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Diving Into a Dream Job

A yellow submarine offers one man the chance to explore the depths of his lifelong passion

Pilot Turned Submariner Mark Trezza

Mark Trezza, a 55-year old entrepreneur, dives deep into his life dream with his yellow submarine, the Seahorse. — Tristan Spinski/GRAIN

TIVOLI, N.Y. — The lengthy list of Mark Trezza's jobs includes newspaper photographer, trash collector, cargo plane pilot, builder of a replica antique aircraft and museum security guard.

Despite his zigzagging career trajectory, Trezza, 55, long wanted to add one more profession to his CV: underwater explorer.

In 2010, Trezza moved toward fulfilling his childhood dream. He purchased a secondhand submarine from the owner of a marina in Kingston, N.Y., and persuaded his cousin David Trezza, a mechanical engineer, to be his business partner and refurbish it. The project, including the overhaul, cost almost as much as a new compact car, although Trezza declined to share the figure.



Last month, the cousins and their bright yellow 15-foot-long K-350 mini-sub, the Seahorse, participated in an expedition to solve one of New England's most enduring aviation mysteries — the final resting place of a missing corporate jet that likely plunged into Lake Champlain more than 43 years ago.

"All my life I've been waiting to do an expedition like Jacques Cousteau," Trezza said.

While in college, he first spotted a photo of a sub like the one he would later buy. George W. Kittredge — dubbed "the father of personal submersibles" — designed the battery-powered K-350, which has a maximum recommended depth of 350 feet.

When Trezza ultimately saw the sub in a marina owned by an acquaintance, it was in rough shape. "It was mostly apart and filthy dirty," he said. Still, he was smitten: "I'd been waiting 30-some years to get close to one of these things."

Initially, he envisioned the sub as a business venture. Overhead would be negligible. He could store it for free on his uncle's farm. His cousin would serve as chief engineer and there were no insurance costs. "I can't get insurance," Trezza said. "In fact, the only insurance I have on the submarine is when it's attached to my truck."

He hoped filmmakers would rent the underwater craft as a prop, but has yet to find clients. He has also tried to entice schools to use the sub as an educational exhibit, but has earned just $600 in fees for two visits to a local high school science class.

Though Trezza still works as a security guard on occasion, he's devoted much of his time to exploring opportunities for his sub.

Next page: Aspiration meets opportunity for expedition adventures. »

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