OceanGate Inc. is a privately-owned company located in Everett, WA, that specializes in offering crewed submersible services. The company was founded in 2009 by Stockton Rush, a successful businessman with ties to the aerospace and technology industries. Rush identified an emerging market for private industry funding and the use of modern materials to lower the cost of ocean exploration and discovery1. The company’s mission is to increase access to the deep ocean by developing next-generation crewed submersibles and launch platforms1.
OceanGate’s innovation is evident in the development of its patented launch and recovery platform and the use of state-of-the-art technology and materials. The company’s developments have made deep-sea exploration more accessible than ever before2. During the first two-and-a-half years of operations, OceanGate invested in undersea technologies and support equipment, including the acquisition of the submersible Antipodes and two robotic vehicles. The company also purchased a second submersible in 2012, which was rebuilt into Cyclops 1, a working prototype for Titan, a submersible capable of reaching depths as deep as 4,000 meters1.
Today, OceanGate owns and operates three 5-person submersibles, each designed for a specific range of depths. These are the Titan, capable of reaching 4000 meters; Cyclops 1, capable of reaching 500 meters; and Antipodes, capable of reaching 305 meters3. These submersibles are used for a variety of purposes such as site survey, scientific research, film production, and exploration travel to depths as great as 4000 meters (2.5 miles)3. They provide a unique underwater platform to conduct a wide array of experiments to test equipment or expedite sensitive research in deep ocean environments3.
OceanGate’s operations encompass site surveys and inspections, research and data collection, film and media production, and deep-sea testing. In site surveys and inspections, they inspect underwater infrastructure, wrecks, or sensitive environmental habitats without resurfacing3. For research and data collection, their modularly designed submersibles allow scientists to configure or attach data collection devices needed for each project3. In film and media production, their crewed submersibles serve as stable platforms for underwater filming and collaboration by directors, hosts, and camera crew3.
In addition to these services, OceanGate offers comprehensive expeditions for a variety of oceanographic missions. They provide crewed submersible support to expeditions designed to create unique experiences, with a focus on safety, proactive communication, and client satisfaction4. Some of their past expeditions include surveys of the Salish Sea, the Greater Farallones, and the Andrea Doria, among others4. They have an ongoing expedition called the Titanic Survey Expedition scheduled for the summer of 2023.
To fully cover OceanGate’s services and activities, further research would be needed on specific past expeditions and the technical details of the submersibles. Additionally, more information on the future plans and aspirations of the company would help complete the picture.
Image Credit: Aaron Ulsh