Tuesday, April 13, 2010

USS Arthur W. Radford Will Help Create East Coast's Largest Artificial Reef

The U.S. Navy Spruance class destroyer is on track to be the largest ship ever reefed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The state of Delaware announced Wednesday that it had received from the U.S. Navy the title to the USS Arthur W. Radford. Delaware taking ownership of the mothballed 563-foot destroyer was a key development in the plan to sink it at the Deljerseyland Reef, an underwater site that serves New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

The reef is 30 miles from Cold Spring Inlet, 30 miles from Ocean City, Md., and 26 miles southeast of Indian River Inlet, Del.

“The ship will be released within the next couple weeks and moved to dry dock for tentative sinking in late summer or early fall,” said Bill Figley, a retired reef coordinator for New Jersey working on the project.


The superstructure on the 9,000-ton ship will be lowered to achieve a navigational clearance of 60 feet at the reef site, which is in about 130 feet of water.

“We need to reduce it to 70 feet from the keel to the top of the wheelhouse. It’s now over 100 feet. It would be nice to have it completely intact, but then you have to sink it in deeper water,” said Tinsman.

Deeper water would also reduce diving times. Water depth is a factor in how long divers can stay on a site. From a scuba diving perspective, Tinsman said, the shipwreck would be set up for recreational divers with the keel at 130 feet but the deck at only about 65 feet.

“The deck allows quite a bit of diving time,” said Tinsman.

At almost two football fields in length, and 55 feet wide, it would still take several dives to see the whole ship.

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Alright, all you E.Coast divers. What do you think?

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