The Early Years

Jim’s love of archaeology finally led him to shipwrecks in 1980. In 1981, while a member of the National Park Service, he was sent to the nearby Presidio of San Francisco to learn how to dive with US Army dive instructor Lawrence “Dutch” Bowen. Bowen taught Jim that there “are old divers and there are bold divers, but there are no old, bold divers.” Dutch’s training has kept Jim alive in a number of tight spots over the years.
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Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin (PX-15) is a 130-ton oceanographic research submersible originally built in Switzerland for famed undersea explorer and scientist Jacques Piccard and most famously employed on a historic 30-day “drift mission” along the eastern seaboard of the United States in 1969. After that incredible mission, the ship was used for a few more dives, then ran aground in 1971. Eventually she was abandoned and ending up in a scrap yard. Through a series of fortunate coincidences, in 1999, Jim, then Executive Director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum, was notified and subsequently, he led the crew who restored the submersible. Ben Franklin now resides in front of the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

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Filming

Jim travels to Benicia and gets ready to film once again with Monte Markham. And he visits Clamp, a diver support and salvage vessel used in atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946.
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Titanic

Jim first saw the famous ship up close in 2000 as an on board lecturer in a Mir submersible. It was a truly awe-inspiring experience for him. Today, in 2011, he has the distinct honor and privilege to be the archaeological Principal Investigator of the iconic ship as part of an elite team of global scientists intent on virtually raising the Titanic with 3-D imaging and mapping every inch of her wreck and debris area.
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Sub Marine Explorer

Since stumbling upon the wreck of Sub Marine Explorer in the Panamanian Pearl Islands in 2001, Jim has mounted four expeditions back to her to map and document her ever-changing state of deterioration and recommend plans for her future. The historic sub was an innovative 1865-built craft devised by Julius H. Kroehl, a German-born U.S. engineer, who initially intended it to be used by the U.S. Navy to clear obstructions in the river pathways during the civil war. Sub Marine Explorer is the world’s oldest known submarine with a unique lock-out chamber, which enabled divers to swim out into the waters of Panama to retrieve pearls.

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Institute of Nautical Archaeology

Jim is the past President (2006-2010)  of INA, an organization dedicated to the pursuit of archaeological research to increase knowledge of the evolution of civilization through the location and excavation of submerged and buried ships, submerged ruins, and their associated artifacts.
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The Sea Hunters

Jim was privileged to work as archaeologist and host of the international TV documentary series The Sea Hunters for its full six-season run (2001-2006).  The show was produced by Eco Nova Productions, aired on the National Geographic and History Television Channels and was watched by over 42 million viewers in 172 countries worldwide each year.
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Buried Gold Rush Ships

Since the 1970s, Jim has been involved in digs where these ships – as well as collapsed buildings – have been encountered and archaeologically studied before construction proceeds. Most of these projects have been with his good friend Allen Pastron’s firm Archeo-Tec, who pioneered these types of digs and who has literally exhumed and documented the early history of San Francisco.
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