Space is often touted as the next boom in tourism, but how about traveling to the depths of the ocean to see the world’s most famous shipwreck?
OceanGate Expeditions sends citizen crews on the RMS Titanic with a team of dive experts, scientists and filmmakers. After successful expeditions in 2021 and 2022, the company is now accepting applications to join its 2023 team.
More than 100 years ago, the Titanic – described at the time as “unsinkable” – swept up an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean on its maiden voyage in 1912 and plunged into the ocean. While some managed to escape on lifeboats, nearly 1,500 people died. The wreck was not discovered until 1985, about 380 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
Now OceanGate is giving a small group of paying tourists the chance to see the Titanic during a 10-day mission, including eight days at sea, according to a tourist brochure. Guests pay $250,000 to take a five-crew submersible, called the “Titan,” about 2.5 miles to the wreck on the ocean floor.
Only six “mission specialist” positions are available for each mission, the brochure adds.
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OceanGate’s submersible was designed in conjunction with NASA to provide a safe experience at this depth. OceanGate said the atmospheric pressure inside Titan “remains constant and equal to what we feel at sea level, eliminating the need for decompression during ascent.”
Once on the bottom, Titan’s cameras provide a live view of Titanic that crew members can view on a large screen on board or on their own tablets.
Zoom on the remains of the Titanic. (Credit: OceanGate Expeditions)
“With the click of a button, mission specialists can select a camera, monitor sonar, or view preloaded images of deep-sea species and the Titanic as they discover an entirely alien world only a handful people have had the privilege of seeing experience,” the tourist brochure states.
The Titantic 2022 expedition captured the first-ever 8K footage of the wreckage, displaying an incredible level of detail and color.
“We see new details in this footage. For example, I had never seen the name of the anchor manufacturer, Noah Hingley & Sons Ltd., on the port anchor,” said OceanGate expert Rory Golden. Titanic Expeditions and Veteran Titanic Diver. in a statement last month. “I’ve been studying the wreck for decades and have done several dives, and I don’t recall seeing any other image showing this level of detail.”
Titanic Expedition requirements: 18+, “core strength” and $250,000
OceanGate is accepting applications from those interested in joining the Titanic 2023 Expedition as a “Mission Specialist”.
Those who join the crew will be part of the company’s mission to conduct annual scientific surveys of the wreck to add data and images ‘for the scientific record’, documenting the condition of the vessel and marine life at the site, as well as valuation changes as the wreckage continues to degrade.
Those interested must be at least 18 years old at the start of the expedition and able to board small boats in rough seas, according to the company. They must also have a valid passport and “be comfortable in dynamic environments where plans and schedules may change”.
Physically, they must have basic strength, balance, mobility and flexibility. OceanGate gives examples such as climbing a 6 foot stepladder or carrying 20 pounds.
Last but not least, they have to pay $250,000 for training and mission support.
“Happiness, joy, all the emotions,” Chelsea, a mission specialist chosen for the 2022 expedition, said of the chance to finally see the Titanic. “It was more amazing than I could have ever imagined.”
After completing the online application, an OceanGate representative will contact you to answer questions and provide another application. From there, they will participate in a Skype/Zoom interview. If selected, they will pay and begin training.
The training covers a variety of roles such as submersible navigation and piloting, tracking and communications, and submersible maintenance and operations, according to Oceangate. Selected participants perform a submersible dive and assist on the surface when other teams dive.
The team departs St. John’s, Newfoundland aboard a dive support vessel, called Horizon Arctic, at the start of the mission. Described as a “work ship”, the Horizon Arctic has a mess deck, comfortable lounges and even a training center.
In the submersible, the crew will spend “three to five hours” exploring the wreckage of the Titanic, the company said.
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This story was reported from Cincinnati.