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U.S. Air Force unit sunk in Florida as artificial reef - video

Big Dawg – a vessel belonging to the U.S. Air Force has been sunk off the southern coast of Florida as an artificial reef. Retired from service, the vessel has now been given a whole new mission on the ocean floor. On Friday, May 7, 2021, a new artificial reef was created in the waters
Published: May 24, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:37
U.S. Air Force unit sunk in Florida as artificial reef – video

Big Dawg – a vessel belonging to the U.S. Air Force has been sunk off the southern coast of Florida as an artificial reef. Retired from service, the vessel has now been given a whole new mission on the ocean floor.

On Friday, May 7, 2021, a new artificial reef was created in the waters of Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida. It is the wreck of the Big Dawg craft, retired from service with the United States Air Force. The wreck measures nearly 30 metres long and is the largest that local divers have sunk in the region in more than a decade.

new wreck in Florida Preparations for the sinking of Big Dawg were already started by the project developers in the summer of 2020. The decommissioned vessel was donated to the local diving community by representatives U.S. Air Force. Afterwards, the people responsible for the project cleaned up the dilapidated vessel and prepared it for sinking.

When everything was ready the project developers towed the Big Dawg about 14 nautical miles southwest of Destin Pass and sank it without any major problems. The wreck settled as planned on its keel, at a depth of about 32 metres, and access to the wreck is now available to anyone able to dive to a depth of 21 metres.

sinking of a Florida wreck

We prepared the whole thing especially with divers in mind. The large holes let light in and make it a very cool wreck to penetrate. said Alex Fogg

First inhabitants

Within 30 minutes of the sinking, a group of divers checking the situation underwater spotted a large turtle making itself at home near the Big Dawg wreck.

Sea turtle on an artificial reef The first divers who came to the wreck reported that the visibility reaches 18 metres. Such visibility allows the peacocks to see the entire vessel in the frame. During the dive, apart from the mentioned sea turtle, it was also noted starfish i sea urchins so-called sand dollars. For the creators, this is a clear signal that the wreck is becoming part of the local ecosystem.

By October, the artificial reef creators will have deployed several more habitats in the area. They are made of recycled concrete and precast concrete that is formed into Structures to attract underwater life sea. Such artificial reefs benefit the underwater inhabitants as well as divers and the local community.

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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