Lawrence Groth

For about five months, Lawrence Groth has been part of Golden Gate Ferry as one of its vessel masters-otherwise known as captains.

Lawrence Groth is regarded as one of the top five shark diving operators in the world, as he has more experience working with white sharks than anyone in the northern hemisphere.

BY MATT LARSON

 

For about five months, Lawrence Groth has been part of Golden Gate Ferry as one of its vessel masters—otherwise known as captains. His favorite part of the job? “Operating fast catamarans with 11,000 horsepower.” Simple as that. He’s worked on tug boats in the San Francisco Bay since 1989, so he knows the region pretty well, and he also takes people out diving with great white sharks with his company, Great White Adventures.

 

“Some of my best friends are great white sharks,” said Groth. He’s been diving with them for 19 years now, so if you take a tour, rest assured you’re in good hands. He can take you shark diving as far as Guadalupe Island in Mexico, but spends much of his diving time just 25 miles away from the Bay at the Farallon Islands. “Many people aren’t aware of their existence,” he said. “The marine wildlife at the Farallons is amazing, and on any day you can find a wide variety of marine mammals, birds and large predators such as great white sharks.”

 

Groth is regarded as one of the top five shark diving operators in the world, as he has more experience working with white sharks than anyone in the northern hemisphere, which is no small feat. If you don’t believe it, go look up his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. On top of all that, he’s also credited with revolutionizing underwater filmmaking with his design of the Self-Propelled Shark Cage (SPSC).

 

“The SPSC can place the cameraperson where they want or need to be to get the shot,” he said. “Most wildlife filming requires the animal or subject to cooperate and be where you need them to be. The SPSC can fly alongside or maneuver anywhere the cameraperson desires. It can cruise at six knots for nearly two hours and can reach depths below 200 feet.” And in case you’re wondering, as the go-to guy for filming great white sharks, you may have seen Groth’s work in film projects such as Sharks 3D, Dark Tide with Halle Berry—and other projects that are still under wraps.

 

When he’s not driving high-speed catamarans or chumming it up with Jaws’ grandkids, Groth enjoys spending his free time with his three-year-old son, Max, and also loves to travel and go on exciting adventures. “I love getting close to big critters, like whales and sharks,” he said. “Sharing space at close range with large predators or large marine mammals is about as exciting as life can get.”

 

One of the best things about working for Golden Gate Ferry, for Groth, is the crew. “All of the crews at Golden Gate Ferry are a great bunch of people, and everyone seems to love their job,” he said. “They take great pride in providing safe transportation to thousands of people every day. It’s a great place to work.”

 

A California native, Groth grew up in the East Bay and recently returned from living in Washington state. He’s lived in the Bay Area for some time now and has seen firsthand how valuable the ferry service is for local commuters. “More people should ride the ferry and get off the crazy freeways,” he said. “Plus, it’s the environmentally friendly way to commute to work.”

 

If you see Groth on board during your next Golden Gate Ferry commute, try not to get too starstruck. He’s just a regular person, like you and me, who happens to have some friends with teeth as big as your face. So treat him well!

       

If you’d like to get more information on how to join him on his shark-diving adventures, head to www.greatwhiteadventures.com or call (510) 808-4499. If you’ve never visited the Farallon Islands, doubling up the experience with a little shark diving is probably the best way to do it. We’ll see you out there.