OceanGate CEO Admits in Old Interview He Preferred to Be 'Inspired' in Hiring Decisions In Lieu of Hiring Experienced Mariners

In an extraordinary — although sadly unsurprising — interview, Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate (the company currently in the news for having lost a small submarine of tourists on a joy ride of the sunken Titanic, told Teledyne Marine his employees are not “50 year old white guys” who may have had military or other marine experience. Rather, he went with younger, “inspiring” employees because “anybody can drive the sub.”


“When I started the business, one of the things you’ll find, there are other sub-operators out there, but they typically have, uh, gentlemen who are ex-military submariners, and they — you’ll see a whole bunch of 50-year-old white guys. I wanted our team to be younger, to be inspirational and I’m not going to inspire a 16-year-old to go pursue marine technology, but a 25-year-old, uh, you know, who’s a sub pilot or a platform operator or one of our techs can be inspirational. So we’ve really tried to get, um, very intelligent, motivated, younger individuals involved because we’re doing things that are completely new…We can train people to do that, we can train people to pilot the sub, we use a game controller so anyone can drive the sub.”

Hoo boy. Where to start?

First, the submersible is still missing and as Streiff pointed out this morning, the trapped explorers — including the 61-year-old Rush himself — may still be alive. From The New York Post:

Rush’s Everett, Wash.-based company has made two previous trips to the 1912 wreckage of the “unsinkable” ship, which is 12,500 feet underwater at the bottom of the Atlantic some 370 miles off the coast of Canada.

The founder and CEO — who navigates the missing Titan submersible with a cheap Amazon video game joystick — has been trapped on the tiny vessel since Sunday with four wealthy adventurers who paid $250,000 apiece for the tour.


As horrifying as that is, Rush is really, tragically, just a man of his time. Current Western culture has been embracing the insane idea that age and skin color are somehow useful in determining quality of work or experience. As absolutely racist and ageist as that sounds, it is nonetheless happening everywhere, fueled by the push for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in corporate boardrooms and in academia.

A recent, high-profile example comes in the form of Lt. Gen. DeAnna Burt, Space Force’s deputy chief of space operations for operations, cyber, and nuclear, who recently suggested she sometimes uses factors other than skill, qualifications, and experience when considering people for employment. Speaking about what she sees as anti-LGBTQ efforts in the states, Burt alluded to desiring what can only be called “safe spaces” when making hiring decisions.

“When I look at potential candidates — say for squadron command — I strive to match the right person to the right job. I consider their job performance and relevant experience first,” Burt went on. “However, I also look at their personal circumstances and their family is also an important factor.”

“If a good match for a job does not feel safe being themselves and performing at their highest potential at a given location, I am compelled to consider a different candidate and perhaps less qualified,” she continued.

The general said she was called to speak at the June 7 event “because creating opportunities for conversations where we can find those individuals is critical to readiness, and resilience and overall well-being of our force.”


While Rush, who may not be found alive, may ultimately go down as making a poor choice when immediately discarding experienced mariners to pilot his subs, he’s certainly not alone in his misguided efforts.

While we pray that the OceanGate story has a happy ending, we can also hope that perhaps the tragedy (or near-tragedy) can inspire a return to sanity.


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