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New Jersey Scuba Diving


New Jersey Scuba Diving

Artificial Reefs


Now with GPS numbers !

Throughout this website, you have probably found many references to artificial reefs. An artificial reef is any man-made object placed in the sea as a habitat for marine organisms. Sea life is drawn like a magnet to any large object in the otherwise featureless bottom sand. Almost anything will do, but objects that can withstand the corrosive effects of salt water are best.

Swim Around Redbird Subway Cars Reef - Artificial Reefs - New Jersey Scuba Diving Diving the Redbird Subway Cars Reef off New Jersey, 5 years after they were sunk. A swim over, around, and through several of the underwater subway cars. These cars are now no more than scrap heaps, but back then they were pretty interesting.
The famous ( or infamous ) 'Redbirds' subway cars

The sinking of the USS Algol - Artificial Reefs - New Jersey Scuba Diving The sinking of the USS Algol - the largest of New Jersey's artificial reefs.
I miss the days when they used explosives to sink reefs.

The objective of artificial reefs is to create hard structure habitat for mussels, Sea Bass, Blackfish, Porgy, lobster and many other species of marine life. Once fish and shellfish establish themselves in their new homes - and it doesn't take long - the reefs produce excellent catches of fish for anglers and provide underwater attractions for scuba divers.

All artificial reef activities are controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers, which issues permits for specified materials to be sunk only in specified locations, to avoid creating hazards to navigation. Once a permit for an area is issued, the state may build the reef as it sees fit with little more involvement from the ACOE. Permits must be renewed periodically. The chart above indicates permitted areas in three states, as well as the main approaches to New York harbor. One of the difficulties in selecting a location for a reef is obvious - any place inside the heavily-trafficked shipping lanes is out of the question.

Artificial Reef Activity by State

( N to S )

( 2001 est. )


# Vessels
( 2005 )

New England [ no significant artificial reef building activity ]
New York 19.0 million 127 miles ~ 65
New Jersey 8.5 million 130 miles 131
Delaware 0.8 million 28 miles ~ 3 ?
Maryland 5.4 million 31 miles ~ 3 ?
Virginia 7.2 million 112 miles ~ 12
North Carolina 8.2 million 301 miles ~ 35
South Carolina 4.0 million 187 miles ~ 100
Georgia 8.4 million 100 miles ~ 41
Florida ( including Gulf ) 16.4 million 1350 miles ~ 380
California 34.5 million 840 miles < 10

Artificial Reef Food Web
Everyone benefits from artificial reefs

A Guide to Fishing & Diving New Jersey Reefs
A Guide to Fishing & Diving New Jersey Reefs
NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife, 3rd edition, pdf

Includes GPS numbers for all reef sites.

Download your copy of the 3rd edition here. This invaluable book has been out of print for years.

Artificial Reefs


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New Jersey

New York



Biology & Ecology


New Jersey Artificial Reef News (pdf)



New Jersey

New York





I make no claim as to the accuracy, validity, or appropriateness of any information found in this website. I will not be responsible for the consequences of any action that is based upon information found here. Scuba diving is an adventure sport, and as always, you alone are responsible for your own safety and well being.

Copyright © 1996-2016 Rich Galiano
unless otherwise noted



since 2016-09-11