Artificial reef

An artificial reef is a man-made underwater structure, typically built to promote marine life in areas with a generally featureless bottom, to control erosion, block ship passage, block the use of trawling nets,[2] or improve surfing.

Many reefs are built using objects that were built for other purposes, for example by sinking oil rigs (through the Rigs-to-Reefs program), scuttling ships, or by deploying rubble or construction debris. Other artificial reefs are purpose built (e.g. the reef balls) from PVC or concrete. Shipwrecks may become artificial reefs when preserved on the sea floor. Regardless of construction method, artificial reefs generally provide hard surfaces where algae and invertebrates such as barnacles, corals, and oysters attach; the accumulation of attached marine life in turn provides intricate structure and food for assemblages of fish.

Constructing an artificial reef using concrete breeze blocks[1]
Tire reef
Tires being placed in an array to investigate their effectiveness as a fish habitat.


The construction of artificial reefs began in ancient times. Persians blocked the mouth of the Tigris River to thwart Indian pirates by building an artificial reef[3] and during the First Punic War the Romans built a reef across the mouth of the Carthaginian harbor in Sicily to trap enemy ships within[4] and assist in driving the Carthaginians from the island.

Artificial reefs to increase fish yields or for algaculture began no later than 17th-century Japan, when rubble and rocks were used to grow kelp.[5] The earliest recorded artificial reef in the United States is from the 1830s, when logs from huts were used off the coast of South Carolina to improve fishing.[6]

Beginning before the 1840s, US fishermen used interlaced logs to build artificial reefs. More recently, refuse such as old refrigerators, shopping carts, ditched cars and out-of-service vending machines replaced the logs in ad hoc reefs. Officially sanctioned projects have incorporated decommissioned ships, subway cars, battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, oil drilling rigs and beehive-like reef balls.[7]

3D printing technology has been employed to create moulds for cast ceramic and concrete artificial reefs.[8]


Artificial reefs tend to develop in more or less predictable stages. First, where an ocean current encounters a vertical structure, it can create a plankton-rich upwelling that provides a reliable feeding spot for small fish such as sardines and minnows, which draw in pelagic predators such as tuna and sharks. Next come creatures seeking protection from the ocean's lethal openness—hole and crevice dwellers such as grouper, snapper, squirrelfish, eels and triggerfish. Opportunistic predators such as jack and barracuda also appear. Over months and years the reef structure becomes encrusted with algae, tunicates, hard and soft corals and sponges.[7]

Electro-mineral accretion

Electro-mineral accretion (EMA), also known as Biorock, involves applying a low voltage current to a metallic structure to cause limestone to crystallize on the surface, to which coral planulae can attach and grow. The electric current also speeds post-attachment growth.[9]

EMA works like charging a battery with a positive pole, the cathode, and a negative pole, the anode. Applying electric current attracts dissolved minerals to either the cathode or the anode. Chemical reactions take place at both poles. On the anode, bubbles of oxygen and chlorine gas form. These bubbles float to the surface and dissolve into the air. On the cathode, bubbles of hydrogen gas and a limestone precipitate appear.

The voltage is low enough that it can be generated by floating solar panels or from wave motion.

A coalition of scientists named the Global Coral Reef Alliance (GCRA) developed and patented[10] the technique called the Biorock Process using mineral accretion for reef restoration, mariculture and shoreline protection.[9]

Artificial surfing reefs

Sarcastic fringehead in plastic tube
Man made objects provide hiding places for marine life, like this Sarcastic fringehead

Artificial surfing reefs have been created in several locations. Supporters cite benefits such as coastal protection, habitat enhancement and coastal research. The world's first attempt was made in El Segundo, near Los Angeles, in California. The next attempt was at Mosman Beach, Perth, Western Australia. This reef was constructed of large granite rocks placed in a pyramidal shape to form an appropriate breaking wave form that would suit surfers. An artificial reef constructed of over 400 massive, geotextile bags (each larger than a bus) filled with sand was constructed in 2000 at Narrowneck on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia. This artificial reef had two objectives: stabilizing beach nourishment and improving surfing conditions.

