Jacques Cousteau was a French scientist, explorer, and filmmaker who left a lasting legacy as one of the pioneers of ocean exploration. He is perhaps best known for his invention of the Aqua-Lung in 1943, which paved the way for the modern scuba diving industry. Over the course of his 50+ year career, Cousteau traveled the world sharing his knowledge and expertise with millions of people, helping to educate and prepare them for the risks associated with aquatic environments.
In addition to his contributions to the scuba diving industry, Cousteau was also an expert in safety management. He believed that risk was a choice that could "win me the opportunity to live, not merely to survive," and he often related this to the risk-benefit decision. Cousteau's practical approach to safety management involved being aware of the risks associated with a given activity and taking the necessary precautions to minimize those risks. He also stressed the importance of having a plan in place for handling emergencies and being prepared to act quickly and effectively in the event of an accident.
One story that illustrates Cousteau's leadership and approach to safety management can be found in his book "The Silent World." In this account, Cousteau describes an incident that occurred during a diving expedition in the Mediterranean Sea. During the expedition, one of Cousteau's diving companions, Frédéric Dumas, passed out while ascending to the surface after a dive.
Rather than panicking or continuing to ascend to the surface, Cousteau remained calm and quickly signaled to the rest of the team to stop their ascent. He then descended back down to Dumas and brought him back to the surface, where he was able to resuscitate him. Cousteau's quick thinking and decisive action likely prevented a tragedy from occurring, and it demonstrates his leadership and commitment to safety management.
Jacques Cousteau was a visionary leader who left a lasting impact on the world of ocean exploration and safety management. One of his famous quotes on leadership is: "To be a leader, you must have a vision, a plan, and the courage to chase that dream despite all obstacles." This quote captures Cousteau's belief in the importance of having a clear vision and a plan for achieving it, as well as the courage and determination to see it through, even in the face of challenges and obstacles. Cousteau's leadership and approach to safety management continue to inspire and influence people around the world to this day.
Author Jon Cordoba, CHST, CIT is the President of P3 Safety Solutions and loves diving!