Video: Tugboat Sunk to Become Artificial Reef off New Jersey

(Photo and video courtesy of NJ Division of Fish & Widlife)

Published Jun 18, 2020 4:23 PM by The Maritime Executive

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife recent arranged for the sinking of the 65-foot tugboat the Vinik Huntress to become part of the Sandy Hook Reef site. The tugboat now rests in 58 feet of water, with a vertical relief of 25 feet, at the following coordinates: 40*21541 x 073*56.006

Since 1984, the Bureau of Marine Fisheries has been involved in an intensive program of artificial reef construction. The purpose is to create a network of artificial reefs in the ocean waters along the New Jersey coast to provide a hard substrate for fish, shellfish and crustaceans, fishing grounds for anglers, and underwater structures for scuba divers. 

Vessels and structures, after being emptied of all machinery and fluids and thoroughly cleaned, are inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard and DEP before sinking. Due to the thickness and quality of steel used in their construction, the New Jersey staff expects the service life of this artificial reef to last over 75 years. 

At present, the division holds permits for 17 artificial reef sites encompassing a total of 25 square miles of sea floor. The reefs are strategically located along the coast so that 1 site is within easy boat range of 12 New Jersey ocean inlets. 

The sinking of this tugboat, the fourth vessel on at the Sandy Hook Reef site, is in memory of Hudson River Fishermen's Association past member Darren Cardinal. Sponsorship for this project was provided by the association and The Sportfishing Fund.