Europe's first artificial reef was approved in 2008. Construction began August 30, 2008, in Boscombe, Bournemouth, UK (5 months after 3 local councillors spent 18 days in New Zealand on a fact-finding mission[11]), and opened in November 2009. The £3 million (2.5% of the Council's annual budget that year) reef was expected to create waves up to 30% larger and double the number of surfing days annually. Construction on this reef continued from June 2008 through August 2009.[12] Boscombe Reef was built from large sand-filled geotextile containers, totaling 13,000 cubic metres (460,000 cu ft). It failed entirely and attempts were made to convert it into a multi purpose reef, which also failed. Bournemouth Council attempted to recover monies from the New Zealand-based reef construction company but the company went into administration before paying any compensation.

In the United States coastal permitting requirements present major obstacles to building surfing reefs. The only reef built in the U.S. for surfing is southern California's "Pratte's Reef", which was constructed in 2000 and removed in 2008 as planned.[13]

Environmental concerns

According to environmental group The Ocean Conservancy, the Osborne Reef may be an indication that the benefits of artificial reefs need to be re-examined. Jack Sobel, a senior scientist at the group, stated "There's little evidence that artificial reefs have a net benefit," citing concerns such as toxicity from paint, plastics parts, etc., damage to ecosystems and concentrating fish into one place (worsening overfishing).[14]

Fish-attracting device

Artificial reefs can show quick increases in local fish population rehabilitation, coral reef and algae growth. However, far more than half the amount of biomass found on artificial reefs is attracted from other areas rather than developing there. James Bohnsack, a biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) concluded artificial reefs do not increase fish populations. Instead they operate as fish aggregating devices (FADs) bringing in fish from other reefs. Concentrating fish on a reef also makes for easier fishing. Research continues.[15]

The fish attracted to artificial reef zones vary from reef to reef depending on its age, size and structure. Large reef structures such as large sunken ships attract larger fish.

The use of shipwrecks in rocky zones creates a new trophic structure for the local ecosystem. They become the home for certain species and many nearby animals migrate to the shipwreck. This unbalances the natural ecosystem and alters many other habitats.[16]

Recreational dive sites

Thousands of popular wreck diving sites throughout the world are built around shipwrecks sunk as artificial reefs.[17] Some of these wrecks were sunk deliberately to attract divers. The USS Spiegel Grove and USS Oriskany in Florida, USS Indra and USS Aeolus in North Carolina, and Bianca C. in Grenada draw thousands of divers annually.[18]

Potential sources of pollution

The materials used in most artificial reefs often cause pollution by releasing chemicals and nutrients that are not naturally found in reef environments. Ships can release polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, iron, lead paint and anti-fouling paint leaches into the ocean and enters the food-chain.[19]

Old tires were used to create many artificial reefs. In Florida alone, 571 permitted artificial reefs exist, and the number of illegal reefs is thought to be much greater.[15] Tires are made from many chemicals and compounds such as black carbon, sulphur, zinc oxide and peroxides. The US National Artificial Reef Plan states that tires are a good reef construction material because no toxic substances are released from the decomposition of tires; though there is little information published to back up the claims and the future decomposing of the many different types of rubber tires could create unseen pollution.[20]

Tires have fallen out of favor with marine biologists. Tropical storms may demolish the tire containment system, washing tires onto beaches, destroying nearby coral reefs and inhibiting new coral growth.[21] As a result, states such as Florida and the country of France have begun large-scale removal of tire reefs.[22][23] On the Osborne Reef off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida boaters were allowed to dump unsecured tires at the site. Storms broke the nylon straps holding the original tire bundles together. Since 2007 approximately 130,000 of an estimated 700,000 tires have been removed.[24] At other artificial reef sites hurricanes pushed tires up on beaches from Florida to North Carolina, damaging reefs, causing pollution and requiring costly cleanup.[25] As a result, the Ocean Conservancy now includes tire removal during the International Coastal Cleanup in September of each year.[26]

Erosion prevention

Some artificial reefs are used to prevent coastal erosion. They can be designed to act in multiple ways. Some are designed to force waves to deposit their energy offshore rather than directly on the coastline. Other reefs are designed to hold sediment on beaches. These reefs trap the sediment. These reefs are custom-designed for each unique zone.[27]



Florida is the site of many artificial reefs, many created from deliberately sunken ships, including Coast Guard cutters Duane and Bibb and the U.S. Navy landing ship Spiegel Grove.[7]

Osborne Reef

Tires constituting Osborne Reef (2007)

