Olin Marler Charters started as just a weekend venture

Published: Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 05:11 PM.

Two years later, he started to grow his fleet and built a new boat, the Sportmaster II. He added the Gulf Winds to his fleet in 1969.

Gulf Winds still is docked on Destin Harbor and takes on trips. The Sportmaster II is at Marler’s house, and he is considering donating it to the Destin History and Fishing Museum.

“Olin wants to leave a legacy here of his accomplishments and where (the company) came from,” Fisher said.

The 1980s brought a lot of growth to Destin and to Marler’s fleet. Starting in 1983 and continuing for the next nine years, he built a new boat every year.

Also in 1983, he met his second wife, Donna Marler, who went to work booking fishing trips for his boats and others.

“All the old fishermen would come to me and ask ‘Would you help me book my boat?’ ” Donna Marler said. “One thing I was good at was talking to people, and I would group people together and I would keep grouping and grouping until I had enough people to share with all the boats down the harbor, not just Olin’s boats. We all became like a family.”

At its peak in 2005, Olin Marler Charters had nine boats. The company started to downsize in 2009 with the economic slump, and today has have five vessels: two party boats, two charter boats and a dolphin cruise ship.

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