Save the SS Catalina


May 8, 2001
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http://www.sscatalina.org/
This is quite an unusual ship, and a credit to the war effort, as well as a small passenger ship, with numbers unsurpassed in passenger transport.(Or should she be called a Ferry boat?) A type that I have never come across before, and it is doubtful I ever would. Are there any others like her, left in the world today?
Does anyone know how the lifeboats would have been used, as it appears they were built right into the side of the ship. How was this made watertight?
Commissioned by William Wrigley Jr. Why would the man famous for Wrigleys gum commission this ship?
Last.
What are the plans for the ship, if/when recovered? Will she go back to the port of San Pedro? Where will she be moored?
Thank you!
 
A

Alex McLean

Guest
I can't help you there, Colleen, but it is good to see another masterpiece by Ken Marschall. She does look rather weird with the lifeboats built into the deck (like the Imperator class) and the low anchor. Either way, a very fine ship, and I hope she will be with us for quite a time.
 
May 8, 2001
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I am bursting with landlubber questions!
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I have not been able to find a single book on her, and only the one web site with the facts posted above. Will keep forging ahead.
Alex. Thanks for pointing out another class of ships with lifeboats built into them. Maybe I will be able to answer my own question regarding how they were watertight. From what I read, the low anchor was a problem for the Catalina.
 

Joshua Gulch

Member
Mar 31, 2001
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Colleen,
It looks as if Catalina has radial davits similar to those on Lusy and Mary. The boats are chocked within the alcoves on the main deck, but the davits can swing them out over the side by twisting around ninety degrees. At least, that's how it looks to me.

Josh.
 

Joshua Gulch

Member
Mar 31, 2001
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Colleen,
I've been checking in as much as I could, but school was hindering much particicipation in the board. I've got some time off now, so I can drop by more frequently. Thanks for the welcome!
smile.gif


Josh.
 

Scott Newman

Member
Jun 16, 2004
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Well, it's been over a year since anybody posted a message on this subject, but I went on a cruise this past week that visited Ensenada. The Catalina is not looking too good. I took some pictures that I will post as soon as I get them developed. I wish I was able to get a little closer, but I was still able to get a few good photos.

I will say that the ship probably doesn't have too many years left. She is really starting to rust out. Seals and other sea animals have made this ship their own. If something is going to be done with the ship...better sooner than later.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
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Catalina can be seen in all her glory during the first 20 or so minutes of the 1967 Tommy Kirk/Little Richard film Catalina Caper, aka Never Steal Anything Wet, which (nautical scenes apart) is one of the most memorably bizarre films of all time. Was featured on MST3K in the earlier seasons. Little Richard, YEARS from his career peak, performs his non-hit "Scuba Party" on the forward sun deck, in a sequence which, if you can ignore the music (and you'll probably want to) offers some nice deck shots of Catalina while she was freshly painted and trim looking.
 

Scott Newman

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Jun 16, 2004
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I'm surprised the Catalina doesn't get more attention than it does. I'm not a rivet counter by any means, so my understanding of the technicalities involved in shipbuilding is less than many of you, but from the birds-eye view I had of the ship in Ensenada, we have a real treasure that's about to be lost.

From what I've read, the ship's hull appears to be intact, so the ship is salvageable. There will definitely be a lot of money involved in a revitalizing effort, I'm sure.

I came across this ship completely by accident. I didn't know I'd be seeing it on the cruise...but when I saw it, I knew I had read about it before, but surprisingly, very little is known about this ship as it rests today, slowly listing further and further. (I'm working on developing my pictures...you'll see the difference between now and in 98, when some of the pictures on the above websites were taken.)

As the cruise ship left Ensenada, many were gathered on the sun deck to see what ship was there. Most were like me and had no idea what ship it was, but were surprised to see it there in such a sad state. I think the real problem with saving the S.S. Catalina is, besides funding, public awareness.

Hopefully something can be done...
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
For whatever it may be worth, the Maritime Matters link to the Catalina can be found HERE. Whoever can raise and preserve this ship is going to have their work cut out for them. I think it's do-able, but the sooner the effort starts, the better. Salt water is not kind to steel and if something doesn't happen in the near future, I'm afraid any hope of saving her will be lost.
 
May 8, 2001
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Scott. I even took time to write to the Wrigley gum company to bring attention to it, and see if they would do anything to help preserve the ship. (Even PR related.)I got an email back stating the ship was a private matter for the Wrigley family itself and not something the corporation wanted to participate in. >>>shrug<<<
 

Scott Newman

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Jun 16, 2004
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Colleen, That's too bad to hear...dispite the optimism of those attempting to raise funding to rescue the ship, I believe this may be the final resting spot...if you can call it a resting spot, of the S.S. Catalina.

I get my pictures Monday. I'll try to post a few! I even got a few neat pictures of the Surprise in San Diego!
 

Scott Newman

Member
Jun 16, 2004
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Here's another look from the port side. You'll notice the seals bathing in the sun. Sorry for the small quality. I had to get it under 35K. If you would like a larger copy, fire me an email. As with most users, go ahead and use the photos as you please, just give me props.
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Scott Newman

Member
Jun 16, 2004
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"Salt water is not kind to steel"

We can see just how unkind it's been in the last few years. This is where the lifeboats "should" be. Kinda hard to get to them underwater.

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Scott Newman

Member
Jun 16, 2004
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Okay, one more...this is actually a close up of the picture above...take a look at the damage here compared to the photo here: http://www.maritimematters.com/catalina.html The picture on the web-site was taken April 25, 1998. Notice the obvious "rusting out" of the ship, but take a close look at some of the side damage. From my view, this looks like clear collision damage. This would diffuse the argument that the hull is virtually intact. Anybody know what happened?

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Jul 9, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
>>Anybody know what happened?<<

Not a clue, but my bet wuld be on some small craft operator blundering into the side. Looks to me like the bulwarks up on the bow are nearly gone as well. If something isn't done soon, the Catalina will be a lost cause if she isn't already.
 

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