Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
There’s one thing present in all of Beau Ouimette’s videos, whether he’s telling viewers to “Hold your breath!” before scouring a river bottom for treasure, gold hunting in an old mining town, nursing a wild animal back to health, searching for lost artifacts, or exploring creepy abandoned buildings.
And that one thing is: passion. Pick any of the videos on Ouimette’s more than a decade old YouTube channel, and his love for being surrounded by nature while hunting for history’s secrets oozes through every second. While many a creator (including some of our past Millionaires and Creators Going Pro featurees) have now made a career out of hunting for river treasure on YouTube, Ouimette’s channel aquachigger is YouTube’s OG treasure hunting destination. He began uploading videos 12 years ago, chronicling his shallow water diving finds.
Nowdays, Ouimette chronicles all the things we mentioned above and more — and his frequent, diverse uploads have kept his longtime fans on the line, plus attracted enough new viewers that Ouimette’s now officially a YouTube Millionaire.
Obviously that’s a milestone to celebrate, but there’s also another accomplishment to mark. Earlier this year, Ouimette made the jump many creators dream of, going from internet to TV with a star host spot on the History Channel’s miniseries River Hunters. He, along with cohost Rick Edwards (BBC’s !mpossible), spent eight episodes exploring the U.K.’s largely unplumbed rivers for treasures untold.
Off the back of that series’ success, Ouimette is prepping a proposal for another series, which he hopes to pitch to Discovery Channel. While TV is a new and exciting facet of his video career, however, he’s still primarily focused on YouTube, where he plans to continue documenting his adventures for years to come.
Check out our chat with him below.
Tubefilter: How does it feel to hit one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?
Beau Ouimette: It’s a very humbling experience realizing that so many people have an interest in my videos, as they represent what I like to do in my actual life. I’m a very shy person, but feel that I am among friends as I shoot the videos, knowing that my fans are so supportive even when I’m a goofball.
Tubefilter: Tell us about you! Where are you from? How did you get into your various (very rad) pursuits, like caving, scuba diving, and paragliding?
BO: Grew up on a rural farm in West Virginia and have a lifelong love of outdoors. All of the hobbies I have grew out of my desire to find treasure and understand history. So I scuba dive, fly a powered paraglider, ride dirt bikes, camp, and use any other tools like that in my quest to discover history and tell a good story.
Tubefilter: What made you decide to start a YouTube channel?
BO: I started my YouTube channel about 12 years ago because the online forums I would frequent became very toxic and not family-friendly. I found on YouTube that I could tell my own story, and control the narrative of the discussions that might follow. I strive to create a safe and pleasant space for children and adults alike on my channel and in the comment section.
Tubefilter: Tell us about some of your favorite treasure hunting finds!
BO: One of my favorite river treasure finds was finding a large gold wedding band. It was a men’s ring with a phone number inscribed on the inside. When I called the number to return it, the wife answered, and when I explained what I was doing, she let out a squeal, and I could hear her yell to her husband, “See, I told you so. I told you putting our phone number in the ring might work one day to get it back if you ever lost it.” I thought that was funny, and they were very very grateful to have the ring back.
Tubefilter: What do you think makes your content stand out despite all the noise on YouTube?
BO: I think my content stands out because it is family-friendly and interesting. I also do so many different things, things that children might enjoy, and things that parents are happy to steer their children into exploring.
Tubefilter: How do you come up with video ideas and keep your audience coming back for more?
BO: My videos are inspired by my daily activities. I make videos of me doing the things I love doing. I strive to inspire others to try the activities that I so enjoy, and find great joy in the feedback I get from my fans when they do those things — and sometimes they tell me that it changed their life.
Tubefilter: How long does the average video take you to make, from conception to posting?
BO: I may spend anywhere from four to eight hours outside doing the activity I am making a video of. I may edit that footage for one or two hours. After uploading the video, which can take several hours, it’s just a matter of another 30 minutes or so to prepare it for publication.
Tubefilter: When did you start noticing your audience really picking up? Was there one specific video that attracted a lot of attention? How are you growing your audience?
BO: I think my channel got the biggest boost when I started doing my river treasure videos. I was the first one on YouTube to jump in the river with a mask and snorkel or scuba dive to look for things that were lost by kayakers, tubers, and people in rafts. That being such a novelty at the time, and me finding so much stuff, captured the attention of the public, and it allowed my channel to grow rapidly, with many subs. Today, a lot of YouTubers have picked up on that and become very successful. I am so happy that I helped inspire others to do those things and become successful.
Tubefilter: What else do you get up to in your daily life?
BO: One of the things I most enjoy is working outdoors, managing my property to create a safe haven for wild animals. That includes clearing sections of woods little by little, and allowing other sections to grow up over time. I also enjoy creating water features like ponds scattered about to help the amphibious populations and provide water for the wild animals that may pass through.
Tubefilter: What’s your favorite part of making content specifically for YouTube?
BO: I most enjoying making content for YouTube because I have complete control over the content. I also control how the discussions might develop and can nip in the bud anything that looks like it might get out of hand and become not family-friendly. I create a safe area where parents can watch with their children and have a learning experience, but also have a good time.
Tubefilter: What’s next for your channel? Any plans looking to the future?
BO: I hope that my channel continues to grow, and that people do not lose interest in watching the things I do. I have also begun to dabble in TV. I recently costarred in an eight-episode treasure hunting series for the History Channel, and I am currently working on a proposal for a treasure hunting series for the Discovery Channel. I think that this will complement my YouTube channel, but I will keep my YouTube channel my first and foremost priority.
You can add yourself to the ranks of Ouimette’s more-than-a-million YouTube subscribers at his channel YouTube.com/aquachigger.