In response to the article "Captains Outrageous" in the January 15 issue, I am writing to inform the readers and the diving community of my viewpoint. I am a diving instructor in Broward County, and having been on many of the local charter boats, I can attest to several incidents in which Capt. Mike Halprin has been anything but a courteous dive captain and charter-boat operator.
For instance, many of the dive sites in the community are popular with commercial and private boats, such as the site of the Ancient Mariner that sits in 70 feet of water just south of the Boca Inlet. One day, five of my students and I were on a "six-pack" dive boat, and the captain of our boat called Captain Halprin on marine-band radio channel 18 and asked where his divemaster (instructor) could safely "tie" the boat off, since Captain Halprin's boat was already tied to the wreck. This call was not answered, so we pulled up alongside his boat, the Seahorse, and politely asked again. Captain Halprin snickered and said, "You figure it out!" This endangered the divers that were already in the water because we had no idea where Captain Halprin's boat was anchored. You call this camaraderie?
Another incident occurred while we were entering the Hillsboro Inlet with some of my students. We passed the Seahorse on its way out of the inlet, and Captain Halprin's divemaster yelled to our divers that they were on the "wrong" boat! Captain Halprin was laughing in agreement. This is just another example of his inability to respect and get along with others.
In conclusion, all of the other dive boats in Pompano that I have been on all help each other out by communicating over the airwaves and sharing business. Captain Halprin's unwillingness to do either of these is a danger to himself and others on the water. Diving is a sport, not a game, which requires good sportsmanship for the safety and well-being of all concerned. Captain Halprin does not have to like any of the other dive operations, but he should be professional enough to respect the diving community as a whole.
The Halprin Conspiracy Builds
I feel that your "Captains Outrageous" article was a little too one-sided. In the article Mr. and Mrs. Mike Halprin make accusations that I am harassing them. I would like to respond to these allegations.
Here is a list of the Halprins' activities that have directly or indirectly involved me over the last six months:
1.Their writing countless letters and making numerous phone calls to the Pompano Beach Code Enforcement authorities about other people's boats being illegally docked.
2.Their endless hours of recording radio traffic on marine-band channel 18, which was then edited and sent to the addresses of people that Mr. and Mrs. Halprin perceive to be their enemies.
3.Mr. and Mrs. Halprin scheduled a meeting with the Zoning and Planning director of Pompano Beach and complained that they were being harassed by thugs. This meeting took place while I was looking into getting a variance allowing me to dock my charter boat at a local hotel -- the Zoning and Planning director approves these variances.
4.The Halprins believe that the Florida Marine Patrol was in cahoots with area dive operators (including me) to ruin their charter business.
5.This past September Mr. Halprin and I encountered each other in the Intracoastal Waterway. He blew kisses at me (which I thought very strange), and then he told me that he wanted to meet me somewhere, and he would "take care of me." To this day I do not know if that was a threat or a sexual advance. I am hoping it was a threat. This incident was witnessed by five other passengers on my boat, who are willing to testify to this fact.
6.An associate of theirs threatened to physically harm me just a few weeks ago. This person also told me and a number of people around town that he was going to "kick my ass." The authorities have this on record.
In closing I would like to say that in my years as a dive operator in Pompano, I have never physically threatened the Halprins or harassed them in any way. I do not wish to see them go out of business. Mr. and Mrs. Halprin need to drop all of this crap and concentrate on building a business rather than trying to ruin an industry.