In the early 1970s, more than 2,000,000 used vehicle tires were dumped off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida to form an artificial reef. However, the tires were not properly secured to the reef structures, and ocean currents broke them loose, sending them crashing into the developing reef and its natural neighbors. As of 2009, fewer than 100,000 of the tires had been removed after more than 10 years of efforts.[28]

Neptune Reef

Neptune Memorial Reef was originally conceived as an art project called The Atlantis Reef Project and was envisioned and created by Gary Levine and Kim Brandell. Burial at sea became a way of financing the project. As of 2011, about 200 "placements" had occurred. Cremated remains are mixed with concrete and either encased in columns or molded into sea-star, brain-coral, 15 feet (4.6 m) castings of lions or other shapes before entering the water.[7]

Ex-USS Massachusetts

In 1921 the US battleship Massachusetts was scuttled in shallow water off the coast of Pensacola, Florida and then used as a target for experimental artillery. In 1956 the ship was declared the property of the state of Florida by the Florida Supreme Court. Since 1993 the wreck has been a Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve and is included in the National Register of Historic Places. She serves as an artificial reef and diving spot.

Ex-USS Oriskany

Oriskany July 2008 -1
Sea life growing on the remains of USS Oriskany, intentionally sunk in 2006 to become an artificial reef.

The world's largest artificial reef was created by the purposeful sinking of the 44,000 ton aircraft carrier USS Oriskany off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, in 2006.[29]

Ex-USNS Hoyt S. Vandenberg

The second-largest artificial reef is USNS Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a former World War II era troop transport that served as a spacecraft-tracking ship after the war. The Vandenberg was scuttled seven miles off Key West on May 27, 2009, in 140 feet (43 m) of clear water.[30] Supporters expected the ship to draw recreational divers away from natural reefs, allowing those reefs to recover from damage from overuse.[31]

Ex-USS Spiegel Grove

The ex-USS Spiegel Grove is located on Dixie Shoal, 6 miles (9.7 km) off the Florida Keys in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Her exact location is 25°04′00.23″N 80°18′00.7″W / 25.0667306°N 80.300194°W.

North Carolina

Ex-USS Yancey

USS Yancey was sunk as an artificial reef off Morehead City, North Carolina, 1990. She is lying on her starboard side at a depth of 160 ft (49 m)


USCGC Spar was scuttled in October 2004 in 108 feet (33 m) of water, 30 miles (48 km) off Morehead City, North Carolina, where she serves as an artificial reef.[32]

Ex-USS Indra

USS Indra was sunk as an artificial reef, 4 August 1992 in 60 feet (18 m) of water.
Its coordinates are 34°33′55″N 76°58′30″W / 34.56528°N 76.97500°W.[33]

Ex-USS Aeolus

USS Aeolus was sunk to form an artificial reef in August 1988. The ex-Aeolus, located about 22 miles from Beaufort Inlet in 110 feet (30 m) of water, is regularly visited by divers.


Redbird Reef

NYC subway cars used as artificial reef
Retired subway cars on a barge before being sunk to form an artificial reef.

In late 2000, the MTA New York City Transit decided to retire an outdated fleet of subway cars to make room for new R142 and R142A trains. The obsolete subway cars, (nicknamed "Redbirds"), had run on the IRT lines in the New York City Subway system for 40 years. Each car was stripped, decontaminated, loaded on a barge, and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Delaware. Some cars had number plates removed because of rust, which were then auctioned off on eBay. A total of 1200 subway cars were sunk for this project.

In September 2007, the MTA approved a further contract worth $6 million, to send 1600 of its retired subway cars to be used as artificial reefs. The old models were sheathed in stainless steel, except for the plastic front ends, which were removed before sinking. The retired fleet included old work trains and cars damaged beyond repair.


Cancun Underwater Museum

Since November 2009, artist Jason deCaires Taylor has created more than 400 life size sculptures off the coast of Cancun, Mexico at the Cancun Underwater Museum. The coral reefs in this region suffered heavy degradation due to repetitive hurricane abuse. This project was funded by The National Marine Park and the Cancun Nautical Association. It was designed to emulate coral reefs using a neutral ph clay. Taylor constructed unique settings depicting daily activities ranging from a man watching TV to a 1970s replica of a Volkswagen Beetle. This artificial reef relieved pressure from the nearby Manchones Reef.[34]


Since the late 1990s, the Australian government has been providing decommissioned warships for use as artificial reefs for recreational scuba diving. So far, seven ships have been sunk:

