It's safe to say that when an iceberg pierced the Titanic on its maiden voyage just over 100 years ago, no one was thinking about turning the shipwreck into a tourist attraction. But now, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the sinking, some travel companies are offering tours of the site. Visitors can take an expensive excursion or they can simply look on Google, where the wreck is pictured in all its rustic, 3-D glory.
It's a surreal sight ― especially if you know that when the Titanic went down in 1912 it claimed more than 1,500 lives. But is visiting the ship such a good idea? Absolutely, yes!
Package Tours On Titanic Shipwreck Underwater Excursions
There are now two companies offering underwater tours of the Titanic's wreckage. Bluefish and OceanGate, which has its headquarters in Everett Washington, both offer dives to the site that cost roughly $60,000- $105,129 per person, not including airfare or lodging. But what do you get for this price? Here's what to know about the tours:
Now that the wreckage is covered with silt again and no longer clear enough for photographs, some pictures taken on previous dives have been reproduced on tours' brochures. Up-close views of Titanic's exterior can also be seen in the James Cameron documentary Titanic.
Bluefish's brochures claim that "the wreck is eminently photographable providing an opportunity for multiple dive photography." OceanGate's website notes that there are at least a dozen friezes from the ship above water. Both tour companies are adamant about protecting the site and the body of water around it, possibly due to the controversy that arose last year when one company was using a ship to drop tourists onto the wreckage.
A Bluefish video demonstrates what it's like inside the sub by dropping a GoPro camera into an empty one as well as dead still sharks. It also shows some footage of Titanic itself before it was covered up with silt and debris.
Tourists will use OceanGate's custom-built submersibles made out of titanium, not unlike those used for space missions like Apollo 13. The sub is big enough for three passengers and has a window, touchscreen monitors for navigation, a pressure gauge, and all the equipment that tourists will need to live.
Both companies will take precautions like deploying a safety diver. They also plan to check guests' lungs for signs of pneumonia before each dive to ensure that they are healthy enough.
The Titanic sank in 1912 and many people died, but the wreck was never declared a cemetery or war gravesite, so knocking on it is prohibited. Both companies also request that tourists don't take chunks of the ship as souvenirs, which has happened before with other famous wrecks like the Lusitania.
5 Things To Take Note About the Titanic Wreck Site
Once you’ve decided on which company to go through to visit this sunken piece of history, the basic accommodations are all set! While the entire site itself is a historical wonder, there are a few things to note. Below are different things to be aware of before you take a dive.
What To Bring With You When Visiting The Underwater Wreckage
According to Blue Marble Private, divers should bring nothing larger than a handbag with them on the excursion. Their kit will include a snorkel plus mask, computer, and regulator, wetsuit, and boots.
What To Expect When Diving At The Site Of The Titanic Wreck
Divers will be able to explore the three most important parts of the wreckage, including its bow section, stern and engine room. Each area has plenty of marine life, so you might feel as though you're swimming through a fishbowl.
What To Know When Diving At The Site Of The Titanic Wreck
Dive trips are run with a maximum of 12 divers at one time, and the company cautions that diving can be strenuous if you're not fit or healthy enough for it. This is why they recommend medical checks before each excursion.
What Not To Do When Visiting The Underwater Wreckage Of The Titanic
You must report any sightings of the wreck to the government agencies responsible for its protection, i.e., the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency (MCA) in Belfast. You should also respect all regulations that surround this precious archeological site.
What To Expect From The Marine Life At The Site Of The Titanic Wreck
Titanic wreck excursions are perfect for snorkelers and scuba divers alike, and visitors will be able to reap the benefits of both in one visit. There are plenty of fish to see if you're snorkeling, and you might even spot some whale sharks, too.
What To Know About The Safety Measures In Place For The Tour
According to the Titanic wreck tour operator's website, there are a number of safety measures in place to ensure that visitors have an enjoyable experience. These include two divers per dive, a support crew on the surface, and medical staff. Visitors should always bring a whistle with them, especially since it is an international sign of distress. A knife and glow stick will also be useful in an emergency.
Titanic wreck trips are a unique and exciting way to learn about the history of one of the most famous vessels to ever sail the seas, which is why they're so popular among Titanic enthusiasts as well as people who have never seen it before. They're also great for anyone who loves the water since it's a chance to explore something man-made while enjoying the natural beauty of an underwater ecosystem. The fact that you can set foot where no other human has for nearly 100 years only adds to the appeal, making this one of the most fascinating excursions you can take.