The most recommended scuba diving books

Who picked these books? Meet our 7 experts.

7 authors created a book list connected to scuba diving, and here are their favorite scuba diving books.
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Book cover of Deep Shadow

Sharon Ward Author Of In Deep

From my list on mysteries set on a tropical island.

Who am I?

Even as a kid, I was intrigued by the underwater world, so as an adult, I learned to scuba dive. I took to it like a fish to water, and my husband and I spent the next several years traveling to tropical islands to experience the local dive conditions whenever possible. I loved learning how every island had a different culture and a different undersea environment. Since I love tropical islands, scuba diving, mysteries, and adventure stories, these books really hit my sweet spot.

Sharon's book list on mysteries set on a tropical island

Sharon Ward Why did Sharon love this book?

As a long-time diver, I was enthralled by the details of the undersea world. Set on the tropical island of Bonaire, a scuba diver’s paradise, this book introduces the reader to two great characters, divemasters Boone Fischer and Emily Durand. 

The author interweaves Boone and Emily’s budding romance with compelling descriptions of the diving and the sea life they encounter. The way the two divemasters get involved in the search for the drug submarine at the heart of the mystery is plausible. Twists and turns on every page keep the reader guessing about the fate of the sub, its crew, the cruise ship, and most critically, the two highly appealing divemasters who use every skill they have to avert disaster. I was instantly hooked on the series.

By Nick Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Deep Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, something lethal is on the move.

Scuba divers travel from all over the world to visit the little island of Bonaire, with its crystal-clear waters and a host of beautiful marine life. After three years in the “Diver's Paradise”, divemaster Boone Fischer thought he’d seen it all; but on a routine afternoon dive, he spots something that will turn his tranquil life upside down.

From the arid shores of the ABC Islands to the tropical jungles of Venezuela—from the ocean depths of the Southern Caribbean, to the lush islands of the Northern Leewards,…


Book cover of Divers Down!

Russ Colson Author Of The Arasmith Certainty Principle

From my list on sci-fi with adventure, proper romance, or friendship.

Who am I?

As a planetary scientist and college professor, I love the adventure of finding something new, the wonder of strange worlds, and the magic of mysterious discoveries that behave logically in a way that I can figure out. Unsurprisingly, that is what I like in my fiction too. I also love a story that explores the nature of the interaction between people, particularly in friendship or romance (all proper of course—I’m an old-fashioned guy). The books on this list are all touchstones in my own journey into science and life, and I hope that you can find in them the delight, wonder, insight, and motivation that I have found.

Russ' book list on sci-fi with adventure, proper romance, or friendship

Russ Colson Why did Russ love this book?

High school student Kip Morgan wins an internship at an oceanographic institute in Hawaii where he, with help of new friend Julie Scott, overcomes multiple personal and engineering challenges to solve an archaeological mystery and raise a sunken ship from the sea floor. This story from the 1970s was a key in guiding me toward a life of science, and the portrayal of a realistic, mentored research experience gave me a vision for what I might do in my own journey through college and into science. I loved the exotic location, scuba diving and seafloor exploration, mystery, adventure, and romance!

By Hal Gordon, James Temple (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Divers Down! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hawaiian Diver fiction - juvenile


Book cover of Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle

Brenda Z. Guiberson Author Of Into the Sea

From my list on that spark a lifetime of investigation.

Who am I?

I'm an award-winning, best-selling children’s author who writes about unexpected “wow” moments that stick with me. I look for books and articIes that take me on a deep journey into unknown environments. I aim for nonfiction that reads like a story with an emotional connection to new creatures with fascinating lifestyles. As a writer of dozens of books for children, I always learn much more that can go into each effort. Each book comes into a hazy focus after tons of research. The best “wow” details get woven into an incredible story full of surprise, joy, and admiration for those struggling to survive on our changing plant.  

Brenda's book list on that spark a lifetime of investigation

Brenda Z. Guiberson Why did Brenda love this book?

This book follows the accomplishments of Sylvia Earle who “lost her heart to the water” as a child. She snorkeled, then learned scuba diving. She kept on, joining an ocean expedition as the only woman among 70 men, lived underwater for 2 weeks, designed a deep sea diving bubble, and more. “Wow!” I love that she stayed so long to learn that each individual fish is different from another, that whales swim like ballerinas, and every spoonful of ocean is full of tiny, and sometimes sparkly, creatures. Most important she learned how vital the ocean is to the health of our planet and better ways to take care of it.        