Costa Rica

At Playa Hermosa, the Playa Hermosa Artificial Reef Project has created an artificial reef using discarded porcelain insulators.[41][42]

Curacao (Netherlands)

On Curacao, Secore International has created 12 artificial reefs using the cost-effective technique with small tetrapod-shaped concrete structures, seeded with coral larvae.[43]


The Gibraltar Reef was first proposed by Eric Shaw in 1973. Initial experiments with tires proved unsuccessful as the tires were swept away by currents or buried underneath sand. In 1974, boats from local marinas and the Gibraltar Port Authority were donated. The first two were barges that were sunk in Camp Bay. In 2006, a 65-ton wooden boat, True Joy (also referred to as Noah's Ark) was sunk there as well, followed by MV New Flame, a mid-sized bulk carrier, in 2007.

In 2013, more than 70 concrete blocks were sunk, each one square meter in size with protruding metal bars. This led to heated debate between the United Kingdom and Spain, with Gibraltar accusing Spain of over forty incursions into their waters per month[44] and Spain accusing Gibraltar of including metal bars in the reef to stop Spanish fishermen trawling the seabed for fish. The dropping led to a diplomatic conflict between the two countries because Gibraltar was a British Overseas Territory.


Temple Reef

The surfing reef Temple reef is off the coast of Pondicherry, India constructed of fully recycled materials such as concrete, rocks, trees, palms, and iron bars. It is located at a depth of 18 metres (59 ft).


Pearl of Dubai is an art-inspired Lost City off the coast of Dubai. The site encompasses five acres and is located at the World Islands. At a depth of 10 to 20 metres (33 to 66 ft), the site is designed as an ancient lost city, complete with temples and statues using regional design cues from 800 BC.[45]

Aqaba, Jordan

Jordan made under-water military vehicles museum, intended to form Artificial Reef[46]


Underwater Chocolate Hills is an artificial reef project undertaken by Spindrift Reefs Dive Center[47] off the coast of Panglao Island in the Philippines. It consists of broken coral harvested by local divers, who attach it to wire structures. The structures are built in the same shape as the Chocolate Hills, which can be found in the Bohol Region. The intent is to create a new dive site and new marine habitat.

