Big John
Shogun of The Sea

Captain John F McLaughlin Master CG Certified

Big John Productions Inc License To Thrill

Big John and Lloyd Bridges

Sean Connery with Big John

John stunt-doubled 007 in the James Bond films...

Big John and Toshiyuki "Harold" Sakata aka OddJob

... Real shark (above) ...

... Hollywood shark (below) ...

Big John and Lloyd Bridges
on the set of Sea Hunt

Shark shots to the right are both of a live shark being used in filming for the day ...
Captured and later released (or escaped)...

Shark Wrangling, Big John Style...

Calling Big John - World's busiest stunt diver bites shark, gets girl, saves free world. That's a wrap...

Big John on the 1985 set of Legend with a younger, gentler Tom Cruise
comparing chest hairs
with his favorite Bond,
Sean Connery

Flirting with disaster and Barbara Carrera during the filming of
Never Say Never Again ( 1983 )

Swapping sea
stories with
Lloyd Bridges

Big John and BLUE LAGOON heartthrob
Brooke Shields demonstrating the importance of teamwork - and a good grip - on the set of a Bond flick.

Harold Sakata ( right ) who played GOLDFINGER
villain OddJob, with Big John,
a man who's worked a few odd jobs himself

Big John goes to great lengths, in this case wrestling a sizable tiger shark, to make the scene for

Too Big For His Britches
Big John doubled for Brian Dennehy in COCOON (1985) by wearing a double-sized wetsuit

Bond Bad Guy Richard "Jaws" Kiel
gives Big John a firm handshake.

Prior six panels of magazine copy and images:
Rodale's Scuba Diving Rodale Press © 1997

To Big John - One of the Best Divers, But a Better Friend - Ricou "The Creature"
Ricou Browning as the
Creature From The Black Lagoon
Ricou worked with Big John in
many of the Sea Hunt and
Flipper series episodes;
plus James Bond 007 features
such as Thunderball
and Never Say Never Again

"To Big John - One of the Best Divers, But a Better Friend" - Ricou "The Creature"

Big John in Rooster Cogburn eyepatch with "The Great One" Jackie Gleason, Art Carney & Joyce Randolph
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) with Lotus in Dive Mode ... John pilots the scooter just before being blown up
( 1965 )

Big John is the lead Baddie for SPECTRE known as Emilio Largo
(in the black wet suit and white hair, brandishing first a speargun and then a knife), moving their ill-gotten A-bomb to the Disco Volante when they are attacked by a team of crack ScubaTroopers. Before Bond shows up, many of the orangish-reddish suited Good Guys are killed in a lopsided melee. Click the title above to watch the underwater fight scene.

John jumped in the opening scene as a red ScubaTrooper, then switched sides to the black-clad SPECTRE.

Rigging the Lotus for The Spy Who Loved Me ... Underwater ballet with Salty and Model (not in the `73 film)

Big John trained Charlie Brown the raccoon to feed Flipper at The Miami Seaquarium in 1966 for the TV series - tough to get the 'coon to give up the fish ...

Mercedes freighter grounds in Mollie Wilmot's backyard, Palm Beach FL, Thanksgiving `84
Big John sends her to watery grave April`85
Big John's wife Dorothy dives Mercedes as newest part of Fort Lauderdale's reef

Big John
Elvis the
Miami Vice
for a photo
shoot of a
Lotto TV
in the late
The Miami

John McLaughlin OSI Diver Federal Disaster Squad To A Chamber
In case of
Call Big John
OSI Diver

J F McLaughlin Diver Subject To Bends Take Me To A Decompression Chamber
1968 South America salvage ops - Big John gets down in Gas Hat - Dr Joe MacInnis inspects the mini-sub

Big John strolls Fort Lauderdale Beach on an unusually foggy January morning in 2008

Friday, Oct 20, 1967 - MIAMI BEACH SUN:
Husky Gentleman above has a right to scratch his head. He'd just had a wild but (for him) typical day: First he wrestled with a bear called Drum, who does some of the scenes for Ivan Tors' "Gentle Ben." Then, within hours, he went into a tank to try to revive a tiger shark so Tors could get some underwater scenes for an undersea epic. Who is this man? Why, it's Big John, that's who. "Big John Who?" people ask. "Big John, that's it," says Big John. And off he goes in search of further adventures. For Big John, the adventures come every few hours.

