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Guice Offshore, Coastal Conservation Association Team Up On South Florida Artificial Reef Memorial

Guice Offshore once again teamed up with the Coastal Conservation Association and the John Michael Baker Memorial Foundation to help John’s mother place his ashes in a specially designed artificial reef ball that would protect her son’s memory for all time.

Headed out to John’s reef together with our partners at Global SubDive on October 9, 2022, Guice Offshore (“GO”) applied the GO America’s powerful A-frame, dynamic positioning and other heavy equipment (shown in the video below) to place the sentimental new underwater addition to the growing circle of life it now engenders since we first helped to build it in 2018. 

The deployment took place just offshore from Broward County, Florida’s Port Everglades, where the GO America makes her home base.

To take a virtual tour of the GO America and view her specs, click here. 

Read the John Michael Baker story and watch the WSVN news clip here.  

Read the 2018 story and watch the WPLG (an ABC News affiliate) clip here.

In 2018, the Foundation teamed up with the Coastal Conservation Association Florida-Broward Chapter (CCA Broward) to launch the John Michael Baker Memorial Reef. The artificial reef project was deployed in August 2018, which was Phase 1 of a 5 year project.

The reef constructed off the coast of Fort Lauderdale is dedicated to John with a memorial plaque celebrating his passion for everything “ocean.”

Proceeds from the annual John Michael Fishing Tournament continue to fund the project. Through sponsorship, donations and tournament participation, John’s memory lives on through ocean conservation and the continuing support of student education through scholarships. The Foundation has awarded $150,000 in scholarships in the first four years.

About this week’s deployment, President of the Coastal Conservation Association Broward Chapter Mike Lambrechts said:  “It’s hard to find words for today because there are too many. It was our fourth John Michael Baker Memorial Reef Deployment in the last several years, and this one was just that much more special.

“In the last three deployments, we’ve strategically set around 1.5 million pounds of clean concrete as substrate for corals and other growth as well as habitat for other marine organisms. What’s also important to note is how important projects like these are for resiliency – our coral reefs (worldwide) are dying or mostly dead and ultimately we will lose the ‘barrier’ to our treasured barrier reef here off our coast (one of the largest in the world, by the way).
“What was extra special about today is not only the fact that we put 17 structures on the bottom (and in record time), but one of them was a 10,000 lb. reef ball that contained the ashes of John Michael Baker. I’m so happy for the family that they were able to send their son to a place he loves for eternity.”
Describing the logistics for the deployment, Lambrechts explained: 
“These projects take months, not weeks to plan. There is endless logistical coordination between (Broward) County, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Wildlife Commission, U.S. Coast Guard, and other regulatory agencies. Once that is accomplished, that has to suit a specific timeline to deployment for the vessel Guice Offshore LLC (GO America), the divers Industrial Divers Corporation, U.S. Navy, Dania Cut Super Yacht, the families involved, Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA)Global SubDiveU.S. Concrete ProductsReef Innovations out of Sarasota and oh, the weather.  All of these have to fall perfectly into place on one given day.
“There is the other element – money. So many donors are at play here between the John Michael Baker Fishing Tournament, CCA, and the donors that support them.  Our stakeholders and marine contractors also come to the table to help make this feasible, every year.  So many people give up so much and frankly it’s hard to find a better project to take on when it comes to honoring a young man who loved the water and doing it in the name of conservation for our ocean.”
Coastal Conservation Association gave special thanks to Sportsman’s Adventures with Captain Rick Murphy and Florida Insider Fishing Report), whose respective shows will feature the segment.

“Charlie Gregory at the Reef Institute will be happy for more places for their corals to grow,” others wrote on social media. “It was great work by JMB foundation, CCA, Guice Offshore, Broward County, Industrial Divers, Mike Lambrechts and many others for their work to help restore our reefs by providing substrate structure for corals to grow and shelter for coral protecting fish to live, among other marine life.  Walk the walk and this team is incredible and walks the walks. Industrial Divers and Guice Offshore have also been involved in removing many of the million or so tires that were dumped years ago in 60 ft of water off Sunrise, known as the Osbourne.”

The CCA wrote that it is proud to support the completion of the fourth deployment on the John Michael Baker Memorial Reef in Broward County, which involved the sinking of 17 structures weighing over 150,000 pounds in approximately 70 feet of water in memory of John Michael Baker, a CCA member, avid diver and angler who passed away in a tragic boating accident in 2015.
The main reef structure consisted of a 10,000-pound reef ball containing John Michael Baker’s ashes and a plaque.  The project is located just offshore of Fort Lauderdale between Oakland Park Blvd. and Birch State Park and was led by the family and members of the CCA Broward Chapter.
The organization gave special thanks to partners Guice Offshore, CCA Florida, U.S. Concrete Products, Brownies Global Logistics, Industrial Divers, Dania Cut Superyacht Repair, Broward County and Reef Innovations for helping make the project a reality.

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