The Titanic Artificial Reef Project
The Titanic Project plans to document environmental and socio-economic benefits of the Project and artificial reefs to enhance the capacity by creating artificial reefs while practicing utmost regard for wildlife and the environment. Artificial reefs are ecologically and economically important serving as habitats for native reef fish and helping to maintain fish stocks, while supporting Florida’s robust tourism, recreational fishing, and scuba diving economies.
Currently the project contemplates performing the bulk of the environmental preparation of the Atlantis II at a location north of Miami. Plans then call for moving the ship to the cut in downtown Miami, immediately adjacent to the Frost Science Museum building as a tertiary stop on her trip to the final sink site near Haulover. This is where final sinking preparations, VIP tours and photo opportunities will take place.
The Frost Science Museum
The Titanic Artificial Reef Project is partnering with the Frost Science Museum in downtown Miami for both project execution phases as well as generating the environmental monitoring data that is desired by the scientific community.
Organizers of the Titanic Project and staffers at the Frost Science Museum know each other well. They have worked together very successfully in the past, executing environmental monitoring plans on artificial reefs like the USNS Spiegel Grove and the USAFS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, two of the largest artificial reefs on the planet. This groundbreaking work was undertaken in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and funded by both the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee (FWC)and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Titanic Artificial Reef Project is now exploring the possibility of booking an existing traveling Titanic exhibit to augment the Project experience. The wreck of the RMS Titanic remains a wildly compelling story over 100 years after the great ship sank! The project team is exploring whether hosting Dr. Robert Ballard or James Cameron as guest speakers either at the Frost Science Musuem or the Seminole Hard Rock’s giant guitar-shaped Casino/Hotel are possible.
Ocean initiatives and Artificial Reefs International have collaborated on a number of fishing tournaments in the past, resulting in successful fundraising events. More fund raisers are planned. Fishing tournaments have also historically been effective fundraisers for a number of non-profit organizations to include Ocean environmental causes and wounded veteran’s groups. Both traditional fishing tournaments targeting multi species and specialized, and single species (such as invasive lion fish) are extremely popular with Florida sportsmen.
A film documentary of the project is planned. Artificial Reef projects have been taking place in Florida since the 1940s. While not a new idea, the Titanic Artificial Reef Project, with its clear economic development purposes and emphasis on marketing returns set this effort apart from others. The feeling of the Project organizers is that this difference will be readily ascertainable to most people and will translate well to film.
Members of Ocean Initiatives and Artificial Reefs International have worked together in the past on several underwater art projects on artificial reefs that have proven successful both in the United States and abroad. Separate exhibits of Viennese artist Andreas Franke’s “The Sinking World” have been displayed underwater on the wrecks of the “General Hoyt S. Vandenberg” off Key West, FL the “USS Mohawk”, off Captiva Island, FL and the “M/V Stavronikita”, off Bridgetown, Barbados to huge successes in the fishing and diving communities, and in the international media as well!
The Sinking World, artist Ann Labriola’s Mystery Tour and, most recently, artist Sandra Priest’s 9/11 Memorial commemorating the 20-year anniversary of the tragedy have all garnered outsized interest in artificial reefs from the international press. Underwater art is planned for the Titanic Project.
Return on Investments
The economic case for deploying artificial reefs has long been well understood, especially in Florida.
Florida’s state economy primarily revolves around tourism and is the most economically important product produced. Over $80 billion is spent annually to attract over 100 million visitors to Florida. A significant segment of those choosing to vacation along Florida’s 1,300 miles of coastline and 800 miles of beaches are recreational fishers and scuba divers. Florida has recognized this for decades and to support this effort, began a very successful artificial reef program in the 1940s. Now Florida is home to approximately 4,000 artificial reef sites and over 400 vessels. As an artificial reef gets older, more and more marine life colonizes it and calls it home. Marine scientists have studied the impact and success of these programs.
Worldwide, the press has historically loved artificial reef projects. Videos and photo in the press and on social media of sinking events grab headlines and attention all over and the value of press coverage (earned media) is often measured in the millions of dollars. Artificial Reefs truly “punch above their weight “in the free press department!
The cost associated with creating and deploying artificial reefs has proven to have an effective impact on Florida taxpayers. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), who permits artificial reefs and tracks attendant data, for every $1 invested by Miami-Dade County between 1983-1913 reef users have spent $127 ANNUALLY. Monroe County has generated $108 per $1 invested while Palm Beach County has seen an incredible $1,792 per $1 invested returned annually. The value proposition on this type of economic development cannot be understated. Additionally, there is no ongoing overhead. No staff to pay, no lawns to mow, no painting, just fun for visitors and locals alike.
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum Of Science
Artificial Reefs International Preservation Trust
History of Diving Museum