Treasure Hunter Brent Brisben Stars In 'Lost Fleet' Sunday
So how did Moeller grad and former TV producer Brent Brisben end up finding $4.5 million in sunken treasure off Florida's East Coast?
"I could never in my wildest dreams thought, until 6-1/2 years ago, that I'd be a treasure hunter," says Brisben, 48, who stars in "Lost Treasure of the Fleet of 1715" on WCPO-TV Sunday (5 p.m., Channel 9).
The Montgomery native, who was a Channel 9 sports producer after graduating from UC, owns the Florida coast salvage rights with his father, William O. Brisben, the former Cincinnati real estate developer who was U.S. representative to the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) under President George W. Bush.
They bought salvage rights to 75 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean in 2010 from renowned treasure hunter Mel Fisher, and formed 1715 Fleet Queens Jewels LLC.
"My father had a fascination as a child, growing up in Cincinnati and never seeing the ocean, and it stuck with him his whole life," says Brent, in town this week to promote the TV documentary.
"In 2010, he found out that Mel Fisher was going to sell the rights, and being an entrepreneur, he asked if I'd go into business with him and buy them. It was February 2010, and I was sitting in my house in Montgomery watching it snow," said the 1986 Moeller grad. He lives in Sebastian, Fla., north of Vero Beach and south of Cape Canaveral.
The one-hour show mostly focuses on 2014 expeditions, with lots of history on the Spanish fleet sailing from Cuba back to Spain in 1715. In the final 10 minutes – Spoiler Alert! – you'll see some of the 350 rare gold coins valued at $4.5 million found by Brisben's company last year on the 300th anniversary of the ship wreck.
Most of the show was filmed by the Florida video company which produces a syndicated TV series called "How To Do Florida."
"Lost Fleet" gives viewers an indication that treasure hunting isn't as glamorous as it sounds. Brisben and his crew can only go out salvaging four months a year, due to currents and weather conditions. Most times they come back empty handed.
"You can go out all day and find nothing but beer cans and lead fishing sinkers. Other than when you have a big find, it's mind-numbingly boring," he says.