Big John with Susan Backlinie
- Chrissie in "Jaws" 1975 - Top Stunt Person -
Master Diver: Weeki Wachee Mermaid

My Wet Gold Diary by Brooke Shields
TV Guide Cover Article
Brooke Shields with Big John in Wet Gold 1984

WW2 MineSweeper converted to civilian enterprise

Big John aboard Revenge 1961 treasure expedition
to Jamaica and other ports of call in the Caribbean

Revenge in Miami following unanticipated event...
Big John with 16th Century Spanish cannons >>>
Dr George "Papa Topside" Bond with Big John
Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures Buckle

Big John's Commemorative Belt Buckle from "Lucky Lady" 1975 Gene Hackman, Liza Minelli & Burt Reynolds

Big John stunts
as a
British Special
Air Service
(SAS) Officer

in the 1990 production of:
A Little Piece of Sunshine for Frederick Forsythe with Lauren Bacall, Philip Michael Thomas & Chris Cooper

Into The Blue ( 2005 ) Unlike in real life, it takes skill to get this DC3 properly positioned underwater for reel life
Left: CDR Doug Fane Founder & Legendary Commander of UDT-1 during WW2

Big John McLaughlin

Dr Ray McAllister,
FAU Professor, one of the first (1951) diving instructors at the Scripps Institute

Shown Here: Over 180 years of Dive Experience among these three Navy Veterans of WWII

Dr Ray McAllister

Diving Locations McAllister MarineClick above to check out Dr Ray McAllister
at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton
where he is Professor Emeritus of Ocean
Engineering and author of "Diving Locations Boynton Inlet to Dania Pier" and
"Sea Stories from a Diving Dinosaur"

about the author Sea Stories from a Diving Dinosaur
Sea Stories from a Diving Dinosaur

Cdr Doug "Red Dog" Fane
16 Nov 1909 -13 Nov 2002
One of the true pioneers in military combat diving, Cdr Fane was a leader of the U.S Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT), helped prevent disbanding the UDT, evaluated and developed advanced diving equipment, launched new diving techniques, and shared his expertise...

Scuba Schools International Platinum Pro 5000 Diver Big John McLaughlin Date of issue 01/95 Since 1940
Scuba Schools International

Pro 5000

Awarded to:
Big John McLaughlin

8,895 Logged Dives
Since 1940

Issue Date
January 1995

Big John
suited up in his
WWII era
MK-V dive helmet

manufactured for
the US Navy by


Diving Equipment
and Salvage Co
of Milwaukee WI

[ 1836 ] William Cooley led a large expedition to free the Gil Blas, a ship that had beached the previous year. The scale of the operation required all of the settlement's able men. On the next day, January 4, 1836, the Indians attacked the settlement. (now Colee Hammock in Fort Lauderdale FL) Between fifteen and twenty Indians invaded the Cooley house, overpowering the tutor and scalping him.

photo from Big John's files...
Gil Blas Cannon
When Cooley arrived at Indian Key, he was informed that Indians had attempted to acquire arms and ammunition but had been repelled by the garrison in the island's fort.

Meanwhile, more than two hundred people from nearby sought refuge in the fort. Cannons were salvaged from the Gil Blas; the ship was later burned to deny the Indians a chance to recover anything from it.

Lifeguard, Baptist minister, Friend - "The Master" - Erik Albert Jersted 1948-2007

Click here for the GuestBook on Erik

Lifeguard became a Baptist minister
Posted on Thursday, July 12, 2007
by Diana Moskovitz © 2007 Miami Herald Media Company.

