September 24, 2021
Tug Singleton departs on its final voyage tomorrow. The 90-foot tugboat is being sunk 160 feet underwater water near the Fort Pierce Sportfishing Club reef as part of St. Lucie County’s Artificial Reef Program.
In July, McCulley Marine Services, Summerlin’s Marine Construction and Marine Cleanup Initiative, Inc. held a fish fry fundraiser at the Little Jim Bait and Tackle to raise money to clean and deploy the retired vessel that was donated to St. Lucie County.
Artificial reefs spare tons of concrete and steel from landfills and provide a natural habitat for more than 100 species of fish, including adult snapper and grouper, snook, sharks and other fish, as well as baitfish and juvenile fish.
A study by the University of Florida shows that artificial reefs attract more than just marine life. After examining six southwest Florida counties’ artificial reef programs, researchers were able to show that the reefs reeled in more than $253 million into the region during a 12-month timeframe. While it only costs a saltwater fishing license to use the submerged structures as a fishing spot, anglers spend money on food, lodging, fuel, tackle and other necessities. Researchers found that $136 million came from residents, while $117 million was spent by visitors.
For more information about St. Lucie County’s artificial reef program visit: www.stlucieco.gov/reefs or contact St. Lucie County Coastal Resources Coordinator Jim Oppenborn at 772-462-1713 or firstname.lastname@example.org.