A new artificial reef has been installed in the Floridan seas around Destin-Fort Walton Beach. On January 15, 2023, the ex-research vessel R/V MANTA was intentionally destroyed 16 nautical miles (30 km) offshore.
The Okaloosa County Tourist Development Department reports that:
“This expansion supports a long-term vision of continuing to grow as a sought-after destination for those seeking premier fishing and diving opportunities.”
In the next weeks, the R/V DOLPHIN, the sister ship of the MANTA, will also be sunk nearby.
Trey Goodwin, chairman of the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners, said:
“This is an exciting new addition to our growing artificial reef system, and we are extremely proud of the work the Coastal Resource team has done with this effort. Not only will it offer additional fishing and diving opportunities, but it will continue to sustain vital ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico.”Trey Goodwin
The R/V MANTA was submerged in water that is about 110 feet (33.5 metres) deep, and it has a statue of Jesus on it that has been dubbed the “Christ of the Gulf” in honour of a number of other monuments that can be found all over the globe.
Even novice divers may visit the monument since it is situated on the upper deck at a depth of roughly 50 feet (15 meters).
Glenn Camplejohn, a member of the Deepwater Mafia, a Mississippi-based Christian diving organization that often dives in the region, is the author of “Christ of the Gulf.”
Alex Fogg, a coastal resource manager, said:
“The deployment of the R/V MANTA and R/V DOLPHIN in the coming weeks, are not only significant in terms of the recreational opportunities they present, but they also provide habitat for vital species of fish that inhabit our region. We are now home to more than 400 artificial reefs, and it’s been remarkable to see how our efforts are not only contributing to valuable experiences out on the water, but also to the protection of these delicate environments. The addition of both vessels marks the start of what we hope to be a celebratory year of even more impactful costal efforts ahead.”Alex Fogg
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