Two forces moved Erik Jersted's life: a love of the ocean and a love of the Lord. The first motivated him to become a lifeguard, and he served atop Fort Lauderdale's guard towers for decades. The second motivated him to become a Baptist minister. He was ordained in 1991. Jersted died on Saturday of kidney failure caused by bone cancer. He was 59.

Jersted was born on Feb. 28, 1948, in New York City. He started lifeguarding on the New Jersey shore, then came to Florida and started guarding full-time in Fort Lauderdale on May 24, 1972. There, he became famous among lifeguards across the country for his lifesaving skills and equally wild lifestyle. Jersted was a regular winner at the regional level of competitions like rowing, paddling and American Ironman, said Lt. Jim McCrady of Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue, who is president of the southeast region of the U.S. Lifesaving Association.

Then came the tall tales, like fending off sharks with bang sticks to protect Stella Taylor as she tried swimming from the Bahamas to Florida. Jersted's nickname: the Master. ''That's what everyone used to call him, the Master, for his mastery of all things oriented with lifeguard competitions -- swimming, rowing, paddling,'' McCrady said.

But everything changed in the early 1980s, when Jersted found Jesus. Jersted was at a vitamin shop when a store owner told him that he didn't need supplements, said his wife, Sharon Jersted. The store owner said he needed Jesus. Jersted started attending church, and his heart was converted, Sharon Jersted said. He accepted Jesus as his savior on Oct. 5, 1982, she said. He met his wife at church, where they were married in 1987. He served as a staff minister at Fort Lauderdale's First Baptist for 13 years, his wife said, and in 1991 he was ordained as a minister. His work included helping senior citizens and presiding at hundreds of funerals. ''He enjoyed helping people understand the passing from life to eternity,'' Sharon Jersted said. Jersted left First Baptist in 2002 but continued to worship at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Sharon Jersted said.

At about the same time he returned to lifeguarding full time, then found a job that combined his two loves -- the ocean and the Lord. A Texas company hired him to work as a first mate on yachts while doing mission work in the Bahamas, his wife said. He was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2006. ''He never seemed scared. He was never angry,'' Sharon Jersted said. "He was never `Why me?' ''

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his mother, Jean Jersted of Orlando. A graveside service will be held Friday in Greensboro, N.C. A memorial service will be at 7:30 p.m. on July 27 at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, 5555 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Members of the lifeguard community also will pay tribute to Jersted on July 29 with a paddle-out at 7 p.m. by the south beach picnic area of Fort Lauderdale beach, near lifeguard tower 3.

Instead of flowers, his family asks that donations be made to Living Water Counseling,
12700 W. Broward Blvd., Plantation, FL 33325 or 954-452-4407.

HEART SURGEON with tweezers hoping to find pieces of the heart in the instruments of this A-T33 trainer from Lake Superior @ 200ft

Click to read article / hit back-button to return to page
From: Petosky News Review, Thursday, June 3 1971
BROKEN-ARROW - Lake Michigan
400ft Gas dive including NEON

On the set of THUNDERBALL:
Checking our spear and sling before
going after some GROUPER for dinner

Big John helps convert 90' tree into 30' canoe while outfitting for treasure hunt - Port Antonio, Jamaica - 1962

Big John on the underwater set of Cocoon (1985), artwork lost to the corrosive effects of the tides & the sea...

Big John takes an activist role in mapping Fort Lauderdale's reef for Anchor Zone restrictions, following environmentally disastrous anchor draggings by wandering freighters outside Port Everglades - 1978-1993

Week of the Ocean
honors lifelong preservationist

By BETH FEINSTEIN-BARTL / Waterfront News Writer

When Big John McLaughlin moved to Fort Lauderdale some 40 years ago, he remembers diving for fish and lobster under the 17th Street Bridge. “It was crystal clear,” he said. But times have changed, and so did the color of the water. “It’s like ink,” he said. “You can’t see anything under there now. We dirtied it up”

McLaughlin isn’t giving up. He often speaks to school children, at dive shows and anywhere else he’s invited, about the importance of conservation. His efforts as a preservationist were among the many reasons why McLaughlin was recently honored with the first lifetime achievement award by the National Week of the Ocean.

