The Crew

Captain Tim Burke

Captain, Divemaster, Owner of the Great Escape 

Tim began diving in 1973 when he got his L.A.County certification while in high school and is now a NAUI divemaster. Tim has logged over 4000 dives in California and has extensive personal knowledge of most dive sites.   He has always been a avid lobster hunter and knows many great spots.   He has made underwater videos and appreciates the needs of photographers.

He met Captain Roy Kaiser the opening night of lobster season in 1977 on his first night dive and trip on the Rio Rita. Tim worked for Roy off and on until Roy sold the Rio Rita in 1980. In 1988 Tim and his brother bought their first boat, a 31′ Trojan named Bug Hunter.   They kept Bug Hunter in a slip in San Pedro and extensively dove both Catalina Island and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
In 1990 he and his brother bought a 32′ 1979 Super Luhrs, named Great Escape, Jr..  On Jr. they dove all eight of the Channel Islands, and most of the known Southern California wrecks

Tim bought the Great Escape (formerly the Charisma) in October 1996.  His improvements to the boat, dedication to maintenance, and record of running great dive trips and has turned the Great Escape into one of Southern California’s premiere live-aboard dive boats.


Official greeter of the Great Escape, Kodi Wan Kenobi has retired. My best friend is now helping someone with greater needs than me, and I miss him dearly. Kodi is a European, or “White” Golden Retriever. He was born on July 23rd 2007.


Captain Tom Binkley

Captain Tom

Captain Tom Binkley was a very good friend of mine and worked for me for many years. I helped him get his Captain’s license and we worked many hours on the boat and for several years and he was on every trip.

He was an avid hunter and loved the people on the boat. He would always share his knowledge of his hunting skills and show other divers how to hunt.

He loved 7 and 7 and a fine cigar. We often would share that after a trip. We would sit on the top deck and reflect on the trips. Their ups and downs. If this reminds you of Boston Legal, they stole it from us.

Tom retired a few years ago, and spent most of his last diving days on the Cee Ray and some times on the Westerly. He loved to fish and gave me a very nice fishing pole which I have never used. I will using every day now.

I will miss my friend, I already do. He passed suddenly and tragically.


Captain Randy

Captain Randy

Relief Captain, Dive Master, Crew, Anchor Yankor, and bug hunting maniac.

Kodi gives him 5 paws up.

Michael Gallagher


Friend and occasional crew member

Kendel Lemus

DiveMaster, Crew, Friend, Bug Hunter next to none.

Kendel has worked with me since he was only 14. He has a million dollar smile and just loves customers. If at any time there is problem on the boat he will there to help you. He is an avid hunter and will help you any way he can and will share hunting tips handed down from me to him. Kodi gives him 10 PAWS UP. WOOF!!

Chris Grossman

Divemaster, photographer, web consultant, and deckhand

Chris Grossman began diving in 1983 when he received his L.A. County certification while in engineering grad school at USC.  He has additional certifications from IANTDPADI, and NAUI and is aNAUI divemaster. Chris is our webmaster, photographer, and sometimes works on the boat as a divemaster or deckhand. Chris has over 1800 dives in California and loves lobster hunting.  He also runs a web site,, dedicated to California Scuba Diving.

Jantzn May

Deckhand, Anchor Yanker, Web Consultant

Jantzn worked aboard the Great Escape when he was a teenager and returned in summer 2012. He recently overhauled to how it appears now.