National Geographic : 2011 Feb
Fort Lauderdale Miami Beach Key West Pensacola Key Largo Port Aransas German submarine U-352 Bibb Duane Spiegel Grove M60 tanks Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Osborne Tire Reef Spar Oriskany Neptune Memorial Reef General Hoyt S. Vandenberg Bottom Dwellings Just about any object can become an artificial reef, from intentionally sunk boats, oil rigs, and trains to warships torpedoed in the heat of battle. Once underwater they provide a habitat that attracts fish and may nurture the growth of coral. Other artificial reefs Reef mentioned in story Artificial Reefs Scale varies in this perspective. Distance from Cape Lookout to Key West is 760 miles (1,223 kilometers). NGM MAPS. ART: SHIZUKA AOKI SOURCES: NOAA; BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT, REGULATION, AND ENFORCEMENT Large sunken ships with strong hulls can last for decades on the seafloor, luring not only sea life but also adventurers seeking a dive through history. Oil and gas rigs provide habitat among their frameworks; thousands of them line the Gulf coast. The legs of rigs no longer in use are some- times toppled rather than removed. Reef Balls are engineered hollow, concrete structures 1.5 to 6.5 feet across. Some have a rough surface designed to promote the growth of corals and algae. Subway cars and other defunct transport vehicles have been deployed as reefs off East Coast states. Their structures can remain intact for nearly 20 years.