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Community spotlight: Scott Hall

This is your captain speaking

March 23, 2016
By John Morton ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Q: You are a captain of the Estero Bay Express, which provides dolphin-watching tours out in the Gulf of Mexico, but now you are also playing the role of man with a microphone with a weekly podcast at Fish-Tale Marina. What is the focus of your new endeavor?

A: "The podcast is basically a broadened extension of the current position I hold as the captain on the tour boat. Instead of 34 captive audience members seated in front of me, I now have the ability to inform a much larger group of listeners about the history, wildlife and beauty of Estero Bay, feature the numerous events here at Fish-Tale Marina and the surrounding Fort Myers Beach area, and bring guests to the microphone that partner with us in all aspects of making our beaches and waterways one of the greatest destinations in southwest Florida. We feature a 'Gone Fishing' segment where one of our charter captains talks about a hot topic in seasonal fishing - an 'ask the captain' bit where we answer a listener question about anything fishing. We have even been interviewing local musicians and playing some of their music on the podcast to show off the island's fantastic entertainment. At Fish-Tale Marina, we believe there is a need for some positive news with all the negative publicity surrounding the issues with our water quality and such. It is our goal to bring as many good human interest segments to our podcast as possible."

Q: Do you have experience in this area?

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Captain Scott Hall takes command of the microphone during a podcast at Fish-Tale Marina.

A: "I spent an entire career in the Ohio fire service working through the ranks to eventually fire chief. I had some radio experience out of high school prior to becoming a paramedic, but most of my public speaking experience came from media relations in the fire department. I was an adjunct faculty member at a local community college where I taught media relations and public speaking courses to local fire service and law enforcement professionals. However, my greatest experience came from my position as the public information officer of a national FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, where I provided countless media briefings, press conferences, interviews and embedded story lines to local, state and national media outlets during disaster situations, such as the 9-11 Ground Zero site in New York, Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, and many more. So you could say I developed a certain need for polished public speaking."

Q: To what extent are public speaking and the entertaining of your guests crucial in being a good boat captain?

A: "There are several important skills to ensure our guests attain the best possible value from their trip into Estero Bay. I break it down into two parts. The first is safety - our captains have to ensure the safety of all on board. That comes first. Watching for other boaters on the water as the bay is a busy place some days. This is pretty self-explanatory. The second is what I call the 'wow' factor of entertainment. It is our job to provide a master naturalist-narrated view for our guests, all the while keeping it light hearted and fun without them thinking they just signed up for an hour-and-a-half biology course. We talk about the wildlife as it shows up and that's when the 'wow' usually comes in. Most of our guests have never seen a dolphin that close before and, when we start throwing in some stories and facts, they really connect with the paradise we live in and get to enjoy each day. So without the public speaking skills of our staff, the visitors would walk away with some nice photos but wouldn't be able to share all the great information and knowledge they gain with family and friends when they return home."

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Q: Name three people who you'd realistically like to have on your show, and why?

A: "I would like to interview saltwater fisherman Peter Miller, who has his own show on the NBC Sports Network. Peter has done so much nationally for Florida tourism when it comes to fishing, and has a great personality. He also is very involved with providing fishing trips for wounded veterans. I think he would be a wonderful interview.

We have a senior captain at the marina named Captain Mac. He's fished these waters for too many years to remember and has so many stories to share. He is getting up there in years and I think to have him speak of the 'old days' of Estero Bay would be captivating to our audience. I'm working on this one and it may become a reality.

Lastly, my third choice may surprise you. I want to take a trip to the Clearwater Aquarium and interview the trainers of Winter, the Dolphin from the movie A Dolphin Tale. So many of the kids on our boat relate that movie to what they are seeing in the water with the dolphins we show them. I think it would be something that the parents could listen to with the children and provide some behind-the-scenes info about their beloved dolphin Winter. Plus, it's always fun to take Fish-Tale Radio on the road."

Q: Tell us about your history in boating.

A: "I have a long history of recreational boating from age 5 with my family. Most of my personal captain's experience has come from my involvement with the fire department and our swift-water rescue teams. After I retired as a fire chief in Ohio and made the move to Fort Myers Beach, I attained my U.S. Coast Guard master captain's license and was subsequently hired by Al and Kathy Durrett at Fish-Tale to be one of the Estero Bay Express Tour boat captains."

Q: Where/how/when can we experience your podcasts?

A: "Our Fish-Tale Radio podcasts are available on our website at or on iTunes @ Fish-Tale Marina Radio. There are also links to the podcasts posted immediately upon upload on our Fish-Tale Marina Facebook page. Announcements of live tapings from the 'Dock of the Bay' studios at Fish-Tale are also made on Facebook."

(Community Spotlight features a resident each week who has an interesting occupation, activity, or story to tell. Please submit subjects you feel are worthy of some recognition to editor John Morton by calling 765-0400, ext. 102, or by email at



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