See also


  1. ^ From concrete to coral: breeze blocks make a splash regenerating reefs
  2. ^ Cambodia volunteers step up battle against illegal fishing
  3. ^ Williams, Thomas Wayne. A Case Study of Artificial Reef Decision-Making in the Florida Keys (PDF). Virginia Commonwealth University. Archived from the original (pdf) on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2006.
  4. ^ Hess, Ron; Rushworth, Denis; Hynes, Michael V.; Peters, John E. "Disposal Options for Ships" (PDF). Rand Corporation. Archived from the original (pdf) on June 29, 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2006.
  5. ^ "Fisheries Technologies for Developing Countries". National Academies Press. Retrieved 20 December 2006.
  6. ^ "Guidelines For Marine Artificial Reef Materials" (PDF). Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission. Archived from the original (pdf) on January 10, 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2006.
  7. ^ a b c d "Artificial Reefs". National Geographic. February 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  8. ^ 3D printing technology to aid coral growth in Maldives Maldives Independent
  9. ^ a b "Biorock Benefits" (pdf). Global Coral Reef Alliance. July 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  10. ^ US 5543034A Method of enhancing the growth of aquatic organisms, and structures created thereby
  11. ^ Last, First (2008-10-14). "Council officers surf reef fact-finding mission Down Under cost £8,429". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
  12. ^ "Optimism at Boscombe surf reef's opening day". 3 November 2009. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  13. ^ Fontaine, Evan (2008-10-11). "SANDBAGGED After years of unspectacular closeouts, Pratte's Reef is removed from El Segundo". Surfline. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
  14. ^ Loney, Jim (9 July 2007). "Florida Raises Ill-Fated Artificial Reefs". Reuters. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  15. ^ a b Perkol Finkel, S., Shashar, N., & Benayahu, Y. (2006). Can artificial reefs mimic natural reef communities? The roles of structural features and age. Marine Environmental Research, 61( 2), 121135. doi:10.1016/j.marenvres.2005.08.001
  16. ^ Thiony Simon, JeanChristophe Joyeux, Hudson T. Pinheiro, Fish assemblages on shipwrecks and natural rocky reefs strongly differ in trophic structure, Marine Environmental Research, Volume 90, September 2013, Pages 5565, ISSN 0141-1136.
  17. ^ "Wrecks and Obstructions Database". NOAA.
  18. ^ Gerken, Michael. "Top 10 Wreck Dives of North Carolina". Scuba Diving. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  19. ^ Jacobson, Lester. "Artificial Reefs, Sunken Ships, and Military Toxins". Toxipedia. Archived from the original on 2016-09-16. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  20. ^ Collins, K. J., Jensen, A. C., Mallinson, J. J., Roenelle, V., & Smith, I. P. (2002). Environmental impact assessment of a scrap tire artificial reef. I CES Journal of Marine Science / Journal du Conseil, 5 9S 243S249. doi:10.1006/jmsc.2002.1297
  21. ^ Allen, Greg (5 July 2007). "Fallout from Bad '70s Idea: Auto Tires in Ocean Reef". NPR. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  22. ^ Fleshler, David (15 May 2015). "Fixing a catastrophe: Divers removing 90,000 tires from ocean". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  23. ^ Ferrer, Sandra (22 May 2015). "France hits reverse on sinking tyres for artificial reefs". Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  24. ^ Fleshler, David (30 June 2016). "Push is on to remove thousands of tires on ocean floor in Fort Lauderdale". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  25. ^ "The Osborne Tire Reef". Project Baseline. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  26. ^ Gaskill, Melissa. "Scuba Divers Left Picking Up Pieces After Tire Artificial Reef Projects Fail". Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  27. ^ Morang, A., Waters, J. P., & Stauble, D. K. (2014). Performance of Submerged Prefabricated Structures to Improve Sand Retention at Beach Nourishment Projects. Journal of Coastal Research, 3 0( 6), 11401156. doi:10.2112/JCOASTRESD1300137.1
  28. ^ Peppard, Jim (21 August 2009). "Florida tire reef removal ends for the year". St. Petersburg, Florida: WTSP. Archived from the original on 1 December 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  29. ^ Olsen, Erik (18 August 2008). "Out of Commission Above Water, but Not Below It". New York Times. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  30. ^ "WWII-era ship becomes sunken reef off Key West". AT&T Online News. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
  31. ^ "Ship to Become 2nd Largest Intentional Reef". New York Times. Associated Press. 25 May 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
  32. ^ Hudy, Paul. "North Carolina Shipwrecks". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  33. ^ Mobile Riverine Force Association (October 4, 1999). "History of The USS Indra (ARL-37)". Archived from the original on February 23, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  34. ^ "Cancun's Underwater Museum Blooms In Time For Spring". Cancun Vacation Blog. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2017-10-05.
  35. ^ "HMAS Swan - History". Michael McFayden's Scuba Diving Web Site. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  36. ^ "Welcome to the official former HMAS Perth Website". Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  37. ^ "Dive the Ex-HMAS Hobart". Archived from the original on 27 February 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  38. ^ "Ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park". Archived from the original on May 11, 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  39. ^ "ex-HMAS Canberra Reef". Dive the ex-HMAS Canberra. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  40. ^ "Ex-HMAS Tobruk scuttled off the Queensland coast to become dive wreck". ABC. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  41. ^ Costa Rican Electricity Institute launches construction of artificial reef
  42. ^ Playa Hermosa Artificial Reef Project
  43. ^ Our latest weapon in the fight to save dying coral reefs is … a concrete pod?
  44. ^ Bennett, Owen (19 November 2013). "Gibraltar: We are just one shot away from military conflict, warns MP amid new standoff". Daily Express. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  45. ^ Kim, Soo (1 July 2014). "The world's largest underwater theme park planned in Dubai". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  46. ^ "Jordan Creates Artificial Reef From Decommissioned Military Vehicles". New York Times. 25 July 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  47. ^ "Spindrift Reefs Dive Center". Archived from the original on 2016-01-09.

External links

Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia

The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia (ARSBC) is a registered non-profit society based in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), and is a registered tax-deductible charity in Canada.

Its aim is to create environmentally and economically sustainable 'artificial reefs' in British Columbia and around the world for the protection and enhancement of sensitive marine habitats, while also providing interesting destinations for the enjoyment of scuba divers.

Since 1991, the Society has sunk seven ships and one Boeing 737 in the waters off BC's west coast.

