Delaware's artificial reefs grow

    Divers in Delaware now have another ship to explore in Redbird Reef.

    Divers in Delaware now have another ship to explore in Redbird Reef.

    Delaware’s most popular reef site located 16 nautical miles east of Indian River Inlet gained a new tugboat, Sandy Point.

    The boat was sunk near two fishing boats that were added to the reef last year.  The ships “are close enough together that a diver can probably now access all three vessels on a single dive,” Jeffrey Tinsman, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Artificial Reef Program Manager said.

    Retired navy ship "The Gregory Poole" is sunk 26 miles southeast of Indian river inlet in 2007.
    Retired navy ship "The Gregory Poole" is sunk 26 miles southeast of Indian river inlet in 2007.

    Redbird Reef is also the site of nearly 1,000 retired New York City subway cars as well as numerous other vessels.

    At another artificial reef site located five and a half miles from the Indian River Inlet in Sussex County, six barges, including two over 100 feet long were sunk.

    “All the barges and the tug sank nicely into their new homes,” Tinsman said.

    Later this year, another site will have the ex-USS Arthur W. Radford added to it.  A former navy destroyer, the 563-foot-long Radford will be the largest vessel reefed on the East Coast.

    There are 14 permitted reef sites in Delaware.  All vessels destined to be reefed are cleaned to have any harmful materials removed and inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard.

    DNREC officials say reef construction is very important in the Mid-Atlantic region for fish and other water species since the shore bottom is usually just sand and mud.

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