James Cameron’s sporting it. Jaqcues Cousteau wore it. And Bill Murray’s crew made it popular in the movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. So what’s the catch with those silly little stocking hats deep-sea divers like to wear?
No, it’s not a fashion statement these hats have a genuine purpose. According to Forrest Wickman, a blogger from Slate,
The water temperature at the bottom of the ocean usually hovers around 37 degrees Fahrenheit, and most deep-sea exploration vehicles don’t have climate control. Explorers tend to bring hats, gloves, long johns, and other warm layers, which they pull on as they descend and the temperature drops. Socks and caps are particularly important, as it’s coldest on the floor and ceiling of the submersible.
Made popular by their functionality, seaman’s caps were around long before Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997). Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, and researcher for all forms of life in water. But the seaman’s caps weren’t the only deep-sea necessity that Cousteau popularized. He also invented the modern Demand Regulator and the AquaLung, and he helped improve an autonomous diving suit.