By Claire A. Nivola,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life in the Ocean as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Sylvia Earle first lost her heart to the ocean as a young girl when she discovered the wonders of the Gulf of Mexico in her backyard. As an adult, she dives even deeper. Whether she's designing submersibles, swimming with the whales, or taking deep-water walks, Sylvia Earle has dedicated her life to learning more about what she calls "the blue heart of the planet." With stunningly detailed pictures of the wonders of the sea, Life in the Ocean tells the story of Sylvia's growing passion and how her ocean exploration and advocacy have made her known around the world. This…


Book cover of Deep Focus

Don Rich Author Of Coastal Jury

From my list on coastal mystery and adventure.

Who am I?

I’m an entrepreneur who was born literally within sight of the Intracoastal Waterway in South Florida. Got my first boat (a dinghy) when I was six. I used to drive an airboat on Lake Okeechobee and learned to fly back when I was a teenager. Since then, I’ve flown over a dozen different types of planes and even a helicopter. As a kid, I spent a lot of time in the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, and the Antilles. In my late teens I worked on various private sportfishing boats in Florida, Georgia, and the Bahamas. With this much time spent on, in, under, or around the water, I was destined to write coastal novels. 

Don's book list on coastal mystery and adventure

Don Rich Why did Don love this book?

As a veteran actor of stage and screen, Sullivan is well versed in the art of movie-making. In his best-selling book, Deep Focus, he blends this along with his love of SCUBA diving and the Cayman Islands into a great coastal mystery and suspense read. As he asks in his book description, “Who wouldn’t want to shoot a movie in paradise? What could possibly go wrong?” As it turns out, plenty of things. So, grab a good sipping rum, settle into your favorite reading chair, and prepare to be entertained.

By Nick Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deep Focus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who wouldn't want to shoot a movie in paradise? What could possibly go wrong?

Divemasters Boone Fischer and Emily Durand have left the relative bustle of Cozumel to start anew on the sleepy Sister Island of Little Cayman; population 200, give or take. In the Cayman Islands, the reefs are so spectacular and extensive, you can dive a different site every day of the year.

When a prominent film studio decides to shoot their upcoming science-fiction flick in the waters of the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman, everything initially goes well. Eccentric director Heinz Werner is brought on board, and…


Book cover of Something in the Water

Jen Craven Author Of Best Years of Your Life

From my list on complicated female characters and a good plot twist.

Who am I?

As an avid reader and author myself, I love books that keep me on the edge of my seat and thrust me into a world of secrets and lies. There’s nothing better than seeing trouble coming for a character and wondering how in the world they’re going to make things right. I read and write these types of stories—ones that are relatable, emotionally charged, and twisty. To me, they’re the most fun! 

Jen's book list on complicated female characters and a good plot twist

Jen Craven Why did Jen love this book?

The question that comes to mind with this book is, “If you could make a simple choice to change your life even if you know it’s wrong, would you?” I kept wondering what I would do in the character’s situation. If you’re drawn to moral dilemmas, ethical decisions, and secrets and lies, this book is for you. A complete page-turner, I couldn’t put it down. There are twists you don’t see coming, but at the heart is a story about ideals and the mistakes we make trying to reach them. 

By Catherine Steadman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Something in the Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK • “A psychological thriller that captivated me from page one. What unfolds makes for a wild, page-turning ride! It’s the perfect beach read!”—Reese Witherspoon

A shocking discovery on a honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a picture-perfect couple in this taut psychological thriller from the author of Mr. Nobody and The Disappearing Act.

“Steadman keeps the suspense ratcheted up.”—The New York Times

ITW THRILLER AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY GLAMOUR AND NEWSWEEK

If you could make one simple choice that would…


Book cover of Swimming with the Dead: An Underwater Investigation

Nicholas Harvey Author Of Twelve Mile Bank

From my list on female scuba diving thrillers and mysteries.

Who am I?

