2nd Annual Oyster Bash Raises Money For Man In The Sea Museum - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

2nd Annual Oyster Bash Raises Money For Man In The Sea Museum

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People lined up Saturday afternoon for all you can eat of one of the ocean's finest dishes...oysters.

"The oysters are beautiful, I'm kinda slacking off have only 6 dozen," says retired Navy diver Skip Lash.

But it's not just the half shells that bring him to the bash Saturday, but rather the reason behind it, to support the Man in the Sea museum.

There's a lot of stuff there that doesn't need to go away," says Lash. "It flat out does not need to go away. It's history. It's history of diving."

The museum off Back Beach Road showcases diving gear and equipment that dates back to the 1940's.

But for Lash who has dived all over the world and worked in the Navy's experimental dive unit, the museum is more than history.

"There's a lot of memories there," explains Lash. "Most of those rigs that were experimental back in the 80's, they don't use them today because they're outdated."

Lash is a frequent donor to the museum which has struggled to stay afloat since the BP oil spill in 2010.

"On the outside, we look like a metal shop, but on the inside we are historically a suit," says Michael Zinszer who is a Man in the Sea museum volunteer and Director of the Advanced Science Diving Program at Florida State University.

Zinszer says the museum displays artifacts that are important to Bay county and the world.

"The Oyster Bash is a fundraiser to ensure that heritage and history that we have developed here over the last 60, 70 years is maintained here so our children can really see what we have done," says Zinszer.

The staff hopes enough money can be raised to restore an attraction that has roots right here in Bay county.

"SEALAB was the first habitat in which man lived in the ocean and 4 men one of which lives in Bay county was built this habitat on the naval base," says Zinszer.  

The museum is run strictly on donations and from events like these. Organizers say they hope those slurping on the saltwater snack made a difference.

For those who may have missed out, Zinszer says the museum will most likely host another Oyster Bash next year.