With Christmas just around the corner, the struggle to find suitable presents for your loved ones can be overwhelming. If you’re shopping for a diver, the task is a little easier – after all, almost anything related to the sport or the ocean is sure to be a success. Books are a particularly great gift choice, especially if you’re trying to stick to a budget. In this article, we look at a few of the most popular scuba-related books currently listed on Amazon. Whether you opt for a fictional tale of underwater adventure or a glossy coffee table book detailing the world’s best dive sites, there’s something here for every kind of diver.

Best Inspirational: Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die

Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die

Compiled by writer Chris Santella, Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die is the perfect purchase for divers with a strong sense of wanderlust. It lists 50 of the world’s best dive destinations, each one accompanied by a write-up from a local expert detailing what makes the site special and what fabulous sights await those who travel there. Some of the destinations are iconic bucket list spots (think the Galapagos, Cocos Island, and the Cayman Islands). Others are more obscure, and could well inspire the recipient’s next off-the-beaten-track adventure – whether they’re more likely to go in search of whale sharks in Myanmar, or diving with wolf eels off the coast of Maine. The book includes 40 beautiful underwater photographs, and is available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle editions.

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Best Historic: SS Thistlegorm: WW2’s Greatest Shipwreck

SS Thistlegorm: WW2’s Greatest Shipwreck is a must-read for any diver with an interest in history. It’s particularly pertinent for Red Sea diving enthusiasts, however, as it tells the story of Egypt’s most famous wreck as researched by veteran diver and author John Kean. The book weaves a fascinating tale of wartime courage, using firsthand accounts from the wreck’s survivors to shed light on the SS Thistlegorm’s career and ultimately, her sinking in 1941. It also tells the story of her slow transition from forgotten World War Two casualty to one of the world’s most iconic wreck diving sites. The text is interspersed with over 100 fascinating images, and is available on Amazon in hardcover and as a Kindle e-book. The latter is significantly cheaper, and a great option for divers who want to take the book with them on holiday to the Red Sea.

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Best Adventure: Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship

Published in 2016, Pirate Hunters is the latest offering from Robert Kurson, the author of acclaimed non-fiction adventure Shadow Divers. Like its predecessor, Kurson’s newest book is a New York Times bestseller. It tells the true story of wreck divers John Catterton and John Mattera, and their quest to find the lost ship of 17th-century pirate Joseph Bannister. Their mission takes them around the world in search of clues regarding the location of the Golden Fleece – which, if found, will be the second pirate ship ever to have been officially located and identified. Packed with suspense and wonderfully descriptive, Kurson’s narrative reads like a blockbuster fiction; and yet, its true accounts of adventure in the 17th century and the present day are meticulously researched. Pirate Hunters is available in Kindle, paperback, and audio CD formats.

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Best Instructional: Scuba Fundamental: Start Diving the Right Way

Ideally suited to aspiring divers, Simon Pridmore’s Scuba Fundamental: Start Diving the Right Way is a valuable supplement to the official beginner’s course manual. Published in 2016, it reflects the latest industry standards, and helps to make the process of learning to dive easier and more enjoyable. It details common difficulties faced by beginner divers and how to overcome them, as well as listing mistakes that new divers often make. Tips range from advice on choosing the right instructor and preparing for your course to insights on staying safe underwater. Similarly, a section of anecdotes from experienced divers about their early diving days entertains and offers encouragement – proving that even the most disastrous of starts can result in a long and happy diving career. The book is available in paperback and Kindle editions.

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Best for Freedivers: Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves

Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves

The 2015 edition of James Nestor’s Deep is a Scientific American Recommended Read and a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. Inspired by Nestor’s experience at a freediving competition, it documents his quest to find out why humans are driven to explore the ocean in a way that pushes their physiological boundaries to the limit. It also looks at how freediving can be used as a tool to better understand the secrets of the sea; and documents the fascinating discoveries made by freediving scientists about the abilities of marine creatures to navigate and communicate underwater. Perhaps most intriguingly, the book goes on to explore the way in which the human anatomy can adapt to life underwater. Both scientifically accurate and magnificently descriptive, Deep is available in hardcover, paperback and Kindle versions.

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Do you have a favorite book for the diver in your life this Christmas?  Let us know in the comments below!