My wife suggested we try scuba diving while on holiday in Grand Cayman. We were already falling in love with the island, and the incredible experience underwater opened a whole new world to us. From that moment on, our yearly travels changed completely. Our destination choices were now based upon diving opportunities. That was twenty years ago. Today, I’m a certified divemaster with dives all over the US (including Hawaii), the Caribbean (including Cuba), Australia, and even Iceland. Throw in my sense of adventure as a former race car driver, motorcycle rider, and outdoor adventurer, and I had plenty of personal experiences to create the AJ Bailey series.

Nicholas' book list on female scuba diving thrillers and mysteries

Nicholas Harvey Why did Nicholas love this book?

Kathy’s series – which I wish she’d continue one day – inspired me to include my passion for scuba diving in my novels. Her main character, Hannah Sampson, is a member of the Denver Underwater CSI team, who’s asked to help the police in the British Virgin Islands investigate a case. Needless to say, she stays on the island for the following books and becomes embroiled in hair-raising cases that challenge her above and below the water.

Kathy published her series at a time when very few novels centered around diving, and certainly didn’t include a female protagonist. I found her work transported me to the islands, and enthused me to create AJ Bailey and subsequently, Nora Sommer.

By Kathy Brandt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Swimming with the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Murder runs deep in a thrilling new series.
An Underwater Investigation featuring C.S.I. diver Hannah Sampson.

Summoned to the sun-drenched beaches of the British Virgin Islands, Hannah Sampson is fully prepared to face unknowable dangers beneath the crystal-clear waters of an idyllic paradise. But the possibility of murder runs deeper and darker than the sea itself. Her police commissioner's son-an expert diver and researcher-was found dead, pinned under the submerged wreckage of a cargo ship. Whatever the victim was looking for, he found.

Whatever he found was the death of him. Now Hannah must discover for herself what lies beneath-a…


Book cover of How to Breathe Underwater

Lesley Pratt Bannatyne Author Of Unaccustomed to Grace

From my list on short story collections by women.

Who am I?

Whenever I take on a new short story project, I read other writers to admire them, study them, and be inspired by them; it’s like talking with old friends. These five books took me through the heart and soul of what it is to be or to have a mother, to be or to have children, to love or to lose love, to maintain the rituals and magic of family or let them go. Although I believe men can write female characters and women can write males, I really appreciate the fine-tuned ear for the nuances of motherhood, womanhood, and relationships I find in collections written by women about women.

Lesley's book list on short story collections by women

Lesley Pratt Bannatyne Why did Lesley love this book?

In my very favorite story in this book full of favorites, “Pilgrims,” young children cope with adult reality in a Lord of the Flies-like atmosphere where a tragic accident is offset by the innocent gift of a lost tooth, a talisman meant to create magic in a world that can seem devoid of it. How to Breathe forefronts girls and teens struggling with guilt, peer pressure, identity, envy, sickness, death. Sounds grim, but the writing, the world Orringer creates, is as beautiful and moving as it is dark. Her characters are the kind you can live inside, remember being, feel for. I think about them a lot, still, and I read the book more than a decade ago.

By Julie Orringer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Breathe Underwater as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times notable book and winner of The Northern California Book Award for Best Short Fiction, these nine brave, wise, and spellbinding stories make up this debut. In "When She is Old and I Am Famous" a young woman confronts the inscrutable power of her cousin's beauty. In "Note to Sixth-Grade Self" a band of popular girls exert their social power over an awkward outcast. In "Isabel Fish" fourteen-year-old Maddy learns to scuba dive in order to mend her family after a terrible accident. Alive with the victories, humiliations, and tragedies of youth, How to Breathe Underwaterilluminates this…


Book cover of Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves

Nicholas Harvey Author Of Twelve Mile Bank

From my list on female scuba diving thrillers and mysteries.

Who am I?

My wife suggested we try scuba diving while on holiday in Grand Cayman. We were already falling in love with the island, and the incredible experience underwater opened a whole new world to us. From that moment on, our yearly travels changed completely. Our destination choices were now based upon diving opportunities. That was twenty years ago. Today, I’m a certified divemaster with dives all over the US (including Hawaii), the Caribbean (including Cuba), Australia, and even Iceland. Throw in my sense of adventure as a former race car driver, motorcycle rider, and outdoor adventurer, and I had plenty of personal experiences to create the AJ Bailey series.

Nicholas' book list on female scuba diving thrillers and mysteries

Nicholas Harvey Why did Nicholas love this book?

