Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Old Dry Dock Gate Converted Into Artificial Reef


HII announced this week that its Newport News Shipbuilding division has donated a former dry dock caisson gate, giving it new life as part of an artificial reef.

Caisson gates are used at the harbor end of a dry dock, with pipes inside allowing for water from the James River to enter when NNS needs to flood the dry dock. This particular gate, originally put into service at NNS in 1967, was part of a dry dock no longer in use at the shipyard.

NNS crews worked to prepare the caisson gate, ensuring that it was environmentally ready to take on its new mission. That included stripping all loose paint, removing electrical items and ensuring all oils and solvents were removed. The gate was also ballasted for sinking to ensure it landed on the seabed properly.

HII donates dry dock gate for an artificial reef (Image credit: Lexi Whitehead/HII)
HII donates dry dock gate for an artificial reef (Image credit: Lexi Whitehead/HII)

In late June, the gate left NNS, was towed offshore and sunk. It’s now taking on a new life as part of the Virginia Marine Resource Commission’s Tower Reef, which is already home to multiple barges, other vessels and subway cars.

According to NNS senior dock master John Anderson who spearheaded the project:

“Donating this caisson gate to give it a new purpose was a natural choice for us. We understand that nurturing and protecting our oceans isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense as we serve our customer, shipbuilders and community.”

The donation directly supports the US state of Virginia’s artificial reef program, which aims to replicate natural fish habitats as closely as possible and increase fishing opportunities for anglers.

VMRC Commissioner Jamie Green, a strong proponent for the program, explained:

“VMRC has been building and enhancing reefs for citizens of the commonwealth for over 40 years. We are excited to partner with NNS to utilize material that has such a rich history with the Hampton Roads area.”

(Featured image credit: Lexi Whitehead/HII)

John Liang
John Lianghttps://www.deeperblue.com/
John Liang is the News Editor at DeeperBlue.com. He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.