Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate and one of the individuals aboard the missing submersible in the North Atlantic, has gained recognition as a modern-day Jacques Cousteau—a nature enthusiast, adventurer, and visionary.Rush, 61, has approached his passion for deep-sea exploration with a childlike enthusiasm and a disdain for regulations—a characteristic that has come to the forefront since his vessel, the Titan, went missing on Sunday night.
“In the end, safety itself can become a complete waste,” Stockton expressed in an interview with journalist David Pogue last year. “I mean, if you only seek safety, don’t get out of bed. Don’t step into your car. Don’t do anything.”
On another occasion, Rush proudly admitted to having “broken some rules” throughout his career. “I believe it was General MacArthur who said that you are remembered for the rules you break,” Rush shared in a video interview with YouTuber Alan Estrada last year. “And I’ve broken some rules to achieve what I have. I believe I’ve broken them with sound logic and strong engineering behind me.”
Rush firmly believes that the sea, rather than the sky, provides humanity with the greatest chance of survival when the Earth’s surface becomes uninhabitable. “The future of humankind lies underwater, not on Mars,” he stated to Estrada. “We will establish an underwater base… If we ruin this planet, the best lifeboat for humanity is beneath the waves.”
Driven by his eagerness to explore, Rush has often displayed skepticism, if not outright dismissal, towards regulations that may impede innovation. He referred to the commercial submarine industry as “excessively safe” in a 2019 interview with Smithsonian Magazine, noting that it has stagnated and failed to progress due to burdensome regulations.