DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — The Okaloosa County Coastal Resource team is working to transform a decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard tugboat into an artificial reef.
The tugboat named MISS JOANN will be added to the growing ‘boat yard’ reef sight 16 miles off the Destin coast in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mogan Marine donated the coast guard vessel to Okaloosa County in August of 2021 after determining it would cost too much to repair for military service.
Okaloosa County’s Coastal Resource team agreed to fund the rest of the project to deploy the vessel as an artificial reef. The tugboat will provide a future home for Amberjack and Cobia fish.
“Artificial reefs are essential to our community that depends heavily on fishing and diving as a recreational activity and tourism product. We lack the offshore natural reef habitat; therefore, artificial reefs are even more important here. The MISS JOANN will be a great addition to our artificial reef program and we hope it will be visited by divers and fisherman for years to come.”Alex Fogg, Coastal Resource Manager, Destin-Fort Walton Beach.
MISS JOANN will sink to 114 feet next to previously dropped DYLAN in 2020 and BRANNON in 2021. The Coastal Resource team said it will have about 40 feet of relief, sitting the site at 74 feet.
The 64-foot vessel will be an addition to almost 400 artificial reef sites offshore Okaloosa County.Okaloosa County Coastal Resource team
Morgan Marine cleaned out the vessel for deployment at their site in Freeport, Fla. MISS JOANN was rid of all wood and electrical wiring. Crews removed the windows and cut additional holes in the boat for marine life to swim freely in the structure.
According to the Coast Resource team, MISS JOANN will deploy sometime after January 21, 2022.
Click through the slideshow below to see the tug boat transformation:
Coordinates for all Okaloosa County artificial reefs can be found here.
For more information on Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida, please visit www.destinfwb.com.