The Society has no paid employees, and consists of a volunteer Board of Directors and hundreds of volunteers from BC, Alberta, and the northwest United States who have worked on its projects. Its mission is to create and maintain artificial reefs for use by scuba divers as a means to promote the local economy, the technology and safety procedures involved in creating artificial reefs, promote the use of artificial reefs to minimize the impact caused by scuba divers on other historically significant or ecologically sensitive sites, and to monitor all developments regarding their artificial reefs for environmental impact and diver safety.

Gibraltar Artificial Reef

The Gibraltar Artificial Reef, or simply the Gibraltar Reef, is the ongoing artificial reef project for the Mediterranean waters surrounding the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. The initiative was started in 1973 by Dr. Eric Shaw of the Helping Hand Trust.

It consists of a collection of sunken wrecks designed to give marine wildlife an environment to breed and colonise.

The reef project has been the centre of political disagreements between Spain and the UK government.

HMS Scylla (F71)

HMS Scylla (F71) was a Leander-class frigate of the Royal Navy. She was built at Devonport Royal Dockyard, the last RN frigate to be built there as of 2016. Scylla was commissioned in 1970, taken out of service in 1993 in accordance with Options for Change, and sunk as an artificial reef in 2004.

Index of recreational dive sites

See the Glossary of underwater diving terminology for definitions of technical terms, jargon, diver slang and acronyms used in underwater diving

See the Outline of underwater diving for a hierararchical listing of underwater diving related articles

See the Index of underwater divers for an alphabetical listing of articles about underwater divers

See the Index of underwater diving for an alphabetical listing of underwater diving related articlesThe following index is provided as an overview of and topical guide to recreational dive sites:

Recreational dive sites – specific places that recreational divers go to enjoy the underwater environment or are used for training purposes.

MV Rozi

MV Rozi was a tugboat, built in Bristol in 1958. She was originally called Rossmore, and was later renamed Rossgarth. She was sold to Tug Malta in 1981 as the Rozi and operated in the Grand Harbour. After being decommissioned, she was scuttled off Ċirkewwa as an artificial reef. It is now one of the most popular dive sites in Malta.

Mount Maunganui

Mount Maunganui (Māori pronunciation: [ˈmaʉŋaˌnʉi], locally ) is a major residential, commercial and industrial suburb of Tauranga, located on a peninsula to the north-east of Tauranga's city centre. It was an independent town from Tauranga until the completion of the Tauranga Harbour Bridge in 1988, which connects Mount Maunganui to Tauranga's central business district.

Mount Maunganui is also the name of the large lava dome which was formed by the upwelling of rhyolite lava about two to three million years ago. It is officially known by its Māori name Mauao, but is colloquially known in New Zealand simply as The Mount.The New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage gives a translation of "large mountain" for Maunganui.

River-class destroyer escort

The River class was a class of six destroyer escorts (originally designated anti-submarine frigates) operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Plans to acquire four vessels, based on the British Type 12M (or Rothesay class) frigate, began in the 1950s. The first two vessels had some slight modifications to the design, while the next two underwent further changes. Two more ships were ordered in 1964, following the Melbourne-Voyager collision; these were based on the Type 12I (or Leander class) frigate.

By the 1990s, all six ships had left service. Two were sunk as part of tests, and a third was scuttled as an artificial reef, while the other three ships were scrapped.

SAS Good Hope

SAS Good Hope (pennant number: F432) was one of three Loch-class frigates in the South African Navy (SAN). It was built as HMS Loch Boisdale (K432) for the Royal Navy during World War II, but was transferred to the SAN before completion in 1944 and renamed as HMSAS Good Hope. The ship was assigned to convoy escort duties in 1945, but did not encounter any enemy ships before the end of the war.

It was assigned to ferry troops home from Egypt afterwards and made port visits in Middle Africa in 1948. Upon returning home, Good Hope was placed in reserve until it was converted into a training ship during the mid-1950s and served as the navy's flagship. The ship was again placed in reserve in 1965 and was sold for scrap in 1977. Good Hope's remains were donated for use as an artificial reef and it was scuttled the following year.

SAS Transvaal

SAS Transvaal was one of three Loch-class frigates in the South African Navy (SAN). She was built as HMS Loch Ard (K602) for the Royal Navy during World War II, but was transferred to the SAN in 1944 before completion and renamed as HMSAS Transvaal. The ship was completed shortly after the German surrender in May 1945 and did not participate in the war.

