In partnership with Global SubDive, the Guice Offshore vessel GO America deployed 13 goliath reef balls into the Atlantic Ocean approximately a half-mile offshore near Delray Beach, Florida on Saturday, January 9, kicking off development for a 32-acre underwater reef park.
Spearheaded by country music star Kenny Chesney, the project is part of “No Shoes Reefs,” a grassroots organization committed to creating healthier oceans.
Guice Offshore and its affiliate, Global SubDive, were part of the No Shoes Reefs project, along with the Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida), Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management, the Sandoway Discovery Center, the Reef Ball Foundation and the Building Conservation Trust.
Using her A-frame, The GO America dropped the reef balls into the Delray Dredge Hole, a pre-permitted artificial reef site that measures roughly 0.35-miles long by 0.13-miles wide. The 10,000 lb. balls, which measured 7-by-6-ft. each, were donated by the No Shoes Reefs and Reef Ball Foundations.
The Delray Beach, Florida reef site is located offshore at 26º 27.178/-80º 02.739.
“We’re especially proud to have the GO America selected for this important environmental mission, since it’s our South Florida-based flagship,” said Guice Offshore Principal Billy Guice. “Preserving Florida’s fragile marine ecosystems is critically important on so many levels.”
This weekend’s project, known as “No Shoes Reefs 4 (NSR4),” takes its name from the reef’s four partners and is designed to provide long-term educational opportunities for the students of Palm Beach County through the Sandoway Discover Center’s ongoing educational programs, necessitating an ongoing reef monitoring program.
NSR4 is expected to provide a long-term economic boost for Palm Beach County, as well as a positive impact on the native marine species, tourism and the local fishing and diving community for many years to come. The NSR4 deployment is designed to create a foundation for natural marine habitat development and also provide divers the opportunity to explore dozens of future underwater acreages. Once complete, the 32-acre artificial reef will include countless paths for underwater enthusiasts to discover new marine habitats.
Artificial reefs initiate the development of natural, thriving habitats for various species of fish, invertebrates, and other marine life, such as smaller organisms that are vital food sources for other marine species. Their overall goal is to create an ever-evolving ecosystem, while enhancing fisheries, improving water quality and providing new adventures for local anglers.
“No Shoes Reefs is an extension of how I have tried to live for many, many years,” Kenny Chesney explained about his mission. “Love the water, give back to the water. Many people don’t realize both how fragile and resilient the ocean’s ecosystems are, and I think it’s the small projects that raise awareness on local levels that help people understand the ocean is a living thing. Our partners have been so tireless in terms of raising money, awareness and doing the actual work – and it’s a wonderful way to build the No Shoes Nation community of people who care about the ocean, the beach and our whole way of life.”
“Improving and creating sustainable fisheries and protecting Florida’s marine environment is CCA Florida’s lifeblood,” CCA Florida Director of Habitat and Environmental Restoration Frank Gidus said. “We’re honored to be part of this reef project and partner with No Shoes Reef, as it’s a symbiotic relationship sharing the same goal – to improve our coastal environments and waterways for today and for generations to come.”
About No Shoes Reefs
No Shoes Reefs, an evolving group of Brands, Ocean Habitat Conservationists Organizations and people working together to help Kenny make a difference for our oceans. With the overarching ethos One Reef At A Time, the loose-knit web of contributors are aligned to not just protect, but create new living reefs to provide environments for all form of aquatic life.. www.noshoesreefs.org.