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This 126-Foot Yacht Was Just Transformed Into an Artificial Reef

by multimill
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Usually, a superyacht sinking to the bottom of the ocean is not good news. But that’s not the case with Time, a 126-foot Palmer Johnson launched in 1988. The wreck will benefit coral, divers and reef fish along Florida’s Atlantic coast.

The yacht was scuttled on Saturday near the Fort Pierce Sportfishing Club in Fort Pierce, Fla., to become an artificial reef. About 55 other vessels have been sunk along the coast to create reefs, according to the Marine Cleanup Initiative (MCI), which partnered with St. Lucie County’s Artificial Reef Program to complete the project.

The boat, which is now just an aluminum skeleton without engines or interior fittings, had been stripped for the last 10 months in preparation for the event. It will sit at a depth of about 150 feet.

“Two hundred and sixty-four tons of aluminum is expected to attract spores of oculina varicosa,” said an MCI statement.

“We are expecting her to be full of white oculina, so she will actually be considered the first oculina nursery outside of the oculina banks,” Christa Stone, director of operations at the MCI, told WPTV.com, referring to the white fan-like coral. “The more we are being more proactive and preventative at trying to maintain the sustainability out here, we have a greater chance at a healthier ecosystem.”

Superyacht 'Time' in the late 1980s.

Time in its glory days in the late 1980s.

Courtesy Tom Fexas Design

Coral reefs around the world are experiencing bleaching because of stronger UV rays from the sun. The Great Barrier Reef has seen massive die offs because of the bleaching. Stone said that shade from the boats they sink will help reduce temperatures on the ocean floor, allowing coral to thrive and providing researchers with the opportunity to study environmental impacts on coral.

Time was designed by Tom Fexas. With its Detroit Diesel engines, the boat had a top speed of 31 knots. It had been sitting idle for 15 years before it was donated to the local nonprofit. The structure was renamed the AA Hendry Reef in honor of a local family.

Superyacht 'Time' Scuttled to Become Artificial Reef

Going, going . . . The bow disappearing under the surface.

Courtesy MCI

The yacht is not the first to become an artificial reef. In February, a 53-foot motoryacht that had been abandoned was sunk in the Chesapeake Bay, joining 21 other vessels that comprise artificial reefs near Maryland’s Love Point. In April, the 105-foot supply vessel RMS Cyclops was scuttled in the Gulf of Mexico near the Florida Panhandle to create a new reef. The local county has scuttled 10 large vessels in the last three years.

Officials said that it will take at least a year for the vessels to become full-blown ecosystems.

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