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Osprey Charters Offers Diving And Scenic Tours

August 6, 2009
By S. Alexander Gerould
Jim Herbert almost gave up diving.

Now, he's glad he didn't.

After leaving the Navy and moving to the Lake Erie region, Herbert said he lost interest in his passion.

“We moved up here and I wasn't real interested in the lake, so I quit diving for five or six years,” Herbert said. “One day, I was out with a friend on a sailboat and the water seemed pretty clear and I mentioned something about diving. He said, 'Oh yeah, my brother-in-law dives.' So I got interested in it again and I got back into it.”

With a 30 foot boat, Herbert said the ship was soon becoming too small for the large amounts of people who wanted to ride.

“It wasn't long before I had a bunch of friends that wanted to go diving on my boat,” he said. “I saw an opportunity for a charter operation.”

Based out of Barcelona, Herbert is the owner and operator of Osprey Charters. The business specializes in taking people on diving tours of some of the areas shipwrecks which litter the bottom of Lake Erie or groups of people on scenic tours.

“I guess it's not just a passion, but a necessity for me,” Herbert said. I have to keep finding new things (shipwrecks) to keep the peoples' interests.”

On board the 50 feet long vessel “Southwind,” divers will experience a fins on ladder, extra deep benches and plenty of room to store their gear, according to the company's Web site, The ship is also Coast Guard inspected and can hold up to 30 divers or 49 passengers.

“It's been very good for me,” Herbert said of business. “Right now the economy is poor and business is soft, but I'm confident that that is going to improve and reverse.”

Meanwhile, the “Horizon” is a 75 ft. multi-purpose vessel which serves the Dunkirk-area as a sight-seeing party boat, along with diving expeditions, the Web site said. It can carry 149 passengers and has running water, two bathrooms and a bar serving beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks.

Herbert said in normal years he sees around 1,500 divers set foot on his boats each season. This influx of people, he said, helps the local economy because people are shopping, eating and visiting area attractions such as Westfield's Farmer's Market every Saturday, Cross Roads and the regions many wineries.

“The other good thing is we bring a lot of people into the area, and they spend a lot of money and it's very good for the local economy,” Herbert said. “It's really been good for the economy here. They all spend money at the restaurants and they all spend money at the hotels and local businesses. It's good for everybody.

“I saw one wife (of a diver) come back one day, and I don't think you could put another case of wine in her van,” he joked. “I don't know how he got his dive gear in the trunk.”

Osprey Charters in Barcelona features two boats which can be used for diving or sightseeing tours. Each boat can accommodate a certain amount of passengers. There is also an air station for diver's to fill up their oxygen tanks. More information can be found by visiting or by calling 753-6565 or 574-9673.

Article Photos

A group of divers with Osprey Charters ready their gear for a dive. Osprey Charters, based in Barcelona, offers diving and scenic tours on Lake Erie.

- Photo courtesy of



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