DeeperBlue.com had a great opportunity at DEMA Show 2017 to catch up with Joe Weatherby to hear about a very exciting Ships to Reefs project on the horizon.
As the president of Artificial Reefs International, Joe has had a hand in the sinking of some truly iconic wrecks such as Key West’s USS Vandenberg, so he is no stranger to the incredible benefits that these sites can bring to the ecosystem and divers alike. After much delicate planning and preparation the sinking of an artificial reef can provide wonderful habitat for species to thrive and colonize successfully.
Wreck dive lovers united will be happy to hear that a project is underway to sink a World War II US Navy submarine named the USS Clamagore off the shore of Juno Beach, Florida.
This massive sub is greater than a football field in length at 225 feet/69 meters, while standing at about six stories (~18 meters) tall. The potential for such a vessel is great for the use as an artificial reef structure. This massive ship can currently be found docked as a working museum in Palm Beach County, Florida, however when the decision was posed whether to scrap or sink her some exciting plans began to form.
Upon cleaning up and preparing the boat to transfer to her final resting place, a portion of the ship is going to remain at sea level as a maritime museum, an education tool accessible to all. The remaining part of the vessel will be modified for optimal colonization by marine life and submerged at a depth of 90 feet/27 meters. At this site, the wonders of this wreck will be accessible to a wide range of divers with the promise of greatly enriching the structure for habitat on the seabed.
This US$4million (~3.4 million Euros) project will definitely be one for the books, creating a thrilling and expansive underwater oasis that divers will want to return to time and time again. For more information about the USS Clamagore project and its sinking date in June 2018, visit clamagorereef.com.
— Natalie Blea