Unseen footage of the Titanic wreck revealed. How can you visit the dive site?

The dive of a lifetime will take you to the Titanic for €250,000.
The dive of a lifetime will take you to the Titanic for €250,000.   -  Copyright  OceanGate Expeditions
By Lottie Limb

More than 100 years since the Titanic sank - and a quarter of a decade since Leo and Kate immortalised its ill-fated journey on film - the ship has a huge place in the popular imagination.

So it’s strange to think of the real vessel, slowly decaying 3,800 metres down at the bottom of the Atlantic, 400 nautical miles off the coast of Canada.

As a remastered version of James Cameron's Academy Award-winning movie, 'Titanic', hits the screens for its 25th-anniversary, previously unseen footage of a 1986 diving expedition of the wreckage has been released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

If you want to pay the sunken ship a visit - and have €250,000 spare - then you can do so.

US-based ‘civilian exploration’ company OceanGate is gearing up for its annual Titanic expedition, launching in May 2023.

‘First of its kind’ imaging shows Titanic in astonishing detail

OceanGate Expeditions
A view of the Titanic from the Titan viewport.OceanGate Expeditions

Images from the company’s 2022 expedition captured the wreck in 8k detail, giving the best insight yet into what awaits crew members.

“The amazing detail in the 8k footage will help our team of scientists and maritime archaeologists characterise the decay of the Titanic more precisely as we capture new footage in 2023 and beyond,” says OceanGate Expeditions president Stockton Rush.

New details came to light, such as the name of the anchor maker (Noah Hingley & Sons Ltd), which was previously indecipherable on the portside anchor.

“I’ve been studying the wreck for decades and have completed multiple dives, and I can't recall seeing any other image showing this level of detail,” remarks veteran Titanic diver Rory Golden. 

“It is exciting that, after so many years, we may have discovered a new detail that wasn’t as obvious with previous generations of camera technologies.”

OceanGate Expeditions
Capturing the 8K footage allows the team to zoom in and still have 4K quality which they say is key for studying the site.OceanGate Expeditions

The mighty ship’s bow, part of its hull, cargo hold, an enormous anchor chain (each link weighing almost 91kg) and collapsed railings were all caught in high definition.

"One of the most amazing clips shows one of the single-ended boilers that fell to the ocean's floor when the Titanic broke into two," says Golden. "Notably, it was one of the single-ended boilers that was first spotted when the wreck of the Titanic was identified back in 1985."

It was also hoped the footage would support identification of species observed on and around the Titanic.

What does a Titanic expedition involve?

OceanGate Expeditions
Crew members will play "crucial roles" in documenting the wreck, the marine biology and archaeology with 4k video, 3D laser scanning, sonar and more.OceanGate Expeditions

Fewer than 250 people have personally viewed the Titanic and surrounding debris field since the wreck was discovered, according to OceanGate.

That puts ‘mission specialists’ - as the company refers to its crew, rather than mere tourists or passengers - in a very privileged cohort. You’ll need to be 18 years of age with some strong sea legs; able to board small vessels, climb ladders and carry weights.

And have €250,000 to cover ‘the expedition support and training fee’.

Stockton worked with NASA to design the world’s only deep-diving submersible (a small underwater craft) capable of reaching Titanic depths with five crew members aboard.

If chosen, you’ll embark on an eight-day mission with dives on the Titan submersible - apparently named not after the famous boat but the watery moon of Saturn.

The expeditions are part of a “multi-year longitudinal study of the Titanic and its unique biodiverse ecosystem,” adds OceanGate.

While the Titanic is undoubtedly the company’s flagship expedition, it also organises deep dives in the Great Bahama Bank and the mysterious Hudson Canyon - likened to the Grand Canyon underwater.