McLaughlin, 80, has been a charter member of the nonprofit organization since 1983. He joined the group two years after its incorporation and presently serves on its advisory board.

McLaughlin received the honor in April at an annual awards ceremony held by Week of the Ocean each spring to recognize students, professionals and volunteers from Broward County for their efforts in preserving the local marine environment. “He’s achieved so much in his life, it seemed only fitting to honor his many talents and contributions,” said Cynthia Hancock, president and co-founder of the National Week of the Ocean, Inc. “Throughout the years, he has represented the organization by speaking at schools about his career and spreading awareness about the ocean’s precious resources.”

Getting people to listen has not been too much of a problem for McLaughlin, whose talks often draw crowds eager to hear about his varied resume which features his work as a stuntman and technical underwater advisor in major motion pictures and television series such as “Flipper,” “Sea Hunt” and several James Bond films. McLaughlin, a master diver, has also worked in the film industry training dolphins and killer whales and as an underwater cinematographer.

McLaughlin always knew he would have a career involving the water. “I grew up on the docks and the beach,” he said. “I immediately had a love for the water and I never lost it.”

His first job was in 1939 as a lifeguard in his hometown of Charleston, SC. From there, his career led to serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He later worked for the Navy as a civilian engineer and machinist.

McLaughlin arrived in Fort Lauderdale in the late 1960s as a diving instructor. Attracted by the area’s vibrant boating community, he made the city his home base while traveling the world for his movie career.

Preserving South Florida’s waters, particularly its reefs, has always been a major part of his life. “They’re like a beautiful garden,” he said. “I’ve watched beautiful reefs disappear into dust.” 

Many local environmentalists credit McLaughlin with documenting reef damage off Port Everglades, leading to a no anchor zone, said Joe Hessmann, a long time friend and charter member of Week of the Ocean. McLaughlin’s accomplishments influenced thousands of people, Hessmann said. “He speaks in common language and the kids just love him.”

McLaughlin continues getting people interested in cleaning up the reefs and beaches. One of his latest appearances was at the OceanFest Dive and Adventure Sports Expo, held each April in Fort Lauderdale. “He’s a standing room only speaker,” said Neal Watson, the expo’s producer. “This was our 11th year and he’s never missed a show.”

Waterfront News - June 2007 - Year 24 Issue 3
Copyright Ziegler Publishing Co., Inc. 2007 ©


Big John McLaughlin,
Master Diver, Underwater Photographer, Marine Engineer, Movie Double & Marine Mammal Trainer.

Presented by: National Week of the Ocean Inc, 2007

To know Big John McLaughlin is to know a quiet individual who has worked for many years in the film industry and in marine preservation efforts.

Big John has worked on hundreds of movies with highlights which include:

Tutoring young Tom Cruise for The Legend; and teaching Brooke Shields to dive for Wet Gold.

As a stuntman and body double: for Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again - for Lloyd Bridges in Sea Hunt - for Richard Kiel in The Spy Who Loved Me - for Brian Dennehy in Cocoon.

He has trained dolphins and worked behind the scenes in close encounters with sharks to make these movies more realistic including squeezing a 15-foot shark into the 12-foot bomb-bay of a sunken plane.

He has even posed in a bathing suit and in-line skates on Fort Lauderdale Beach for a V-8 commercial.

Most importantly he has actively addressed the issues of reef preservation documenting reef damage off Port Everglades which led to a no-anchor zone for large ships; and has created awareness and state protection for the Copenhagen archeological dive-site off our coast.

John is revered by all who have worked with and known him, a man of many talents - master diver, marine engineer, underwater cinematographer, marine mammal trainer, move double and preservationist.

Leaders & Legends from Pro Dive International @ © 2004 Dive Chronicles Magazine

"Breakfast With Largo" Interview with Big John McLaughlin in 007 Magazine

WebPage content, copy and images © 2012 John F McLaughlin

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