Okay, so Deep isn’t specifically about women, or scuba diving – it tackles freediving – but includes females and anyone who loves diving in any form should read this book. The meticulous research into the physiology and psychology of human beings underwater is simply fascinating. Nestor ventures off into all kinds of territory, from octopus intelligence; to whales conversing; to humans holding a single breath for an inhuman amount of time.

Freediving is the common theme in the book, but it is far more than that. This is an in-depth study of life beneath the waves from an intriguing perspective.

By James Nestor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of the international Bestseller Breath

Covering a diving championship in Greece on a hot and sticky assignment for Outside magazine, James Nestor discovered free diving. He had stumbled on one of the most extreme sports in existence: a quest to extend the frontiers of human experience, in which divers descend without breathing equipment, for hundreds of feet below the water, for minutes after they should have died from lack of oxygen. Sometimes they emerge unconscious, or bleeding from the nose and ears, and sometimes they don't come up at all.

The free divers were Nestor's way into…


Book cover of Twelve Mile Bank

Sharon Ward Author Of In Deep

From my list on mysteries set on a tropical island.

Who am I?

Even as a kid, I was intrigued by the underwater world, so as an adult, I learned to scuba dive. I took to it like a fish to water, and my husband and I spent the next several years traveling to tropical islands to experience the local dive conditions whenever possible. I loved learning how every island had a different culture and a different undersea environment. Since I love tropical islands, scuba diving, mysteries, and adventure stories, these books really hit my sweet spot.

Sharon's book list on mysteries set on a tropical island

Sharon Ward Why did Sharon love this book?

The Cayman Islands are my favorite place in the world, so a mystery featuring a female divemaster on Grand Cayman is right up my alley. AJ Bailey, the protagonist, is a realistic portrayal of a woman in a man’s world. Many books in the tropical islands have female protagonists, but they are often gun-toting, knife-wielding super-models, not realistic women like Harvey’s protagonist. 

The diving details are spot on; the dive site descriptions are accurate; and the thrilling story will keep you turning pages to the very end. A great start to a super series.

By Nicholas Harvey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Twelve Mile Bank as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A mysterious shipwreck. A ruthless treasure hunter. A race against time.

Cayman Islands divemaster AJ Bailey is searching for a long forgotten WWII U-boat at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea. Armed with nothing more than an adventurous spirit and her late grandfather’s tale, she's determined to find the submarine and the secret it protects.

When a wealthy treasure hunter shows up with a ruthless crew, AJ becomes entangled in a frantic duel to find the precious piece of history. Diving into the path of merciless killers at treacherous depths, she must fight to keep her grandfather’s dream - and…


Book cover of Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver

Nicholas Harvey Author Of Twelve Mile Bank

From my list on female scuba diving thrillers and mysteries.

Who am I?

My wife suggested we try scuba diving while on holiday in Grand Cayman. We were already falling in love with the island, and the incredible experience underwater opened a whole new world to us. From that moment on, our yearly travels changed completely. Our destination choices were now based upon diving opportunities. That was twenty years ago. Today, I’m a certified divemaster with dives all over the US (including Hawaii), the Caribbean (including Cuba), Australia, and even Iceland. Throw in my sense of adventure as a former race car driver, motorcycle rider, and outdoor adventurer, and I had plenty of personal experiences to create the AJ Bailey series.

Nicholas' book list on female scuba diving thrillers and mysteries

Nicholas Harvey Why did Nicholas love this book?

Jill isn’t only the world’s top female cave diver, she’s one of the best, period. What’s amazing about this book is how it reads like a hair-raising fantastical adventure tale, yet it’s all true.

I’ve dabbled in cave diving in the cenotes of Mexico, and it is certainly addictive stuff, but I can’t imagine going to the places Jill has risked her life to discover.

This could easily have been a choice in my females who kick-ass list as well!

By Jill Heinerth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Into the Planet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of the world’s most renowned cave divers, a firsthand account of exploring the earth’s final frontier: the hidden depths of our oceans and the sunken caves inside our planet

More people have died exploring underwater caves than climbing Mount Everest, and we know more about deep space than we do about the depths of our oceans. From one of the top cave divers working today—and one of the very few women in her field—Into the Planet blends science, adventure, and memoir to bring readers face-to-face with the terror and beauty of earth’s remaining unknowns and the extremes of…