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‘Ghost Ship’ dive site reef ball deployment complete

By Meaghan Goepferich Posted on June 1, 2019

On April 23, 2019 the Hernando County Port Authority and Aquatic Services Division deployed a decommissioned concrete sailboat referred to as the ‘Ghost Ship’ within Bendickson Reef, located 20 nautical miles west of Hernando Beach. The second phase of this project included deploying 25 concrete reef balls around and inside the vessel to stabilize the wreck site. A total of 16,500 pounds of reef balls were deployed and almost 400 miles of travel were logged on the Gulf of Mexico as of Wednesday, May 22, 2019 to complete this project. These newly deployed reef balls were donated by the Coastal Conservation Association, valued at $3,650.

‘Ghost Ship’ dive site reef ball deployment complete

On Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26, 2019, volunteers with Scubanauts International and the Port Authority will be mapping the new site and collecting baseline biological data. The official coordinates of the ‘Ghost Ship’ wreck dive site are as follows:

  • Latitude: 28 31.819
  • Longitude: 82 58.745

The Ghost Ship is the first Adventure Coast wreck dive site and will increase the structural complexity of this underwater habitat. The ship also serves as a connecting trail between structures, adding to diver experiences.

“The Ghost Ship will not only enhance the divers’ experience but the fishing opportunities within the reef area as well. This new dive site will provide both high relief structure and deep cover habitat for desirable fish like gag and red grouper, mangrove and gray snapper, Spanish mackerel, and pelagic species including amberjack, cobia and kingfish,” Aquatic Services and Waterways Manager Keith Kolasa said.

Visitors to the site are asked not to anchor directly on the wreck. Divers should follow all scuba safety precautions when diving this site including wearing gloves, diving with a buddy and to avoid entering the cabin and overhead areas. Removal of any hardware or artifacts is prohibited. Divers should have a minimum of an advanced open water certification with experience in diving in the offshore marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico where conditions can include strong currents, poor visibility and rough seas. Bendickson Reef is not suitable for beginning divers.

Contact the Hernando County Aquatic Services Division at (352) 754-4060 for more information.

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