Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Automobile Reefs

In May 1960, the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce News Bulletin reported that its Board was backing an artificial snapper reef plan developed by the West Bank Council:

"The Sports Committee of the West Bank Council reported that such a reef could be constructed at a cost of about $18,000 and would attract fish into the Gulf waters and, consequently, attract large numbers of fishermen and tourists to the area.

"The reef would be constructed of old car bodies laced together with steel cables and anchored approximately 7 1/2 miles from the seaward end of the Freeport Harbor Channel Jetty."(1)

Alabama and Texas had previously created artificial reefs in this manner. In 1959, Florida deployed concrete linings from a demolished causeway to develop one on the southeast corner of Fisher Island Estate. Virginia utilized a combination of motorized vehicles for two reefs: one located near the Thimble Shoals Lighthouse; and one 12 miles off of Cape Henry. South Carolina initiated a 1967 reef with 70 scrapped vehicles, and quickly added three tugboats; two mine sweepers; a drydock; a barge; 30,000 tires and 50 pontoons.(2)

In 2001, New York City Transit officials retired some 714 World's Fair series Redbird subway cars in this fashion. When the new "Redbird Reef" needed expansion seven years later, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources dropped a World War II-era Navy tanker.

(1)"Council Backs Artificial Reef." Chamber of Commerce News Bulletin XLI:22 (27 May 1960).

(2)"Junk Brings Life to Carolina Waters." The Times-Picayune 4 November 1984.

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