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That Sinking Feeling

Artificial Reef Along Shoreline



Here's a curious problem. What should you do with old ships, trucks, subway cars, and even military tanks? For one company, California Ships to Reefs, the answer is clear. Sink 'em.

Now, as a concerned citizen this might not seem like such a good idea. But consider this, artificial reefs, strategically placed, can turn into an underwater oasis thriving with life forms.

Corals and sponges are the first to move in. They in turn attract smaller animals that then attract larger sea creatures. After a time it's hard to tell an artificial reef from a natural one.

Now sinking ships isn't easy. Some ten years ago it cost $1.5 million to make a surplus destroyer in the Royal Canadian Navy environmentally ready to serve as an artificial reef off the coast of San Diego, California. Today its part of a 500-acre protected marine reserve for sports divers that some claim is returning millions of dollars each year to the local economy through tourism.

Not everyone is in favor of sinking ships, some claiming it's just more junk in our oceans. But where habitat has been lost, it creates a new treasure worth exploring.

Script by Bob Rhein

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