Artificial Reefs Explained

As the old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” One of the most efficient ways to get rid of an old ship is to sink it. These sunken pieces of “garbage” become thriving communities home to hundreds of species of fish, corals, algae, sharks, and more.


We are purposefully sinking these structures because the ocean’s reefs are in trouble. The Great Barrier Reef, one of the largest coral reefs in the world, has lost half of its corals since 1995, and two-thirds of the reef itself has been damaged. Coral reefs are facing devastating mass bleaching events. For more information on coral bleaching, read a previous blog post from Seaside Sustainability here.


According to the New Haven Reef Conservation Program, there are four main goals that the artificial reef movement is trying to achieve:

  1. Replace structure and habitat diversity in places where it has been lost.

  2. Increase the size of reefs or available structure to enhance local marine resources and improve biodiversity.

  3. Create artificial dive/snorkeling sites to relieve tourism pressure on natural reefs.

  4. Create attractive or art inspired reefs to increase awareness and communicate reef issues to the general public.

These artificial reefs create colorful and blossoming communities for marine life. There are many different types of artificial reefs including the recycling of old ships, lighthouses, subway cars, bridges etc. However, many are using artificial reefs to create stunning pieces of artwork. View some of the artificial reefs around the world here.


The health of coral reefs reflect the health of the ocean as a whole. At Seaside Sustainability, we strive to preserve marine habitats and keep them clean of pollution through our various projects and initiatives. The future of our oceans and coral reefs relies on us!

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