Artificial Reef Projects
Artificial reefs provide ecological and socioeconomic benefits. By providing habitat for fish and other sea life, they increase the natural biological function and capacity of bodies of water. This results in increased resident fish populations, which translates to increased revenue through the tourism and fishing industries. They also serve as a second home for various construction and commercial debris, including broken culverts, bridge demolitions, boxcars and retired vessels. Many items once considered trash are given a second chance.
Once destined for the landfills, they now offer habitat for sea life and a destination for divers and fishermen, all while aiding in the preservation and stabilization of the coastline and water quality throughout the bays and nearshore ecosystems.
The Florida “Divers-Down Flag” law requires that scuba divers and snorkelers display a flag whenever they are in the water.
- The divers-down flag is a square or rectangular red flag (at least 20 x 24 inches if displayed on a vessel; at least 12 x 12 inches if displayed on a tow buoy) with a white diagonal stripe and with wire or other stiffener to hold it unfurled and extended.
- In addition, a blue and white International Code Flag A (or alpha flag) may be displayed on dive vessels on federally controlled waters. This flag indicates that a vessel is involved in a diving activity. The alpha flag does not satisfy requirements of Florida state law.
- Boaters must make reasonable efforts to stay 300 feet away from dive flags in open water and 100 feet away in rivers, inlets or navigation channels.
- Boaters approaching divers-down flags closer than 300 feet in open water and 100 feet in rivers, inlets, or navigation channels must proceed no faster than is necessary to maintain headway and steerageway (idle speed).
- Approach a reef area slowly when other boats are in the area.
- Try to make contact with other boaters before approaching a reef site that is being used.
- Remember, when a dive flag is displayed all vessels must make a reasonable effort to maintain a minimum distance of 300 feet.
- The reefs cover a large area. Coordinates given are to help to locate the reefs. Watching the depth sounder will help you locate a piece of the reef for your enjoyment. Share the reefs!
- Remember, reef location buoys often are placed in the center of the permitted area, not directly on top of reef material.