Artificial reefs are manmade reefs from objects and structures, such as old ships or barrels. Interesting? Read on to learn how and why we do it!
What are artificial reefs?
Artificial reefs, or ARs, are manmade underwater structures that have been submerged on purpose. Some ARs, however, may be incidental, such as shipwrecks, boats, debris, or what used to be garbage.
Artificial reefs are, among others, built to promote marine life in places that are exposed to environmental threats.
These objects are specially designed to make corals, oysters, algae, and barnacles want to attach to its surface. The artificial reefs will then provide food for the fish and to other deep-sea creatures, and then (hopefully) create a lively and healthy environment for them to live in.
Good for the environment
One purpose of creating ARs out of used objects is to close the recycling loop. Instead of producing and creating new objects for the use of enhancing marine life, engineers use old objects and structures, such as shipwrecks, concrete objects, subway cars, and barrels.
Before getting submerged, the objects and structures are steam washed and sterilized to prevent pollution.
Once the objects have been sunk, the development of the manmade reefs happens in predictable stages. It quickly becomes a healthy marine habitat for deep-sea creatures!
Benefits of creating artificial reefs
Building reefs can be beneficial in so many ways. Among others, these reefs can help rebuild and support dying reefs. They do so by becoming new homes and habitats for the sea life that already exists there and welcoming new life.
Manmade reefs are made in order to provide surfaces for attracting marine life, making it a perfect place for deep-sea creatures to find shelter and food.
Some reefs are also used to prevent coastal erosion. Some of them are built to force waves to deposit energy offshore, and others are designed to hold beach sediments.
How are they made?
Many of us think of sunken ships when we think of artificial reefs. However, the reefs can be made out of other structures as well. For instance:
- Old tires
- Subway cars
- Building structures
In some countries, anyone is allowed to make their own artificial reefs. But in some places, you have to follow strict rules and laws in order to create your own reef. Some places may even be subject to property taxes and property rights.
If you’re interested in building an artificial reef, you should investigate the laws and rights in your area.