Top 5 ships documentaries show seafaring with sail, steam, and nuclear power

There’s something magical about the sea, and RTD’s top 5 ships documentaries give a taste of the wind-lashed salt spray that has captured seafarers for centuries. From the days of sail, right up to the most modern nuclear-powered vessels, all aspects of sailing and the sea are explored in the films. Riding the waves or diving underneath, there’s a documentary to suit all tastes in our top 5 ships documentaries.

1. On Deck, Offline

For young cadets taking part in the Tall Ships Race is a chance-of-a-lifetime. On Deck, Offline follows the members of the Baltic State Fishing Fleet Academy as they spend two months learning the ropes, mastering the art of navigating a sailing ship. On board the trainees have to learn to work as a team, even though for many of them it’s their first time away from home for such a long period.

2. Seven Seas of Ice

The film recounts the epic journey of the Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers as they power through the Arctic icepacks. The flotilla of ships are blazing a trail around the north coast of Russia, shortening the sea voyage from Asia to Europe by weeks. The perilous journey is logged day by day in the documentary.

3. Combat Approved. Yasen-M: Destroyer of the Depths

The Kazan is Russia’s most modern and secret nuclear-powered submarine. The boat is profiled in the documentary Yasen-M: Destroyer of the Depths. The film looks at the building of the unique single-hulled design, and its unconventional design with torpedo tubes in the side of the vessel not the bow. Russia’s latest sub has the ability to be the underwater equivalent of a fighter jet.

4. Beauties Save the World

The all-female crew of the yacht Sea Dragon has a mission to chart pollution in the Caribbean. The film Beauties Save the World, we join the researchers and environmentalists as they test for the micro plastic that is polluting our oceans. In each port of call, the crew provides information and lectures to schoolchildren about their work and the threat of pollution to the oceans.

5. Scrapped

When ships come to the end of their working lives, they must be scrapped. However, the ship graveyard in Bangladesh is also a potential graveyard for the people who work there. The documentary Scrapped investigates the risks taken by the ship breakers dismantling the rusty hulks to earn a few pennies. With no health and safety supervision, it’s a dangerous task.

There are even more fascinating documentaries about ships, including a series looking at Russia’s Baltic Fleet available to watch here.