oto logo XL2015 has been an exciting year for OceanGate Foundation. We launched our Open The Oceans program early in the year and participated in a number of different field expeditions. This update offers a review of our progress this year to inspire the next generation and push the boundaries of ocean exploration with our partners.

Our most important achievement in 2015 was the creation of a project-based program for students which is designed to scale in size and scope so that it can work in multiple locations with relatively little modification. As we build up Open The Oceans with our partners and collaborators, we will inspire and engage ocean explorers of all kinds to help expand our impact.

We launched the Open The Oceans program with the idea of creating a set of synergistic activities that would leverage our unique partnership with OceanGate, Inc. and serve to inspire students to pursue deep-sea exploration. During the first half of 2015 we focused on 2 student challenges, and used these challenges to learn whether our planned design would work. We also hosted several static displays submersibles to reach a wider audience.

These experiences confirmed our belief in their power and appeal and prepares us to refine their design to inform our future activities. Want to learn more? You can read more about this work at this post.

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During 2015 we pushed the boundaries of deep-sea exploration with our partners. In August we sailed with OceanGate Inc. to the Flower Garden Banks in the Gulf of Mexico, where they proved the feasibility of their Launch and Retreival System for their next generation submersible Cyclops 1. Shortly afterward we collaborated with NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries and Ocean Exploration Trust to map and sample the wreck of the USS Macon, an airship that crashed off the coast of California in 1935.

It was a busy and exciting field season, and we plan to use the content produced by these expeditions as inspiration for student challenges in the future. Want to learn more? You can read more about this work at this second post.

Planning for the Future

Antipodes getting ready to dive into Elliot Bay, just off the Seattle waterfront.

Antipodes getting ready to dive into Elliot Bay, just off the Seattle waterfront.

Oceanographers spend most of their time honing their skills and techniques in the lab or local environment in preparation for field expeditions in far-flung locations. To expand our Open The Oceans program to have a national impact we are employing a similar strategy: developing a strong program in Puget Sound waters that can be expanded regionally and then nationally by 2018.

In October 2015 we partnered with Seattle Central College to submit a proposal to the National Science Foundation to build upon the work we completed this year.  It includes a scaffolded approach to allow us to attract and mentor students earlier in their exploration of STEM learning. We have created a solid framework to extend our program to other regions and we will hear in early 2016 if we are awarded funding. We are working to change our revenue mix from 100% donor funded to one that is a mix of donor gifts, foundation or government grants, corporate sponsorships and other revenue opportunities.

We need your help

2016 will be a big year for OceanGate Foundation. We are excited to grow our program and create more high impact experiences for students, but we need to increase our budget to achieve that goal. Your support will help us get OceanGate Foundation to the next level, click the button below to give online!