Transvaal was assigned to ferry troops home from Egypt after the war and participated in the annexation of the Prince Edward Islands in late 1947. Together with her sister ships, the ship made port visits in Middle Africa in 1948. Three years later, she participated in the celebration of Australia's Golden Jubilee. Transvaal received a lengthy refit in the late 1950s. The ship was placed in reserve in 1964 and was sold for scrap in 1977. Transvaal's remains were donated for use as an artificial reef and it was scuttled the following year.

Saltwater State Park

Saltwater State Park is an 87.4 acres (0.354 km2) plot of second-growth timber on Puget Sound in the City of Des Moines, Washington, United States halfway between Seattle and Tacoma. The main attraction is 1,445 feet (440 m) of saltwater beachfront, including a sandy swimming beach in the southwest corner, and rocky tideflats along the west with a submerged artificial reef that is popular with scuba divers. A forty-person group camp looks down on the beach from a high bluff.

Overlooked by most visitors is the steep ravine of McSorley (formerly Smith) Creek which winds inland in a gentle "S" curve joined by three tributary streams. Fifty-two campsites are situated on a road that parallels the creek, serving the public on a first-come-first-served basis. On both the north and south sides of the ravine there is a network of hiking trails which follow up the side creeks, rise through jungles of stinging nettles, skirt the edges of cliffs and ridges, and cross wooded plateaus.

As of 2009, Saltwater State Park has been designated a Marine Protected Area. Salmon spawn in McSorley Creek and the area provides habitat for many species of fish. There is some concern that the increase in visitors to the park due to the artificial reef may harm fish populations. In addition, the boundaries of the Marine Protected Area are not well marked and both professional and amateur geoduck harvesters may sometimes accidentally be out of compliance with the Marine Protected Area harvest restrictions.

Marine View Drive passes over the park on a 200 feet (61 m) high bridge, and 16th Avenue S crosses two branches of McSorley Creek to form the eastern boundary. One trail rises between the two branches of the creek to exit the park, while another trail continues from the dead-end of the campground service road a short way east of 16th Ave. along the main branch of the creek, informally extending the park.

The Redondo turn point for jets approaching SeaTac Airport is just to the south, so the park is rather noisy, but Saltwater remains the most-used State Park in the Puget Sound region with an average of 750,000 visitors a year.

Spawning bed

A spawning bed is an underwater solid surface on which fish spawn to reproduce themselves.

In fishery management, a spawning bed is an artificial bed constructed by wildlife professionals in order to improve the ability of desired game fish to reproduce. Increasing the spawning ability of a fish population may reduce pressure on a fishery and improve the productivity of supplemental stocking from fish hatcheries.

In the inland waters of North America, a typical spawning bed will consist of a series of concrete boxes filled with aggregate gravel. The concept is credited to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.In a typical example of spawning beds in action, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has installed approximately 50 largemouth bass spawning beds in Crab Orchard Lake in southern Illinois.In some cases, especially in salt water, an artificial structure may significantly alter underwater morphology and create an artificial reef. Some vessels have been deliberately sunken, especially in salt water, in order to provide a destination for divers. In some of these cases the artificial reef also serves a supplemental purpose as a spawning bed.


Stanegarth was built in 1910 as a steam-powered tugboat by Lytham Ship Builders Company for service with the British Waterways Board. She was converted to diesel power in 1957. The tug used to tow three dredging hoppers, each crewed by two men, on the trip to and from Gloucester to Purton.On 6 June 2000 she was scuttled at Stoney Cove to produce an artificial reef suitable for wreck diving. The wreck now sits in 20 metres (66 ft) of fresh water and measures more than 18 metres (59 ft) long with a beam of 5 metres (16 ft). A plaque attached to it reads "Stanegarth project by Stoney Cove and Diver Magazine June 2008".

Texas Clipper

USTS Texas Clipper, 473 foot ship, served as a merchant marine training vessel with the Texas Maritime Academy at Texas A&M University at Galveston for 30 years beginning in 1965. Her name is reflective of clipper ships of old, both designed with a characteristic rounded stern.

Prior to her service as a training vessel, Texas Clipper had served in World War II as an attack transport vessel named USS Queens. Following the war, in 1948, Queens was converted into the trans-atlantic ocean-liner SS Excambion, a member of the quartet of ships referred to as "4 Aces" for American Export Lines. Excambion carried passengers and cargo on a regular sailing route from New York to various Mediterranean ports.

