alexa Martin Mariner/Marlin Association

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Martin Mariner/Marlin Association

Since 1982 the Mariner/Marlin Association has been instrumental in preserving the history of Martin seaplanes by uniting those associated with the aircraft through annual reunions and publications. In 1993, the Mariner/Marlin Association championed the final effort to save one of the last known Martin PBM Mariner seaplanes, a Navy PBM-5, BuNo 59172, lying upside down on the bottom of Lake Washington near Seattle. In the ensuing years that followed, the project gained momentum quickly and grew into one of the largest salvage operations of its kind undertaken by the U.S. Navy. In 1994, the Mariner/Marlin Association accepted the challenge to devise and organize a plan for a second attempt to raise the aircraft. Through the primary efforts of three members, director and historian Bruce Barth, and retired Navy Captains Bruce Handler and Richard Hoffman, a team was formed. Thus began the long and arduous job of finding a permanent home for the plane, securing financial commitments for recovery, transportation and restoration, and securing the federal, state and local permits required to proceed with the recovery operation. During the course of the next two years, the team faced many obstacles which were seemingly impossible to overcome and could jeopardize the success of the project. Determined to succeed, the team remained optimistic and continued in their effort to enlist the support of individuals, community organizations and government agencies to secure the necessary means to raise the Mariner. By August 1996, six years after the first salvage attempt, the second attempt to raise BuNo 59172 was ready to begin. In early October 1996, after over two years of planning, the final attempt to raise the aircraft intact failed due to the excessive weight of the silt that had built up in the wings and fuselage. Regardless of the success or failure of the mission, there is satisfaction in knowing that as a team, the Mariner/Marlin Association and the Navy did everything possible to save the aircraft.

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