Captain Steve Gatto has been photographing the deeper offshore shipwrecks for over three decades. He has made close to two hundred dives spanning thirty years, down to the Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria. The Andrea Doria sank on July 26, 1956 in 255’ feet of water. His quest to take one-of-a kind pictures and video leads him deep inside shipwrecks to get a difficult shot, thus chronicling history before it’s lost forever to future generations due to the corrosive action of the sea.
His shipwreck photographs and written articles have appeared in magazines and books. He devotes the winter months to researching shipwrecks and lecturing. He has been deep air diving since 1982 between the range of 200’-290’ feet of water. Other shipwrecks he dove include the civil war wreck U.S.S. Monitor, the famed Nantucket lightship, which was sunk by the Olympic (the Titanic’s sister ship) on May 15, 1934, Submarines, Tankers, Freighters, Sailing vessels, and most recently the first group of divers to find, dive and photograph the German submarine U-550. The U-550 vanished on April 16, 1944 after sinking a tanker and being engaged by three destroyer escorts. She was found by covering over 100 square nautical miles and lies in approximately 100 meters of water. Some of Steve’s other mixed gas dives include the “Billy Mitchell” wrecks Ostfriesland in 380’ feet of water, and the Frankfurt in 415’ feet of water.
Steve and his dive buddy Tom Packer headed up both tactical and diving operations involving the successful recovery of five missing crew members from the sunken tugboat Thomas Hebert.
Steve also serves as a first responder with fellow dive team members in vessel accidents. Some of those include the fishing vessels Adriatic, Beth Dee Bob, Alexander, and were first to dive the chemical tanker Bow Mariner which exploded and sank in 2004 off Virginia. In 2009 the team dove the fishing vessel Lady Mary that sank with six crew members only one of which survived. They worked closely with the Coast Guard and NTSB on these accidents. These accidents prompted Steve to develop the “ETL” Emergency Transmitting Locator. It works like a 911 telephone call, but on ships. When a mayday is called out over a marine radio it also sends a GPS location so that a speedy recovery could be effected. He now holds a patent for this device.
Steve is a member of A.P.C.A. (American Professional Captains Association) keeping his 100 ton captains license active. He is an associate member of the oldest dive club in the US, the Boston Sea Rovers. The Sea Rovers have a flag expedition program of which he is a committee member along with Captain Eric Takakjian (owner operator of Quest Marine Services), Brian Skerry (National Geographic Photographer), Patricia Morton (Explorer), and Emory Kristof (National Geographic Photographer/Author). Steve is also a member of American Society of Oceanographers, ShipREX, and is a chairman on the diving panel of SNAME (Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers) Panel SD-7. These members donate their time to try and understand forensically why ships sink, new and old and make recommendations to make shipping safer. He is part of a collaborative effort to write guidelines on how to forensically study a ship after it has sunk. These guidelines are now available at http://www.sname.org/Pubs/Books.
Captain Steve Gatto