Following service as a training ship, the Texas Clipper I was moored at the Beaumont Reserve Fleet from 1996-2006. In 2006, Texas Clipper was transferred to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Artificial Reef Program to be turned into an artificial reef. This transfer allowed the ship to not be scrapped.

The Reef Ball Foundation

The Reef Ball Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) publicly supported non-profit organization that functions as an international environmental Non-governmental organization. The foundation uses Reef Ball artificial reef technology, combined with coral propagation, transplant technology, public education and community training to build, restore and protect coral reefs. The foundation has established "Reef Ball reefs" in 59 countries, and ongoing projects increase the number to more than 70. Over 550,000 Reef Balls have been deployed in more than 4,000 projects.

USCGC Mohawk (WPG-78)

The fifth US Coast Guard cutter named Mohawk (WPG-78) was built by Pusey & Jones Corp., Wilmington, Delaware, and launched 1 October 1934. She was commissioned on 19 January 1935.

USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg (T-AGM-10)

USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg (T-AGM-10) (originally named USS General Harry Taylor (AP-145)) was a General G. O. Squier-class transport ship in the United States Navy in World War II named in honor of U.S. Army Chief of Engineers Harry Taylor. She served for a time as army transport USAT General Harry Taylor, and was reacquired by the navy in 1950 as USNS General Harry Taylor (T-AP-145).

Placed in reserve in 1958, she was transferred to the U.S. Air Force in 1961 and renamed USAFS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg in 1963 in honor of the former Air Force Chief of Staff. She was reacquired by the U.S. Navy in 1964 as USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg (T-AGM-10).

Retired in 1983, and struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 1993, she was to be sunk as an artificial reef originally intended for the spring of 2008, but instead was placed under Federal Lien to be auctioned off for payment recovery in December 2008 at Norfolk Federal Court. A group of banks and financiers from Key West bought the vessel off the auction block and it was docked at the East Quay Pier of Key West Harbor. The ship was sunk 27 May 2009 and is the second-largest artificial reef in the world, after the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany.

USS Oriskany (CV-34)

USS Oriskany (CV/CVA-34) – nicknamed Mighty O, and occasionally referred to as the O-boat – was one of the few Essex-class aircraft carriers completed after World War II for the United States Navy. The ship was named for the Battle of Oriskany during the Revolutionary War.

The history of Oriskany differs considerably from that of her sister ships. Originally designed as a "long-hulled" Essex-class ship (considered by some authorities to be a separate class, the Ticonderoga class) her construction was suspended in 1946. She eventually was commissioned in 1950 after conversion to an updated design called SCB-27 ("27-Charlie"), which became the template for modernization of 14 other Essex-class ships. Oriskany was the final Essex-class ship completed.

She operated primarily in the Pacific into the 1970s, earning two battle stars for service in the Korean War, and five for service in the Vietnam War. In 1966, one of the worst shipboard fires since World War II broke out on Oriskany when a magnesium flare was accidentally ignited; forty-four men died in the fire.

Oriskany's post-service history also differs considerably from that of her sister ships. Decommissioned in 1976, she was sold for scrap in 1995, but was repossessed in 1997 because nothing was being done. In 2004, it was decided to sink her as an artificial reef off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. After much environmental review and remediation to remove toxic substances, she was carefully sunk in May 2006, settling in an upright position at a depth accessible to recreational divers. As of 2008, Oriskany is the largest vessel ever sunk to make a reef.

USS Scuffle (AM-298)

USS Scuffle (AM-298) was an Admirable-class minesweeper built for the United States Navy during World War II. She was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation and five battle stars for service in the Pacific during World War II. She was decommissioned in June 1946 and placed in reserve. While remaining in reserve, Scuffle was reclassified as MSF-298 in February 1955, but never reactivated. In October 1962, she was sold to the Mexican Navy and renamed ARM DM-05. In 1994, she was renamed ARM General Felipe Xicoténcatl (C53). She was sunk as an artificial reef and dive attraction off of Cozumel in 1999, and was stricken from the rolls of the Mexican Navy in 2000.

Um El Faroud

Um El Faroud was a 10,000 ton Libyan-owned single screw motor tanker. Following a gas explosion during maintenance work in 1995, she was scuttled off the coast of Malta as an artificial reef and diving attraction.

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