Oceangate Inc., headquartered in Everett, Washington, plans to be the first private company ever to offer commercial deep-sea dives aboard a submersible to the site of the Titanic shipwreck. Trips could begin as early as 2019. A submersible is an underwater vehicle that launches from and returns to a support vessel, while submarines are autonomous.
According CEO Stockton Rush, diving began as a hobby. He built his first submersible to avoid colder dives and, when it was finished, realized that he was among only a hundred private sub operators in the world. Wanting to tap into the small community of ocean explorers, Rush turned his submersible hobby into a business. Currently, the company has three vessels: one that can descend to depths of 1,000 feet; another called Cyclops 1 that can go 1,640 feet; and a third known as the Titan which Rush plans to take 13,000 feet below sea level.
Unlike other sub operations that require customers who want to rent a submersible to go to a location and time set by the rental company, OceanGate subs can go anywhere a charter customer wants to go. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the company also deploys some of the latest marine technologies like a carbon composite pressure hull, a control system with fewer buttons and a PlayStation controller, an acoustic monitoring system that analyzes how the vessel is responding to pressure changes in real time and an innovative way to launch and recover the submersibles.
Manned research submersibles have contributed to some of the major research breakthroughs of the last 50 years. An industry leader in the operation of advanced manned submersibles, OceanGate has made a significant investment in research, development and manufacturing of the “next generation” of submersibles. Since 2009, OceanGate’s fleet of manned submersibles has allowed teams of experts to perform a variety of industrial, research and exploration tasks in harsh deep-sea environments.
A pillar of Washington state’s economy, the maritime sector contributes $30 billion in economic activity and encompasses 2,300 companies and 146,000 jobs in the state according to the Washington State Department of Commerce (2017). Home to a large network of public-private partnerships, Washington state’s workers are highly educated and trained in skills from maritime science and aviation to software and nanotechnology. The state plays a central role in the global maritime industry and ongoing innovations in marine technologies from seafood processing to manned submersibles demonstrates a growing network of opportunities for business and investment.
For more information on Washington state’s maritime sector, visit Choose Washington.