Overhead throttles are a pretty common thing in seaplanes (see the picture in Manfred's answer).
This actually came up as an EAA Young Eagles FAQ and in addition to the reasons Manfred gave the Grumman engineer they spoke to gave an explanation I'd not heard before:
…first and foremost, the reason the throttle are overhead is due to a physiological issue related to the g-forces encountered during water landings. At times, forces as high as 3 Gs can be registered on contact with the water, and by having the throttles hanging down from a pivot point above, it's nearly impossible for the hand of the pilot to bend the throttle.
When the downward force is encountered, the pilot's hands will move downward as well, so the force is applied to the throttle in a way that will not damage the linkage, and it will not likely result in an abrupt throttle position change. With a panel mounted throttle, it's likely that a higher-G landing on the water (or on the deck of a carrier) would result in a bent throttle.