SCUBA DIVE TAMPA
Rube Allyn Artificial Reef
Last updated 6/05/01
The reef program was started in Pinellas county in 1965 with the dropping of pillboxes at the Clearwater reef site. In 1974, after receiving grant money from the park service, the reef program was started. During the period from 1974 through 1978 the reefs were primarily made with old car tires. It was discovered early on that tires were not the best material due to their buoyancy. They tended to move during storms and would sometimes wash up onshore. After 1978 the primary materials were concrete, barges, and ships.
There were 10 sites picked out for development as reefs. Six were located close to shore within 3-6 miles. These were selected to meet the needs of fishermen who wanted to stay within sight of land. They can be reached using a small boat in less than 30 minutes travel time. The water depths here are in the 20-30 foot range. These reefs will attract smaller fish than the deeper reefs. Two were located about 10 miles from shore. These are in 40-50 feet of water and attract a wide range of fish life. One was located 20 miles from shore. This was selected to be a deep water site and is in 70-80 feet of water. There was also one located in Tampa Bay 2 miles from St. Petersburg Municipal Pier. There are marker buoys maintained at each of the sites. The exact location and presence of the buoys at each site changes due to storms breaking the buoys loose from their anchors. Some sites have only one buoy maintained in the center while others have a north, south, and center buoy.
The approximate center coordinates for the Rube Allyn site is:
This reef has 3 major drop areas that are normally marked with buoys. The north area has concrete profile and some japanese fish attractors. The center area has a barge and several boat molds. The barge has mostly decomposed and there is very little profile on it. There are several large culvert piles in the center area. The south area has the rubble from the old sand key bridge that was placed here in 1995. The sections of the bridge were kept intact and they are stacked up on top of each other in a very large area of 15-20 foot profile. When diving here there are great swim throughs where the sections are stacked. This area is very popular with fisherman especially during the spring and fall kingfish runs.