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Teddy Tucker

Ocean Explorer . Salvage Diver . Shipwreck Hunter

May 8th, 1925 – June 9th, 2014

Edward “Teddy” Bolton Tucker was born in Bermuda on May 8th, 1925 to Edward Henry and Sue Taliaferro Bolton. Teddy became an underwater explorer, teacher, treasure hunter, and pioneer.
He earned the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II. Other achievements include the discovery of more than 100 ship wrecks off the Bermuda coast, work on the Beebe science project with National Geographic and collaboration with the University of Maryland.

Edward ‘Teddy’ Tucker

Edward ‘Teddy’ Tucker, born on September 8, 1925, in Bermuda, was a pioneering figure in marine archaeology and a dedicated historian. Growing up in Bermuda, Tucker was surrounded by the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, which sparked his enduring fascination with maritime history and exploration. From an early age, he displayed a keen interest in the mysteries of the sea and the tales of ships lost to its depths. Tucker’s thirst for knowledge led him to pursue studies in marine biology and archaeology, laying the groundwork for his future career as a marine archaeologist.

Career Beginnings:

In the 1950s, Tucker embarked on his first expeditions to explore Bermuda’s underwater world. Armed with little more than a diving mask and a sense of adventure, he began his quest to uncover the island’s maritime treasures. Despite the challenges of primitive diving equipment and limited resources, Tucker’s determination and perseverance proved invaluable as he delved into the depths in search of shipwrecks and artifacts.

Significant Discoveries:

Over the course of his career, Tucker made numerous significant discoveries that reshaped our understanding of Bermuda’s maritime history. One of his most notable finds was the wreck of the Sea Venture, an English ship that met its fate off the coast of Bermuda in 1609. Tucker’s meticulous excavation of the site provided a rare glimpse into the lives of the early settlers and the struggles they faced in the New World. His discoveries helped piece together the puzzle of Bermuda’s colonial past, shedding light on a pivotal moment in the island’s history.

In addition to the Sea Venture, Tucker uncovered a multitude of other shipwrecks, each with its own unique story to tell. From Spanish galleons to British warships, each discovery added a new chapter to Bermuda’s rich maritime heritage, preserving a vital piece of the island’s history for future generations.

Advocacy and Preservation:

Beyond his role as an archaeologist, Tucker was a tireless advocate for the preservation of Bermuda’s maritime heritage. Recognizing the importance of protecting underwater archaeological sites from looting and destruction, he worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the need for conservation efforts. His advocacy efforts played a crucial role in establishing policies and regulations to safeguard Bermuda’s underwater treasures, ensuring that they would be protected for generations to come.


Teddy Tucker’s legacy as a pioneering marine archaeologist and historian continues to inspire generations of explorers and researchers. His groundbreaking discoveries and unwavering dedication to preserving Bermuda’s maritime heritage have left an indelible mark on the field of marine archaeology. Through his work, Tucker not only unearthed lost pieces of history but also instilled a sense of pride and appreciation for Bermuda’s seafaring past.

Personal Life:

Outside of his professional pursuits, Tucker was known for his adventurous spirit and love of the ocean. When he wasn’t diving or excavating shipwrecks, he could often be found sailing the waters of Bermuda, sharing his passion for the sea with others. Tucker’s boundless enthusiasm and infectious curiosity left an impression on all who knew him, inspiring countless individuals to explore the wonders of the ocean.


New York Times Deaths TUCKER, TEDDY

Published: June 27, 2014

TUCKER–Teddy. Teddy Tucker, MBE, Undersea Pioneer: May 8, 1925 June 9, 2014. The many members of his exploring and environmentalist families salute this quietly innovative, groundbreaking adventurer. In his distinctive way, Teddy went steadily about the business of opening the oceans and their many mysteries to scientific and popular knowledge. And he always had fun, probing, teaching, seeking. His many achievements earned him the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II; he discovered over a hundred Bermuda shipwrecks; in 1955 he recovered the gold and emerald Tucker Cross from the San Pedro; he pioneered marine archeological work with the Smithsonian’s Mendel Peterson and helped him perfect the grid system for surveying and conserving shipwrecks; he worked with Professor Genie Clark from the University of Maryland on six-gill sharks; and had a multi-year collaboration with Emory Kristof of National Geographic on the Beebe science project. He always said he learned a lot about the ocean the hard way, direct from the depths. Teddy used his quick-study mind on tens of thousands of hours beneath the ocean and an equal amount of time with books on nautical history and marine biology. His intimate understanding of the world’s largest, oldest, and least known ecosystem and his willingness to share what he learned attracted some of the best and brightest undersea and space pioneers. Among the scientists, photographers, and astronauts who spent time with him in Bermuda: Dr. Greg Stone, Dr. Steve Katona, Dr. Clyde Roper, Steve Blasco, David Doubilet, Pete Conrad, Deke Slayton, and Kathy Sullivan. A huge part of the joy for those who shared a boat ride (or a plunge) with Teddy was partaking of the benefits of his incomparable story-telling ability. A master raconteur, he would finish a story with bell-like laughter that lit up the face of everyone within earshot. He had served in the Royal Navy in the Second World War and returned to Bermuda to start a career in marine salvage. His interest in both the practical and scientific aspects of salvage shifted to a passion for marine science. He believed that “the best education is self-taught: all you need is a head and heart hungry for information.” And, most crucially, a sense of humour. His longtime friend, the author Peter Benchley, used him as an inspiration for Quint in “Jaws” and made him the central character in “The Deep.” He described Teddy as “a walking encyclopedia and one of the great autodidacts in the history of science–a self taught expert on ships, coins, nautical history, underwater archeology, painting, glassware and armament.” Teddy had more time beneath the sea than any explorer including Jacques Cousteau, often diving in no more than a pair of shorts and some sneakers. He was a creature of the ocean. For more than eight decades, Mother Ocean was Teddy’s muse and mentor. He devoted his life to teasing out her secrets and passing them along to his friends. He believed that “we do two things in life: learn and contribute.” Teddy loved Mother Ocean and she loved him back. Now they are one. Thank you shipmate, from all of us fortunate enough to share the ocean planet with you, for those good times above and below the sea. And bless you Edna and Wendy for sharing the most important man in your life.


Teddy mused that: ‘a day not spent in the underwater world, a day not spent diving, would seem to me a day lost, wasted and empty’. This love of the ocean was married to a hunger for knowledge, a sharp mind and a photographic memory. ‘Here is a man who, on his own, has become one of the world’s leading experts on everything from coins to ships, to nautical history, to underwater archaeology, to painting and glassware. Here is a man who had been dismissed for many years by serious scientists, and only now have they begun to realize that he knows 10 times more than most of them do.’ – Peter Benchley 1994 (American writer – Author of the novel Jaws)


(Featured Photo: Teddy Tucker, July 2013  by Jennifer Hayes)

Edward “Teddy” Bolton Tucker Papers https://scrcguides.libraries.wm.edu/repositories/2/resources/8073

Paid Notice: Deaths TUCKER, TEDDY Published: June 27, 2014 https://archive.nytimes.com/query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage-9D03E3D71F3AF934A15755C0A9629D8B63.html

Recent Videos – Teddy Tucker
Teddy Tucker working the Highburn Cay wreck, 1960s

Teddy Tucker Videos @ Bermudians VLOG

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