"a blast from the past"
From that era prior to and during the Second World War [WW2] examples of American seaplanes as employed BUT NOT NECESSARILY AS COMBAT WARPLANES!
Seaplanes having a very slight and very limited organic combat capability.
The missions of which were primarily and almost exclusively limited to:
3. Search and rescue.
4. A VIP water taxi.
With the exception of the PBY Catalina NONE of these seaplanes able to take-off other than from a ship mounted catapult. All [?] major American surface warships [cruisers and battleships] of the period having a complement of these seaplanes.
1. SOC-1 Seagull.
U.S. naval float plane SOC-1 in those years prior to Pearl Harbor and American entry into WW2. A biplane as launched via catapult each and every [?] major U.S. naval warship [cruiser and battleship] having an organic capacity to utilize float planes for the scouting and observation mission.
An American Kingfisher that float plane the successor to the SOC-1. Note the single bomb or depth charge as hanging from the bottom of the warplane. All these float planes having a very limited organic combat capacity. That bomb or depth charge to be used primarily if stumbling across an enemy submarine on the surface, attack to be instantaneous!
3. Seamew SOC-3.
A Seamew from that era of WW2. This float plane not a success, the performance lacking.
American naval float plane SC-1 the mission of which was an air superiority mission. A fighter warplane designed to engage enemy aircraft in aerial combat mano-a-mano and emerge victorious. Was not air worthy and in production until the very latter end of the war , the combat efficiency of the aircraft questionable?
Again, these float planes not able to become airborne on their own power in the aftermath of a water-landing, catapult launch from the deck of a warship a must.
5. PBY Catlina. Flying boat possessing that water-tight hull.
Catalina PBY flying boat from the WW2 era seaplane with waterproof hull. Had a limited combat capacity. Again, primarily used for surveillance, scouting, etc. Also an autonomous seaplane, able to take-off and land on water without assistance.
"The Consolidated PBY Catalina was an American flying boat, and later an amphibious aircraft of the 1930s and 1940s produced by Consolidated Aircraft. It was one of the most widely used multi-role aircraft of World War II."
In ALL cases those floatation devices [pontoons] and water-tight hull [flying boat] compromising to a marked degree the aerodynamic performance of the seaplane? That combat capability acknowledged as limited and full recognized as being so.