31 May

Company Spotlight: Lost 52 Project

By Isobel Lu

This month, the American Geographical Society had the opportunity to speak with ocean explorer, Tim Taylor, Founder of the Lost 52 Project and Tiburon Subsea. The Lost 52 Project is an exploration and archaeological project dedicated to researching and documenting the 52 US submarines that went missing during World War II. Through discovery and preservation, the project hopes to protect the story of these submarines for the Navy Sailors, their families, and the nation. 

Taylor has been working in the marine industry for over thirty years, leading underwater expeditions and working with various diving technologies. He became interested in pursuing a career in ocean discovery and exploration at a young age, and was originally influenced by other explorers and pioneers such as Jacques Cousteau, Sylvia Earle, and the Apollo program, who showed him how diving could be a doorway to the discovery of the world.

In Taylor’s personal adventures and experiences with diving and underwater archaeological missions, he recalled one of his most exciting experiences included being able to work on a long term shark behavior project with shark behaviorists Wess Pratt, Dr. Jeff Carrier, and Dr. Sonny Gruber, and National Science Foundation and National Geographic CritterCam tech. Taylor found it profoundly fascinating to be alone on dives and encounter aquatic wildlife in such deep coral ecosystems. 

As with any long term project, Taylor has faced many challenges searching for submarines and continuing the mission on. The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world, making the search no simple feat, with unpredictable weather conditions having caused many interruptions in coming back with a successful search. However, Taylor continues to be motivated to keep the mission going and honor the sacrifices of the American servicemen who lost their lives, hoping to complete their stories and share them with generations to come. 

The continuous development of geographical and geo-spatial mapping technologies will play an integral role in the future of the Lost 52 Project. Taylor emphasized how mapping an area is the foundation of all physical sciences, as geography plays a central role in the biological, oceanographic, and meteorological conditions of a place. The company is currently developing patent-pending technology to be incorporated into a rental fleet of 300m autonomous underwater vehicles. Taylor is most driven to continue to produce and share these technologies with the world to produce meaningful change.

Visit the Lost 52 Project’s website to learn more about Tim Taylor, and check out their expeditions to stay up to date on the new discoveries from the project.