you don’t have to dawn your scuba gear just yet. One of the best ways to learn about the deep blue is by watching an ocean documentary.

Films on marine life can be just as fascinating as they are deeply emotional — not to mention their capacity to inspire you to take action in your community. You may not be able to dive right into the depths of the deepest oceans, but these 5 documentaries are happy to take you there.

The Blue Planet (2001)

There aren’t many nature documentaries more renowned than The Blue Planet series. Featuring beloved natural historian David Attenborough, these documentaries give us an intimate and vibrant peek into the ecosystems that make up our oceans.

The Blue Planet focuses on exploring the different facets of ocean and marine life most of us never learned in school. Attenborough shows off his vast knowledge of the deep blue as he touches upon rare and fascinating creatures you truly have to see to believe.

Over the course of 8 episodes, Attenborough brings you through the deepest depths of the ocean, the Arctic tundras, communities of coral reefs, and more otherworldly locations spanning all corners of the world.

Documented over the course of 5 years, the production was a labor of love and won multiple Emmy and BAFTA awards.

You can find The Blue Planet and Blue Planet 2 on Discovery Plus. You can also find them for an additional cost on most streaming platforms.

Blackfish (2013)

If you grew up with Free Willy and a fascination with orcas, Blackfish is going to hit home in a powerful way.

After Tilikum, an orca at SeaWorld takes the life of several trainers, a filmmaker tackles the unethical practices of keeping the largest and smartest sea predators in captivity for our entertainment.

Some trigger warning on this one: you’re going to see some pretty graphic content here, so be sure you’re prepared emotionally before you begin.

You can watch this passionate and painful doc on Amazon Prime.

Chasing Coral (2017)

Chasing Coral is one of those nature documentaries that can really open your eyes to the current state of global pollution. Coral reefs are an invaluable source of food and shelter for countless species of marine life — without them, several ecosystems face grave danger, including our own.

We wanted to learn more about coral bleaching, including a devastating event that occurred in 2016, in which over 30% of the Great Barrier Reef was destroyed — and this documentary is the definition of a deep dive.

It follows a team of divers, scientists, and photographers as they show the immense impact of coral bleaching, and how all of us can spread awareness on this often-ignored environmental crisis.

This is one of the best ocean documentaries on Netflix. We know you won’t be disappointed.

Mission Blue (2014)

Looking for a wholesome highlight of a beloved marine biologist? You found it.

Mission Blue brings you the story of Dr. Silvia Earl and her achievements as one of the world’s most renowned oceanographers. It spans from her humble years of rigorous education to her endless experiences in the lab and (of course!) to the depths of the oceans.

Join Dr. Earl as she creates a global network of protected marine sanctuaries called Hope Spots” to preserve marine life and their habitats — 127 and counting!

This film is a colorful and personal story of one scientist’s efforts to preserve our environment with a simple dream.

You can find Mission Blue on Netflix right now. We’d advise having a box of tissues nearby — this uplifting nature doc will have you in your feels!

My Octopus Teacher (2020)

My Octopus Teacher is what happens when a lonely filmmaker in crisis becomes friends with an octopus. We know it sounds crazy, but trust us on this one.

Unlike other nature documentaries, My Octopus Teacher starts off with a simple curiosity: What is that octopus doing down there?

Through many dives (and some broken cameras courtesy a curious cephalopod), we witness man and nature discover each other. Their journey is at times spiritual, and in others heartbreaking.

My Octopus Teacher is such a joy to watch, we guarantee you’ll want your own octopus friend by the end of it. But for now you’ll just have to settle for watching it on Netflix.

Get Inspired With an Incredible Ocean Documentary

Feeling inspired?

Feed your inner environmental curiosities with any of these wonderful ocean documentaries and embark on an adventure from the comfort of your home. You can’t go wrong with any of these meaningful and thrilling films.

Once you’re done watching, take a moment to think about what you can do for our oceans.

You can create positive change for our planet in many ways — and a great place to start is by making small changes within your home, lifestyle, or wardrobe. Blue Verve partners with Sherpani, who make bags with sustainable materials so you can look your best and feel inspired knowing you’re doing your part to help the planet.

Ready to get involved in your community?

Join us and Blue Verve Project in our next cleanup event in Boulder >

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